Believers and Non-believers / Rebeca Monzo

Photo AFP

According to our official narrators, the Antonio Maceo Plaza in Santiago de Cuba, like the streets of this city, was full of “believers and nonbelievers,” who attended the Mass and receiving of the Holy Father respectively. All the time Cuban radio and television was emphasizing how this was also true for the public figures, repeating over and over like a slogan: Believers and nonbelievers. Would not it be better to say “non-Catholics and Catholics” or “Catholics and people in general”?

I am sure that among the crowds gathered in the plaza, which arrived so “civic” and well-organized, has all ideologies, especially when dealing with a people who profess such diverse beliefs and religions: Catholic, Protestant, Christian, Buddhist, Santeros and others.

It is conceivable then, that during all these years Cuban plazas have been filled with crowds of believers in the Revolution and non-believers in it who, because they belong to workplaces or schools, they have been “motivated” to attend — disciplined and “civicly” — these concentrations. If it is valid for one, it is valid also for the other. At least I think so.

To speak of civicism in a country where the double standard is almost an institution, seems to me too inappropriate. This is inculcated in our children from the early age at which they start school: “My darling don’t go and tell the teacher what we talk about at home,” or “my child, don’t ever tell your little friends that you ate meat today.” Are people who repeatedly lie to survive and also reject their family and friends who are disaffected with the regime, so as not to be singled out, “civic”?

Is it, perhaps, civic to hang our national flat from windows, balconies and power lines on dates such as September 28, August 13, and others that have nothing to do with the significance of the flag, and to leave it in these places for days, exposed to the sun, the night, the rain and the wind. Is that “civicism”?

We must have a little more care and respect for the intelligence of others, to indiscriminately use certain and determined terms in media with such a wide reach as television, that so greatly influences the population. These should be used to educate, and to spread culture, never to confuse.

March 28 2012