May We Never Forget / Ernesto Morales Licea

The video posted with this blog never should have been seen, I think. Moreover, it never should have existed, it never should have been shot. Because once it was, once it grows in the uncontainable technological universe, it becomes impossible to keep it in the shade, to not let it be.

Let’s be honest: sometimes, ignorance protects. Yes. I say it with all its letters: I would have slept in better peace, my expression would have been less gloomy, if I had not devoted 5 minutes and 28 seconds to watching it. Because, once it is watched, if we carry inside us what is known as decorum, or what we call the soul, we can never be the same afterwards.

His name is Juan Zamora González. We don’t know his age, but I assume he is older than 70. This we know: he presently lives in Villa Clara, and, years ago—when his arms could firmly carry a rifle—he risked his blood, his being. He placed his life in the hands of a beautiful chimera, the revolutionary triumph of an entire nation looking for a promising future. He did it, like many others, in the hope of his humility. Full of faith.

And I, the eternal “talker”, am speechless this time. I don’t know if I should apologize for that too. The testimony of a crushed man, a man bitten by disgrace, has stolen my impulse and my sleep.

Because, as of today, I only have one credo, one strict dogma that rules my existence: humanism. Like that. Pure and simple. I love humankind. I love my race. I, like renaissance people four hundred years ago, also believe in humankind and admire its divine existence.

And for this reason, for, as a basic principle, loving humankind, I despise those who sully others, who frustrate others, who rob others of their existence. Be it an assassin with demoniac hands, or a system with its all-exclusive gears.

And because of that I also ask myself, feeling my own rage winning over my body, growing inside me with subtle ferocity:

What deplorable race do we Cubans turn ourselves into when we cease to love our own kind, the neighbor who suffers and stays silent, when we devote our hours and lives to intolerance and repression? What dark essence is inside those who can devote their time to learning how to censor blogs, how to block free discourse, how to attack ladies dressed in white, when a man such as this is starving to death in front of their unperturbed noses?

No. It cannot be true, dear readers. It cannot be, Cubans everywhere, inside and abroad: look at the face of Juan Zamora González. Feel his pain. Cry when this man smiles in shame while he tells of how he has sold the tiles of his roof so he can eat, while he tells of how if he still lives is because the knife he used to try to end his agony was not even sharp enough.

And now I don’t apologize for posting the video, for interrupting the peace of those who watch it: now I say let us all watch it. Especially those who go on shouting their “Vivas!”, those who do not spare any praises in favor of an accomplished Revolution—for the humble and by the humble—and those who have lost their memory under an amnesia of corruption and power.

Let us look at the face of this poor soul, and let us know that each minute of silence, apathy and hatred, each minute we choose to forget that the least fortunate drown in their sorrows while local papers—like Colombus—speak of the most beautiful land on Earth, each minute we refuse to fight for the joy of a nation that is still midway between boredom and unhappiness, condemns us all a little.

Translated by T

February 8 2011