The Period of the Silent Scandal / José Milián / Polemica, The 2007 Intellectual Debate

For Antón de Milián

Many friends, and others who are not friends, have approached me, interested in my opinion about this debate on the parameters or simply, the fact that non-participation in it could be interpreted as indifference, apathy or in the worst of cases… cowardice. Those who really know me know that I do not suffer from any of these three evils. The reason is very simple: I have no mailbox. But I have kept abreast of what is happening because there are always good souls who have helped me receive messages in some way and because I have attended various meetings.

Now, to the point. I never thought that Pavón, despite his ideas, acted alone. The phenomenon is more complex. On this point it is very easy to think that we must look up, but I am also talking about that we must look to the sides, and at times down. I have documents signed by him, evidence that was based not only on the decisions of the Congress of Education… and Culture, but a Legal Advisor whose name I don’t want to remember and other representatives of institutions, in this case the Union and the Ministry of Labour. But we also relied on criteria coming from their own Theater Groups or it could be from their Work Councils. Advice that in some cases they reconsidered and joined the victims and others who, from the beginning, supported them. Those who emerged from the famous hearings held by the so-called Evaluation Commission, came out with a ticket in their hands, with ten days to appeal the sentence, if they didn’t agree with it, otherwise they had to present themselves and face the penalties of the law against Vagrancy. Could Pavón have created this judicial machinery alone? I will not mention, of course, the ordeal we had to go through.

The story is more or less known and this is not the appropriate framework in which to tell it. But when this man signed, with his own hand, on my expulsion decision, that: “…His works AGAIN JEHOVAH WITH THE STORY OF SODOM AND THE TAKING OF HAVANA BY THE ENGLISH allow his literature to be categorized as pornographic and obscene” …he is not alone. There, in that document, are other signatures. And in the process, other names. He had planned the conditions before acting. And he received support from people who thought like him. And in the realm of ideas I do not know if we bring something to this debate by questioning who felt the same and who no longer did. Because time has gone by.

There is only one idea in which Pavón and I completely agree: a better world is possible. But for him, or for them, that world is better without me, or without us, the parameterized. The superficiality and naiveté–to put it in some way–with which we were tried, cost us a lot. And I refer to certain words that Blas Roca told Fernando Sáenz Peña and Lazarus: “The parameterized are a living test of faith in the Revolution, that the wrong will be rectified, because if not, they would have given up already… and despite there not being a place in different instances, they still insist, for that they must have great faith.” And of course there’s the argument that we had it once and still have it. And for that faith we come back and are still here. But for this case to have been forgotten in the past–where it deserved to be– it should have been analyzed and corrected at that time. It should have been spoken about and judged.

This is not about vengeance, and much less about justice. It was and is about saving a project of social justice that was above us and even above Pavón, yet it was he who truly suffered from it. He and his allies were affecting the credibility of this project and with this massacre it was they who served, on a silver platter, the gossip to their enemies themselves.. For me, this was never El Quinquenio Gris, the Five Grey Years; for me this was always El Período del Escándalo Silencioso, The Period of the Silent Scandal. Playwrights and directors, actors and designers, etc. have existed within artistic education whether the professor dares to speak about them or not. Because of ignorance or fear of not knowing if they were among us. And it is precisely these young people who are now professionals that I am thinking about. What will happen to them? Will they be willing to not make the same mistakes?

Excuse the delay and perhaps the large extent of my words.

José Milián

February 9, 2007

Translated by: Dolores M. Goizueta