It seems they got bored that university was only for revolutionaries, probably because of statistical evidence, and now it’s not about revolutionaries, but about taro and its vegetable stand in the classrooms of all the university headquarters in the country. I sneaked in in that bundle, and I’m finally undertaking a career recognized by the Ministry of Education, where they do not ask me the names of the five heroes of the empire: Batman, Elastic Lass, Spiderman, Superman and… I’m always missing one. Since there are not enough books to go around, we have classes once a week, which is not enough to go over all the content, so there is a web of guides, scanned books and summaries that people hand around and that way we start to fill in with some indolence the spaces under the list of objectives and contents that, normally, we should master. Those who don’t have the ability to print, make photocopies or have access to a computer, have a very hard time compiling all the info. Just the same, we should not complain, we have classes. Personally, I prefer to study alone, so that before I only went to school to air my doubts. Now, having given up, I decided that I prefer to present myself at an exam with my doubts rather than with my teachers’ explanations, and I should mention that I don’t have any emergent teacher, but all of them are over 50 years old. Since I like philosophy a lot, it is where I have most doubts. In spite of an overdose of Marxism-Leninism, which now they call Philosophy and Society, but it’s all the same, I get excited as an opponent (I have an idealist-pseudo bourgeois streak according to my books). Two sets of categories exist in Marxism that are conceptually opposite but that simultaneously interact, I did not understand the pair happenstance-necessity, I did not understand the the concept that happenstance could reside in Marxist ideology. So I go to school with my doubt. I arrive, raise my hand after a while so I won’t make a bad impression and I blow out the super question to the prof, who jovially responds: Let’s see, Claudia, look, it’s very simple, the need is, for instance, when you need to fix up your house with construction materials that you don’t have, then one morning you go out and find yourself with a truck full of materials in front of your house, and it doesn’t belong to anyone, that is the happenstance that meets your need, do you understand? Since I am a respectful student, I said: more or less, prof.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.