Photo: "Civic Ghosts,” Performance Group Omni-Zona Franca, 2003, La Habana.
I still believe, and always will believe, that “Boring Home” was a victory over censorship, and I like to think even over State Security, because for the first time they couldn’t take their clubs to the “strange kids.” But I don’t think I should get carried way by the euphoria of an event that doesn’t imply a change in government policy towards those of us who are different: we dream of change, we hope one day to have the freedom to think, to choose, to say, to work and to dissent.
Orlando continues to receive calls, this time they say they will not forget him, and even that they are going to kick his face in that earliest opportunity. Yoani continues living in the state of siege they’ve installed at her building, where two muscular weight-lifting types pass their days with two objectives: to intimidate her and her entire family and, incidentally, the entire neighborhood, and to report on her activities. Gorki received information through a supportive neighbor that Security has ordered them to report on his every move. And finally, demonstrating their filthy techniques, they have called in the husband of Miriam Celaya of the blog Sin Evasion [Without Evasion]. Not only have they interrogated a person who has never dissented, at least not publicly, but they have threatened him: his work, his family, his children. And I know of others who have been intimidated in these last few months, but they’ve preferred to consider it a random act and haven’t reported it, which I think is a mistake, because with this government and all, I believe, we've crossed the Rubicon.
And not only have we crossed our own Rubicon, but we’ve dragged our friends and families across with us, despite our best efforts not to. As Miriam said, “Just a sample of this despicable and sordid system, with a total disregard for family values, the true face of Cuban socialism.”
Notwithstanding all these things, we continue to be different (the government’s teaching falls on deaf ears with us). We continue our blogger meetings, which even more than a blogger journey, seem to me now to be a blogging-cultural journey, if such a thing exists. We look at documentary photographs and last week, amid the preparations for the not-boring release of Boring Home, the artists of Omni-Zona Franca honored our space with the premiere of one of their documentaries. I have chosen photos of them to lighten, a bit, the sadness out of this post.
Photo: "Three hours of speech," Performance of the group Omni-Zona Franca, 2004, Santiago de Cuba.
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.