Photo: With the group Omni-Zona Franca before a poetry reading While we study the HTML code, learn to post, meet to share experiences, help each other with technology problems and share our space; they, with a strange way to be happy, insult everyone on the web, write texts full of lies, offend without showing their faces, and create chaos wherever they go.
While Yoani Sánchez puts up the new platform “Cuban Voices” (with the faith of the good and intelligent people who think their adversaries “are at the height of the conflict”), and offers an unblocked site free of censorship for all the alternative bloggers of the country; they dedicate themselves to hacking and undoing her work, without an ounce of shame, a kind of infantile temper tantrum like a spoiled child on the first day of school who doesn’t understand that studying is, simply, inevitable. When she goes up and down 14 flights of stairs every day to connect to the Internet, write articles, draft posts, organize cultural or blogger meetings; they make a living with their butts on the wall in front of her house, or following her all over Havana.
While the Cuban and international blogger community unites to organize a contest to motivate free blogging within the Island, bloggers and non-bloggers participate in alternative cultural activities, or we express our solidarity with those who have been censored, imprisoned or suffered any kind of repression; they get out the microphones, bug the telephones, harass people, persecute, intimidate, scream, threaten, insult and blackmail.
But best of all is while we have fun, they show they do not have the slightest sense of humor. While we get to know each other, broaden our voices, our horizons, and open our eyes, they close theirs and hate us. While we are free, they work in the prison. While Yoani wins multiple awards, is recognized throughout the world and makes her family proud; they continue to be grey, faceless agents, who will never be able to tell their children the true story of their lives.
*Quote from a song by Fito Paez: I like to be on the side of the road.
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.