Monday, October 12, 2009

I don't want to catch a cold

Photo: Lia Villares

I often hear people generalizing about an entire people and it turns my stomach. Every so often I hear, from friends as well as complete strangers, phrases like: This country is like this because of its people, there are only cowards here, you write on the Internet because you know nothing is going to happen, all the dissidents are working for State security, in the whole country there isn’t one leader worth anything, and so on and so on ad infinitum.

Most of the time I don’t answer because I always end up exhausting all my arguments without managing to convince anyone of anything. It’s hard to face off against someone who has managed to put a group of citizens into a sack of absolutes and then on top of that judges the sack by the material it’s made of, not by what it contains. But even so, when the comments hit close to home I can’t help pushing back against the stereotypes I’ve been accused of.

I was very happy because a doctor friend had promised to give me a face mask for when I ride the bus, when a foreigner who was listening to my conversation interrupted to give her opinion about H1N1.

- Today I read on the Internet that it seems that Cubans are not quite aware of the problem.

First I counted to ten because you can’t start trying to convince someone with a stream of passionately delivered arguments, particularly when we have been living for months with a kind of medical ambiguity: Is there an epidemic or is there not? The television and radio say nothing, after two huge concerts—first Jaunes and then Manu Chao—the airports remain open, in the drugstores there is nothing to prevent colds and if you have a fever they send you home and you have to manage as well as you can.

- How can Cubans be aware if the mass media says nothing clearly? Not only is there H1N1, there is dengue and hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, unfortunately I can’t confirm what I’m saying because the Ministry of Health is silent.

I don’t think that reporting nothing is the worst of it—we have learned and informed ourselves of things without them—but I didn’t say that. I think the saddest part is that they do nothing: the buses are crowded with people, soap and detergent is available only in CUCs, insect repellant is a luxury and if tomorrow were the first of May, we would all go to the square to march in numbers exceeding however many thousands were at the concert on the 20th.

1 comment:

marquee de mud said...

don't worry about H1N1.

99% it's a trick so they will force all the countries of the world to buy the new antivirus against H1N1. bullshit.

the symptoms are less severe than the usual every year flu, and the mortality percentage is lower. and believe me. from the little that I saw the 3 weeks that I stayed in cuba, I'm sure that you have one thing more than all the other countries of the world. I'm talking about medical care.

cuba it's a country full of cops(shit) and nurses/doctors. and it's free.