They are rebroadcasting “His Own War” on television and to me it feels like I am watching an alien movie, about a country where people talk and move as in my country, but a different place. Like a Ray Bradbury novel, where the alien beings are exactly like us except for some small details, because they are us but in another time and space. Maybe it could also be compared to a show on the Discovery Channel where they explain to us that homo sapiens has civilized the world twice, a documentary that delves into the details of a civilization of those homo sapiens who once, before natural disaster X, occupied the world where we now live, millions of years later.
Poor Tabo today would not be proud of being a police informant, blackmailed by the PNR (National Revolutionary Police), he would be desperately looking for a way to get on a raft to flee the country before being discovered in the neighborhood. His wife who, when she wasn’t a criminal was starving and couldn’t feed her daughter, would never have asked him where the money coming in was going out to, and her disposition, far from deteriorating because of the new relationships of her partner, would have become sweeter. He could never tell her that he was with the police, because divorce would have then been a done deal.
With good luck and taking advantage of their privileged positions on both sides, our 2009 hero would find a way to have a third “business” that would let him pay off the targets* to get them to stop threatening him and, instead, to protect him. Over time he would catch, in his web of “unregistered” corruption, as many cops as criminals.
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.