Apartheid at the Young Filmmakers Exhibition (Documentary and Consultation)
Note: The documentary does not have good quality for reasons of connectivity, I promise an improved version as soon as possible.
"Right of Admission?
Wilfredo Vallín Almeida
La Vibora, Havana, March 9, 2010
They are a small group of young people. They have bought tickets for the Chaplin cinema where the Ninth Exhibition of Young Filmmakers is playing. The dialogue that occurred at the entrance to this public place was, more or less, as briefly follows:
“You cannot enter.”
“Why. We have tickets.”
“Yes, but still you cannot enter.”
“By what right do you forbid us to enter?”
“The cinema reserves the right to refuse admission…”
There follows a verbal altercation which it is not necessary to reproduce here and where there is no lack of the usual insults directed at the young people – mercenaries, counterrevolutionaries, employees of the empire – and others of this kind.
This columnist is asked for clarification by those attacked with regards to what reason or authority does the management of this cinema have to behave in such a way. The answer of The Consultant is this:
There are institutions and places which, by their nature, are selective with regards to who has access to their facilities. For example, we know that Masonic lodges allow only their members and special guests to attend their work sessions.
On the other hand, there are places which cannot be accessed unless certain requirements are met. For example, to appear in court you must dress in a certain way: you cannot come dressed however you like. The same applies to a certain level of restaurants, or at a church.
The way in which you behave can also be a requirement: in a theater, concert or public performance where people are disorderly, they can be expelled from the place and even denied entrance if this phenomenon is repeated.
These examples have absolutely nothing to do with the administrators of these places believing that their administrative powers include the capacity to infringe on the rights granted by the Constitution of the Republic to citizens by the mere fact that they do not share the ideology of the current government.
To carry this to the extreme of not allowing access to public places to people who behave correctly, who do not disturb the prevailing order, who pay the price corresponding to the respective entrances, who do not bother anyone during the performance and who, at it conclusion, leave in an orderly, quiet and respectful manner, to deny them entry presents simultaneously the following illegalties on the the part of those who abrogate such a ludicrous “right”:
I. Violation of the Constitution of the Republic in its articles:
41) All citizens have equal rights ...
42) Discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religious belief or any other offense against human dignity, is prohibited and punishable by law.
43) The state consecrates the right achieved by the Revolution that all citizens without distinction of race, color, sex, religion, national origin or any other offense against human dignity:
- Enjoy the same resorts, beaches, parks, social centers and other centers of culture, sports, recreation and rest.
(Nowhere does the Constitution establish that people with a thought different from the official, will receive discriminatory treatment of any kind and, according to the doctrine, “Where the law does not distinguish, we must not distinguish.”)
II. Violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights endorsed by Cuba up to the present time, in its articles:
2.1) Every person has all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property birth or other status.
7) All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
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.