Yesterday, while waiting outside the Supreme Court for the results of the hearing on the case of the Cuban Law Association versus the Minister of Justice, I reflected -- in the original sense of the word -- about my ups and downs since that distant August day when I was also waiting outside another court, that time for the results of Gorki Aguila’s trial.
I never would have imagined that a few months later my blog would appear, that I would speak freely into a microphone -- for less than a minute, but it’s the intention that matters -- that later I would have to defend my right to enter a movie theater, an exposition, a concert. I remember that dark afternoon of November 6 and the Tweet I sent, thanks to which State Security was robbed of its impunity as it kidnapped Yoani, Orlando and me. I think, again, about Reinaldo at 23rd and G, like in a Russian film where the hero sacrifices himself at the end, facing a primitive stomping horde. I saw the faces -- always the same ones -- of those who over these last three years have lent their hands to repression, their tongues to perjury, their souls to hatred, and I sensed their unease.
I am a pessimist. I refuse to think that things are going to change tomorrow so as not to be disappointed later, and I repeat, over and over, “Even if it lasts twenty more years, I will keep writing.” But suddenly I made out a long road of freedom traveled. Torturous it has been, to be sure, but not more so than the satisfaction of seeing the man who once dared to lead a repudiation rally condemned to sitting on a park bench talking like a robot on his cell phone, his hands that once served only to beat people useless, now, to this ogre faced with the power of words, the power of friendship and faith in a democratic Cuba. That repressor who once screamed in my face, “This street belongs to Fidel!” looked at me, at me and my friends, walking along Boyeros. He learned that the street no longer belongs to a delusional old man. Like it or not, it belongs to me, to him, to all Cubans, and we are obliged to share it.
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.