OPINION: I am happy because I am a giant

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OPINION: I am happy because I am a giant
Fecha de publicación: 
11 June 2024
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My generation did not experience, as adults, the first two decades of the Revolution. We were the result of the baby boom of victory. We did not feel the excitement of the revolutionary triumph, but we did accompany our parents, on their shoulders, on our parents’ hands, and later on, with our girlfriends or boyfriends, all the massive demonstrations by the Revolution Square, where nearly one million people went, committed, not a faceless mass. “On every block a committee, / in every neighborhood revolution, / block by neighborhood, neighborhood by town, / country in struggle: Revolution” and so states Eduardo Ramos’ song composed for the ICAIC Sound Experimentation Group. The CDR vigilance, Fidel’s idea to prevent terrorist actions from the U.S., was possible as a result of the passion aroused by the Revolution itself in the Cuban people. My mother, raised to be a housewife, started to work outside home, as it was known by then, for no economic reasons. Women were a Revolution within the Revolution, according to Fidel. But the new generations also faced their own challenges, their own condors flight, their own assault on heaven: every agricultural call, teaching detachment, military, education, or health missions abroad, for very distant causes or not, geographically speaking, but paramount: Vietnam, Angola, Angela Davis, Allende, Chavez, but also Elian and the Cuban Five, Battle of Ideas. We were, and we have a duty to be, the World.

At the end of the 1970s, as a student at a Soviet university, I shared with young Portuguese people, children of the Carnation Revolution, and later, with Nicaraguan students, whose Revolution had just triumphed and they arrived euphoric and free. Those girls, above all, were very similar to those to whom Noel Nicola sang in Cuba: “María del Carmen, so clean and free / Clean of being a virgin, free of prejudices. / (...) María del Carmen does not think about rags, / Nor about bows, nor about ribbons, nor about old dolls. / María del Carmen forgets about boyfriends / Her homeland is the one who knocks at her door at night.” That feeling of freedom and commitment, by the way, no longer existed in the USSR.

Two mistakes, at times, have made the revolutionaries believe that they renew that enthusiasm: the consumption that becomes consumerism, the one that would lead the East Germans to “compete” in consumer goods with the West, a fight lost beforehand, and fatal deviation —even when that state achieved a very high standard of living for its citizens— because the essence of capitalism is to subordinate human aspirations to an insatiable and alienating having; and the replacement of the simple joy of building a new world by the stridency of ephemeral shows.

Everything tends to be simplified, and consequently, so does thinking: messages in a few and clever lines, short texts accompanied by audiovisual images, in which it is possible to replace truth with the plausible and false, the essential with the superfluous. It is not the Divine Fire that Prometheus stole from the gods and gave to humans that seems to dazzle us, but the ephemeral beauty of fireworks. Let's use these instruments, let's turn them into weapons, even though we know that they were designed by societies that need to guide and divert human rebellion into closed, harmless alleys. The counterrevolution calls for the replacement of epic motivations with intimate ones, of the collective individualized with plain individual, of the horizon of deep and surging waters, with the immediacy of the personal lake. How can we make the exploited, instead of believing, read, according to Fidel? Revolutions are made by conscious individuals, capable of developing critical thinking.

Today’s young people are willful. They were the heart in the victory of life over the pandemic —with solidarity, creativity, courage. There are lots of doctors who rise above scarcity of medical supplies, and engineers who devise new forms of breaking the U.S. blockade and recover what is believed to be useless, technologically speaking. There are tons of dreams to accomplish, and a vanguard ready to jump over the abyss, to not cede before the Empire in no way at all, as Che warned, as Vietnamese people did, and Palestine people are doing today.

We grieve for Palestine. The genocide of the Zionists will cease, a free Palestine will rise, ten times more beautiful than it is now, as Ho Chi Minh said about Vietnam and it came true, but this driving pain must also serve to remind us of what we are and why we fight. Our parents did not fail. They were, with a little and a lot, happy men and women. You can feel it in Silvio's voice, one of his everlasting songs:

“I live in a free country

Which can only be free

In this earth, in this instant

And I'm happy because I'm giant.

I love a clear woman

That I love and loves me

Without asking for anything, or almost nothing

which is not the same, but it is the same.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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