Dariela Aquique   

Photo: Caridad

I definitely find the experience of writing for a website to be paradoxical right now.  Some of the fundamental reasons why people write for sites like this in Cuba include the chance to express themself without going through the filters of censorship – ones that point to, suggest and ultimately demand what and how one must write.

Here online, there is no irksome and inquisitive editorial advice from those who always want to rework your piece.  Instead, it’s the readers, through their comments, who even end up telling the writer that he or she is mistaken in their focus or their outlook.

I think this is the fifth time that commenters have made it obligatory for me to write new articles.  Of course I haven’t sought to write explanations, but I don’t like walking away from controversial arguments and therefore leaving my perspective in the shade for interpretation by others.

Someone named Charlene, in her post concerning the article Cuba Needs a Happy Medium, said that I confused “the work of a government, in its search for the elimination of conflict, with the social, which is conflictual in essence.”

I made no reference to actions to eliminate conflicts.  Conflicts of any nature will always be the basis of all change, and all change implies development.  I remember perfectly well my philosophy classes and Marxism’s first law of dialectics: The law of the unity and struggles of opposites.  It’s clear that all societies are conflictual in essence; in fact, it would be terribly boring if we were all the same.

I was speaking of the prevalence of certain attitudes of intolerance that still exit towards differences.  Therefore, I was making a sort of call to open people up to respect and acceptance.

Carlene posed a series of questions to me.  These included: Why must members of the LGBT movement show themselves as a homogeneous mass and not a conflictual one that lacks differences within the group?  Is it to convince heterosexuals that they themselves should be more tolerant?  Why can’t lesbians and gays feel different from transvestites?  Why is it necessary to think that there has to be a group without inner conflicts if all human groups are internally conflictual?

My friend Charlene, we agree that groups or social sectors (ones having certain features or characteristics in common) don’t have to be homogeneous.  But what I do believe is that they shouldn’t discriminate or be exclusionary among themselves.

It’s OK to feel different, what’s not Ok is to censor those who are different, and no one should have to convince others to accept them.  The disapproval of actions, behaviors, etc. among humans is almost an inherent condition.

I’m not demanding LGBT people or anyone else hold any certain virtues.  I’m arguing for inclusion, the one we won’t reach by being permeated with ancestral divisions: blacks vs. whites, heteros vs. homos, religious believers vs. atheists, the left vs. the right.

I believe that Cuba is taking very small steps, but steps nonetheless.  It is entering a new stage where at least differences are now recognized and people cannot continue faking the “fact” that there’s a single line of thought, one sole approach or only one way of feeling.

We lived for years flaunting our political, social and cultural “consensus,” and whoever dared to show themself as different was branded an enemy or a traitor.  Ahead of us, we have a long and tortuous road to travel, but it’s now undeniable that opposites exist, that they are here, that they coexist with us.

Like that, we will be better and more capable.  As Benito Juarez once said: “The respect of the rights of others means peace!”

And if readers like you no longer make sure that my writings are mistaken, it would be a good point of departure onto the road of respect and tolerance.


Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

One thought on “Conflict Yes, But Also Respect

  • I am an American residing in the US. I am a regular visitor to this site and find the pieces published here most intriguing and informative. I have the impression that some of the contributers are Cubans residing in Cuba, others are Cubans living abroad, others are non-Cubans residing in Cuba , and some non-Cubans residing abroad. Is my impression accurate? Do Cubans enjoy free access to this source? An influential view here is that Cuba is dominated by a totalitarian system which permits virtually no freedom of expression. This web site would seem to belie that view. I am also aware of an ambiguous official Cuban slogan according to which everything is permitted within the revolution and nothing without. What is the meaning of this in practical terms? What is the state of such freedom and how has it changed over the years? I would most appreciate an essay addressing these questions. thanks for your attention.

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