Nothing Human Should Be Alien to Us

Dariela Aquique 

Photo from Palestine by Julie Webb-Pullman

Sovereignty is the right of a people, with this residing in their supreme authority over the control and public power of a nation; this in turn is exercised through their constitutionally bounded institutions of representation.

Terminologies like these are rarely used by Cubans.  The level of politicization of our lives has led to our backs being turned to all questions that relate to us in this respect.  Basically, we live immersed in our day-to-day complaints due to our meager wages, our shortages of food and our lack of freedom of expression.

The issues discussed on the primetime yet unpopular television program La Mesa Redonda (the Roundtable), have created an anti-audience.   We’ve become fairly indifferent to most major conflicts, be they those of Chilean youth demanding their right to a non-privatized education, strikes by service workers in Belgium, the so-called indignant demonstrators in Spain and Italy, NATO’s aggressive attacks on Libya or the discussions at the UN around the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state.

However, that last situation has made me reflect a little.  We believe that our problems are the biggest and most important.  It’s to the point of ignoring everything that’s happening in the rest of the world.  It’s to where we think something like: “We’re so screwed in our own situation, what reason do we have to lend an ear to other people’s conflicts…”

But this time I realized that there’s no reason for us to be so cold.  Cubans have left and resettled in almost every part of the world in the attempt to better their lives.  Perhaps right now in the lines of workers on strike in Brussels there are Cubans present.  It’s very likely that in the marches in Santiago de Chile or in the Spanish plazas there are also the children of Cubans who live there, just as it’s possible that some compatriot has been shot dead in the streets of Tripoli.

My ancestral feelings move me when I read or hear about Palestine.  On my father’s side I’m a descendent of a family that came from that distant land.  My great-grandparents brought their tiny children here, and they in turn started their families on this island.

That bloodline that ties me to that nation — when I see them fervently demanding their rights to be recognized as an independent and sovereign state — has moved the fibers of my being.  It is a “call of blood,” as older people here would say.

So, saddened with myself, I understood that nothing human should be alien to me, paraphrasing Terence, and I remembered Marti’s words of “homeland is humanity.”  That’s why here, with these modest lines, I offer my vote to Palestine.

2 thoughts on “Nothing Human Should Be Alien to Us

  • The isolation enforced in part by the U.S and also by the ossification of the Cuban bureaucracy is a sword that cuts both ways. It keeps out the corrupting, destructive influence of the United States but also keeps much of the news of the world, the concerns of other peoples in other countries in much worse shape than is Cuba.

    Cubans seem to be losing sight of what the revolution was all about and this mostly due to the aforementioned
    bureaucracy and the paralysis of public and state actions as regards internationalism.

    Day to day survival; what we here in the USA call “paying the mortgage” (home loan) takes up the time and energy of all but the most energetic in both countries albeit for far different reasons.

    A people freed from hardships has the time to think beyond where the next meal will come from or how they will be able to buy a needed pair of shoes.

    Cuba cannot surrender its revolution to capitalism but the people will continue to suffer if it doesn’t .
    That is what the U.S policy/war against Cuba is all about; making the PEOPLE suffer so they’ll get rid of socialism.
    Cuba is between a rock and a hard place. To mix metaphors it can go from the frying pan into the fire should it make that poorer choice of submitting to the now very feral capitalism , not that it makes the frying pan that is day-to-day life in Cuba any more bearable.

    What you’re fighting in a less spectacular and quiet way is the same fight as those that are fighting for a free Palestine.
    Please don’t forget that Cuba and the ordinary Cubans that are making this grinding yearly struggle are an inspiration to many in the world who have the U.S. predations to contend with.

    And that goes for many of us in the heart of the beast.

    Hold on. Hold out.

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