To be faithful to one’s ideals or principles is noble, just as having absolute conviction in what one defends and why is commendable. The problem begins with people become overzealous, when they act on preconceived or partisan ideas rather than reason or experience.
Such dogmatism is disastrous in interpersonal relations. If there is no right to reply, if there is no dialogue, there won’t be communication. Unfortunately there exist people who still persist in their intransigence.
A few days ago a group of youths made some comments (which, by the way, were quite mindless) about how they would like to live in Developed countries. A man, who evidently didn’t understand anything about the conversation between the boys, barged into their casual conversation and called the youth no less than “ingrates.”
He continued his diatribe reminding the teenagers of the years of the Batista dictatorship: the hunger, the misery, the repression. In short, he talked about the infinite kindness of our system and concluded with the classic message, “Everything that we are we owe to the Revolution!”
One of the boys got upset (for good reason) and the first thing he said to the veteran zealot was: “Nobody was talking to you. Listen, the past is past; we’re talking about the present and the future.” This gave rise to words and more words in what turned into an ugly dispute. It finally concluded with threats like: “Watch it! I already got a good look at your faces…”
I believe that no one has the right to invade other people’s conversations, be they for or against whatever is said. Where is the respect for privacy, the right to expression (mistaken or not)?
Imposing precepts doesn’t liven up causes. I believe that one evil of our society has been to foment this type of action and to encourage these types of fundamentalist individuals, who are usually extremely dangerous.
People like these were the ones used for what remains a shameful episode in our memory: the “acts of repudiation” in the 1980s. I remember like it were yesterday when people marched with signs reading “Scum,” “Lumpen,” “Bums!”; when eggs were thrown at houses as well as at people’s faces and heads; when enormous paper worms were burnt on the porches of families who they were told were “abandoning this country.”
Today Cuba has what are called “Rapid Response Brigades.” Their ranks are swelled with people like that rancid man just mentioned. These are people willing to go to blows with others, individuals capable of acts of physical aggression against their neighbors for nothing more than not thinking the same, or for even worse: for feeling they have the right to freely express their differences.
Fortunately they’re the minority!