Isbel Diaz Torres

The magic meaning behind the expression “bla bla bla.”

I’m not used to posting my musings in these dairies.  My entries generally present something that happened, something I saw, or what somebody told me; but they emerge from some concrete fact.  It seems that this one will be different, because I’m worried.

I worked hard along with other friends so that we could hold the last Critical Observatory Social Forum, and it turned out well.   Since then I’ve been focused on the Communist Party Congress, trying not to get lost in the televised summaries of the commissions.  At my house people wound up looking at me like I was crazy (my father, a retired communist soldier, didn’t even understand my interest in the discussions).

Recently, some of my comments were mentioned in several news reports filed by international agencies, which is always disturbing.  The interpretations that are made in Cuba of the foreign press are generally pretty paranoid.  So I’m worried about how I will be viewed by my compatriots.

To be frank, I almost always say the same thing in all my interviews.  What I said some time ago to Juventud Rebelde (a Cuban newspaper), was what I said recently to Le Monde (a French one) and to La Jornada (Mexican).  In the end, the emphases are made by the journalists, which isn’t a bad thing.

I’m clear that the environment that interests me isn’t newspapers. What does interest me is communicating my ideas and for others to also communicate there’s to me.  Newspapers are almost always unidirectional channels.   Here at this website people can at least tell me that they did or didn’t like what I said.  They can brand me as an official mouthpiece or a subversive manipulator.  But that’s good.  This too is debate.

Now for me, the true transformative environment is in the family, in the community, in the social circles in which each of us exists.  It’s there where things like environmentalist activism, libertarian politics and even poetry make sense.

When we were having this last Social Forum, teenagers from the Havana community of Coco Solo came into the place without asking permission to sing songs by the rapper Raudel Collazo Pedroso (of Skuadron Patriota), and this was when I discovered a new sense of what we were doing.

When last week I went to water a ceiba tree that some of us planted in my neighborhood, a 10-year-old boy told me that he had already watered it, my ideas filled with meaning.   And today, when a young woman in the street found out my name and excitedly told me that she liked my posts in Havana Times, this space too became charged with new feelings.

The problem is that I worry about empty visibility.  I worry that Jimmy, and my brother, and my nephews who planted the ceiba with me will disappear behind my name.  Or that Yanet, or Yoan, or Dunia, or Hibert, or others who worked so hard on the forum will disappear from the credits because no one called them for a statement.

I have serious doubts about “representativeness” because it’s unjust, even when it can function for the good in certain contexts.  It delights me to invent things to do, as well as to add my inventions to those of others.   Personal and intimate writing is important, but collective exposition is also vital.

The Communist Party congress has now ended.  Plastic bag vendors aren’t aware of what took place because they didn’t have time to watch TV.  The oven at the bakery in my neighborhood broke down, so there’s probably no bread until at least tomorrow.  I wonder if the congress delegate who proposed introducing the verb “to ennoble” in one of the reform guidelines understands the magic meaning behind the expression “bla bla bla”?


Isbel Diaz

Isbel Diaz Torres: Pinar del Rio and Havana are my cities. I was born in one on March 1, 1976, and I’ve always lived in the other. I am a biologist and poet, though at times I’ve also been a musician, translator, teacher, computer geek, designer, photographer and editor. I’m very non-conformist and a defender of differences – perhaps due to always having been an ever-repressed “model child.” Nothing enthralls me more than the unknown, nature and art; these serve as my sources of mystery and development. A surprising activism has been born in me over the recent period. Though I’m not very sure how to channel it, I feel that it’s a worthy and legitimate energy. Let’s hope I have the discernment to manage it.

One thought on “Bla Bla Bla

  • April 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm
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    I was surprised to read the coverage of the Critical Observatory in my weekly reading of Cuban news. It was reprinted in The Guardian as well (that is where I saw it). I like blogs and the web more than institutional newspapers. Those of us with the privilege of literacy should participate in telling our thoughts and stories just as much as those people who use their literacy as a profession. Then again, there is that old saying we have in the USA “All press is good press”…

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