First Take

By Leonid Lopez

Leonid Lopez
Leonid Lopez

I have never kept a diary. A slogan of my adolescence was: experience isn’t saved in words. It was my unconscious reaction against the scientific thinking that tries to record everything. By 34 you stop defending your ideas with such hardness and in its place prefer to build noisy supermarkets or peaceful nature reserves.

Now I believe that each person records their life however they see fit, be it a product of straight reason or magical restiveness. So what do I want to record? Where do I start? I’m not sure so far but now I am trying a little catharsis. I’ll continue from my last thought.

I live in a small country, on an island called Cuba. The native people called it that. Today, we are more Spanish than indigenous but continue feeling like those on the bottom seeking recognition. Hundreds of years after the conquests many of us continue to be poor. The colonizers now have one name: Imperialism. The colonized are still looking for one that unites them in their misfortune while they continue using their age old names: Indians, exploited, poor… Titles held alongside dignity and sadness. As if, secretly, there was something of pride in being defeated.

The dispossessed of the earth have two pills to swallow: the one of constant struggle until the glorious future and the other, a dreamed-of life of ease through the savior’s hand. I prefer to think there is a third choice: freedom is personal and it is your own responsibility, first towards yourself and later with others. A society of free people would never be at war, it would be continually improving itself through its own strengths, without relying on complaints against the master or waiting for the miraculous saviors. Freedom is an option that you already have. Take it with you.

That was my first thought today. It burst out like an embrace that lingers.