For the Revival of a Culture of Debate in Cuba
Yenisel Rodriguez Perez
HAVANA TIMES — What’s the fastest motorcycle, Kawasaki or Suzuki?
From such discussions between friends, this is how we can represent the sense of debate in Cuban youth culture. The question isn’t whether the subject is significant or not, usually it’s only a matter of taste; what’s in play is the kind of relationship people want to establish with others.
Debate is now a relentless competition based on “because that’s the way it is.”
One assumes a false truth in order to confront others. It’s not that they turn their backs on friendly affection – this is still the most important. What happens is that one can only enjoy themself when living in a hierarchy, one where everyone strives to be the most competent, the best.
At the root of this, one isn’t advocating anything legitimate in itself. On the subject of Kawasakis or Suzukis, you don’t need any underlying reason, only the ability to measure the violence of unilateralism, to make your argument (without arguments!) be recognized by the majority.
Generally the motorcycle that’s liked most is the one that’s defended the loudest, the one that gets the most arguments of “because that’s the way it is”.
Kawasakis-Suzukis discussions today in Cuban neighborhoods are focused on the European professional soccer leagues. The bikes and their speeds are now presented as players, teams and their records.
“Barcelona or Madrid, what’s the best team?” one may ask.
“Barcelona is the best team, because it just is,” is the likely reply
In other words, it might be the better team even though it lost the semifinals of the Champions event or lost in the Spanish league, the same competitions in which it previously won. Madrid is second to none even if it has lost… “it’s the best because it’s the best.”
Every day, from sunrise to sunset, many people in Cuba — like in most of the world — offer poignant affection, assuming different cultures, obviating from these all those dimensions that are not useful for the infinite competition of because that’s the way it is.
Distancing oneself from of these emotional modes means losing shares of normality to the majority.
What can you do, then, when one person is for Barcelona or Madrid, or for Kawasaki or Suzuki for other reasons that are not precisely those of I’m the best, mine are the best, the best, the best… the best…?