Last New Year’s Eve, at the struck of midnight, I received a message on my mobile from a friend, “Have you seen the moon tonight? A full moon of such splendour is a magnificent omen for 2010…”
I looked at the Moon and thought about possible omens. My friend, like myself and many other Cubans, dreams about the democratic changes required in our island, which has been frozen in time by a bunch of aged guerrillas, who are now celebrating 51 years in power, as if half a century of arbitrariness was not enough to make millions of people feel fed up.
Mi friend is a philologist and is 34 years old. She has been awarded international prizes for her blog, but in Cuba she is derided by the official press and was beaten up in the streets under the orders of a recycled Comandante. Her husband was also beaten up in the busiest street in Havana. It is understandable that they see in the Moon an omen for change.
But these friends do not live on the Moon, nor do they turn into wolves with the cycles of the satellite. They write their posts without thinking of the beasts circling them. Like them, dozens of bloggers and independent journalists comment on the reality being ignored or distorted by the official media, who all started 2010 with “new campaigns against the enemy”, reports about the “wonderful health system in Cuba”, chronicles about the sporting successes in 2009 and reminiscences of the “battles” pre-dating the “luminous” January 1st 1959.
The government chroniclers do not live on the Moon either, but they have learnt to look after the editorial interests of their bosses. If they were to shy away from propaganda and the impunity that protects them, they would also describe what happens behind the scenes. They would then stop embellishing trivial events and defaming people who simply express different viewpoints.
If they decided to explore newsworthy topics, they would simply need to go into the neighborhoods, interview hospital and polyclinic doctors, see how the secondary school supply teachers practice, or talk to the consumers at the state-owned markets, where prices go up while quality decreases.
People without an agenda can bear witness to the problems ignored by the media. They can report on the constant fight for survival of many people, pinpoint the rubbish skips attracting the vermin; mention the names of the corrupt officials and policemen who ill-treat homosexuals and Blacks. To see the other side of the moon, you just need to take a risk, doubt, question the truth shouted out by those in power.
Perhaps then will we be able to admire its splendor and think, like my friend, that the Moon’s beauty may be an omen for change in 2010. Meanwhile, let’s throw rhetoric away and strive to modify the destiny designed by the prophets of quietness.
Translated by: trelex