Friday, October 25, 2013

A Sentimental Education

A Sentimental Education / Regina Coyula
Posted on October 24, 2013

Phrases and slogans are often survival strategies, empty expressions
that are repeated time and again until they form a part of the
landscape. The University is for Revolutionaries is one of these phrases
that nevertheless makes sense when we can peek inside a protest rally or
act of revolutionary reaffirmation such as that held last week against
the Ladies in White.

I will not dwell too much on the potential risk of filming, so evident
in the distancing of Luz Escobar from what is going on all around,
especially seeing and hearing the demand of some of the participants
beating on the door for entrance to Laura Pollán's house; she wasn't
disposed to let these battle-hardened classmates discover and enemy
among them.

I want to call attention to the use of university students in these
demonstrations of hatred. They are brought in deceitfully, taking into
account the importance of gregariousness among the young, and from
there, the behavior expected of them. Spontaneous or induced, the fear
of showing a lack of ideological firmness which has repercussion on
their professional future, to be clever and/or charismatic for different

The students are taken there during school hours, for a curricular
activity that counts as attendance, they are saddled with a badly told
story, and between the generalizations and omissions each constructs
their own version. Later it is the individual attitude that becomes
collective (again, the gregariousness).

Meanwhile, they continue singing songs, which could be annoying but not
threatening, but there are always the spontaneous or the indoctrinated
who want to excel, raise the stakes, and in this enervated environment
these young students, those good kids who worry about the environment
and look after their grandparents, I don't say they don't think twice,
no; they don't think to commit any vandalism in the name of THEIR
revolution, a revolution that is neither theirs nor a revolution (again,
emptied of content).

The Ladies in White represent a part of what in any democratic country
makes up the opposition to the government. Systematically demonizing
them increases their visibility, and however many videos are edited to
make them appear evil, their peaceful march continues to garner sympathy.

The fairs of hatred mounted by the repressive apparatus with the
government's permission in Neptune Street, very close to the University,
should be incompatible with the current campaign for economic
optimization, austerity and savings. The buses and fuel to take the
students from the distant universities such as CUJAE or Varona
Pedagogical, snacks, a screen mounted in the middle of the street for
audiovisuals, a meeting point at Trillo Park where they distribute the
troops …

These fairs of hatred should also be incompatible with the current
campaign to eradicate antisocial conduct and bad habits and to recover
civic discipline, given the shortcomings of the New Man to perform in
his environment. They serve, however, the complete opposite: recalling
the shameful episodes of the eighties, Jewish children in Nazi Germany,
spurring on the worst of each university compelled to scream, as you can
see so well in the video.

Many will allude to individual responsibility. Every young person is
already grown and knows what they are doing. And therein lies the
subtlety of government repression: it doesn't matter what you think,
just scream and nothing will happen to you. The road to democracy will
have as one of its biggest challenges to mend the anthropological the
damage of such "subtleties."

23 October 2013

Source: "A Sentimental Education / Regina Coyula | Translating Cuba" -

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