Yoani Sanchez - Award-winning Cuban blogger
Cuba's Culture of Violence: A Dangerous Spiral
Posted: 04/20/2014 12:44 am EDT Updated: 04/20/2014 12:59 am EDT
A woman hits a child, who appears to be her son, on one corner. The
passersby who see it don't get involved. A hundred yards further on, two
men get in a fight because one stepped on the other's shoe. I arrive
home thinking about this aggressiveness, just under the skin, that I
feel in the street. To relax my tension I read the latest issue of the
magazine Coexistence, which just celebrated six years since its
founding. I find in its pages an article by Miriam Celaya, who
coincidentally addresses this "dangerous spiral" of blows, screams and
irritation that surrounds us.
Under the title "Notes on the anthropological origins of violence in
Cuba," the scathing analyst delves into the historical and cultural
antecedents of the phenomenon. Our own national trajectory, steeped in
"blood and fire," does not help much when it comes time to promote
attitudes like pacifism, harmony and reconciliation. From the horrors of
slavery during the colonial period, through the wars of independence
with their machete charges and their high-handed caudillos, up to the
violent events that also characterized the republic. A long list of
fury, blows, weapons and insults shaped our character and are
masterfully enumerated by the journalist in her text.
The process that started in 1959 deserves special mention, as it made
class hatred and the elimination of those who are different fundamental
pillars of the political discourse. Thus, even today, the greater part
of the anniversaries commemorated by the government refer to battles,
wars, deaths or "flagrant defeats inflicted" on the opponent. The cult
of anger is such that the official language itself no longer realizes
the rage it promotes and transmits.
But take care! Hatred cannot be "remotely controlled" once fomented.
When rancor is kindled against another country, it ends up also
validating the grudge against the neighbor whose wall adjoins ours.
Those of us who grew up in a society where the act of repudiation has
been justified as the "legitimate defense of a revolutionary people,"
may think that blows and screams are the way to relate to what we don't
understand. In this environment of violence, for us harmony becomes
synonymous with capitulation and peaceful coexistence is a trap that we
want to make "the enemy" to fall into.
19 April 2014
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Source: Cuba's Culture of Violence: A Dangerous Spiral | Yoani Sanchez -