Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cuban Christmas - Between Killjoys And Mourning

Cuban Christmas: Between Killjoys And Mourning / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya

14ymedio, Havana, Miriam Celaya, 18 December 2016 — I'm clueless as to
what they are called in other cultures, but for Cubans here and abroad,
the word "sapo," which literally means "toad," is a term applied to the
typical individual who always shows up in a situation where there is
fun, optimism or joy, for the sole purpose of ruining it, spoiling the
fun, souring the wine, in short – using the verb form of the word,
sapear – acting like a toad (or in English, like a killjoy, a drag, a
sourpuss, a wet blanket).

In Cuba, hedonistic and smiling despite adversities, being a killjoy is
one of the many ways of being a drag, which, among us, is the worst of
defects. Understand the subtlety: you can be a drag without necessarily
being a killjoy, but it is irrefutable, that absolutely all killjoys are
drags. That is why the killjoy can earn the dislike of everyone present
in a second, in any setting and circumstance. "Don't be a killjoy" is an
expression of resounding rejection among us, against the individual who
sabotages pleasure in any of its manifestations.

That is why it's all the more curious and contradictory that in Cuba the
killjoy has been inflated to become an institution and State policy. In
fact, in the last 60 years the Power has been in the hands of a small
group of green batrachians who systematically and by decree, are
committed to put down any hint of popular happiness.

If anyone has any doubts about this, suffice it to list a few
brushstrokes of the unrepentant olive-green killjoys: the proscription
of traditional festivities like Christmas, the rationing of food and
everything that meant prosperity and comfort, Volunteer Work to ruin the
workers' Sunday rest, the exclusion of a lot of very good foreign and
local music from national radio stations, the imposition of mournful
commentaries of the calendar of "communist saints" list to the detriment
of religious holidays (Holy Week, among others), and many other examples
too numerous to list here.

In these final days of 2016, another thorny and barren year, and after
barely surviving the recent novena of the Deceased in Chief (Killjoy par
excellence), Cuban workers have been informed that traditional Christmas
festivities will not be held, festivities which in many State labor
centers are practically the only celebrations almost devoid of political
nuance. And I say "almost" because it is known that, at least
officially, Cuban workers do not celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus
or the advent of the New Year, but the glorious anniversary of the
triumph of the revolution. (Lowercase letters are intentional).

Anyway, there will not be any hullaballoo. "We are in mourning,"
according to the secretaries of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and the
directors of each state work center, minor killjoys responsible for
revealing the bad news, which is in addition to the already known
suspension of festivities and popular celebrations in the towns in
Cuba's interior.

But the mourning must seem like a spontaneous expression of the people,
that is why it has not been decreed by the government nor divulged in
the official media, but it has been ordered from each Ministry to the
directors of its different institutions, who in turn have "indicated "in
writing to the Directors of Companies subordinated to them, that this
time the celebration should be "simple" through "political activities
that can be in the framework of a lunch for all workers." And, though
the official document does not express it, the order is that there will
be no alcoholic beverages in the aforementioned lunch. Mourning is
mourning, which means that one doesn't really need to be sad, just look
like it.

The reference comes from the Business Group of Design and Engineering of
Construction (GEDIC) and the Superior Organ of Business Management
(OSDE), both of the Ministry of Construction, to which more than thirty
companies are subordinated at the national level, including those
responsible for supervising the construction work of the Mariel Special
Development Zone (ZEDM).

It was in one of these subordinate companies where the Director, after
successfully fulfilling his mission of killjoy in office duties and
announcing the non-holiday party, went to the office of the superior
chief where, according to stupefied witnesses, the killjoy-directors
gathered there toasted with a generous drink of Havana Club Reserve to
the memory of the Main Batrachian killjoy.

Source: Cuban Christmas: Between Killjoys And Mourning / 14ymedio,
Miriam Celaya – Translating Cuba -

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