"Vigil Recap: Synchronicity." First of all, what the hell does that mean? Synchronicity? Does it mean that they all got there at the appointed time? Some demonstration it would have been otherwise! I guess Henry just wanted to use a big word. No chance of topping "bizarreries," though.
Still, today Henry proved something which I had long suspected: he is one of the elect. He has been given an extraordinary gift denied to other mortals. It is not a unique gift but a very customized gift; a gift previously reserved only for stalkers and the paparazzi. What does this gift consist of? The ability to smell subconsciously and ferret out controversial musicians in or about the vicinity of restaurants who have recently become connected in some way with the Cuban cause (usually as antagonists). Yes, all of that. The restaurant part is important. Because previously Henry had run into "Che"-acolyte Carlos Santana outside an L.A. restaurant and now he runs into the guitarist from The Police waiting for a table at the very restaurant where — and at the very time when — BUCL's "Campaign for the Invisible Ones" was being launched. Would one chance in a billion cover it? Yes, for one such coincidence. But for two? Does lightning really strike twice in the same place or over the same head? Well, it happened. There are pictures. There are always pictures. And more pictures are coming.
Henry spoke to Police guitarist Andy Summers for exactly 90 seconds. One minute and a half. He packed a lot into those 90 seconds, though, and must have thrown the Briton for a loop:
I politely approached him in the foyer before he was seated. I told him we were having a candlelight vigil outside, precisely because he and The Police are in town. He listened patiently as I explained that Amnesty International recognizes 69 prisoners of conscience in Cuba and that in our Miami community there are close to 1 million Cubans who fled the human rights abuses in that country. He told me that the Cuba concert is not a certainty. I told him that we weren't protesting the concert but appealing to them to stand up for human rights in Cuba like they had in the past for other countries. I asked him to share the message with his band mates and he said he would. The entire exchange took no more than 90 seconds while he waited for his table.
Certainly, Summers had never been inopportuned in that way before. It must have made an impression on him. Not enough for Summers to invite Henry to dine with him so that Henry could expand on those 90 seconds, for, apparently, Henry was not that persuasive nor Summers that great-hearted. He did patiently sign an autograph for Henry's niece and was probably relieved to do so. First he goes to a restaurant where he is not recognized or ushered into the VIP area and immediately given a table. And then someone does recognize him and accosts him with more than he ever knew or perhaps wanted to know about Cuba.
Did Summers accompany Sting on his month-long vacation in Cuba earlier this year, where Sting had the opportunity to witness first-hand the suffering and repression which Cubans have endured for 48 years? If it all escaped him, then his non-official contacts must have pointed it out to him. But Sting uttered not a word of criticism. If seeing their suffering day in and day out for 30 days did not move him, what makes Henry think he can be moved at all?
How hard was it, really, to criticize Pinochet's Chile or Botha's South Africa? Even Pope John Paul II was in favor of a global embargo on South Africa while opposing the U.S. embargo on Cuba. And you know what? Castro was around when apartheid was around in South Africa and Pinochet in Chile. So why didn't Sting criticize Castro at the same he was criticizing Pinochet or Botha? Maybe because he sympathized with Castro? But he couldn't have, after all, Sting "loves freedom." Yes, everywhere, apparently, but on our forsaken island. Wake up, children. Smell the coffee.
Something like what happened tonight at Versailles would have been worthy of a tactician like Bismarck if this coincidence had been part of an elaborately wrought plan of action. But we know Henry is not Bismarck. So we have no choice but to ascribe such a monumental coincidence to God's infinite grace for fools, also known as "beginner's luck." And if beginner's luck is all that is required to pull off such a stunt then Henry is sure always to be so blessed; for he will remain an amateur all his life in this and everything he undertakes.
Of course, if Henry had run into the 300 Cuban political prisoners at Versailles it would have been much better and just as likely. Obviously, however, this protesting thing is working for Henry and he should keep it up. Maybe next time he'll run into King Juan Carlos I.