Monday, August 4, 2008

The Importance of Disappearing

All of Solzhenitsyn 's obituaries make it a point to mention that the young people of Russia scarcely know him if they know him at all. This is presented as evidence that his importance has waned since the collapse of Communism and that, in effect, he died long before he took his final breath yesterday. If this is true, then it is the greatest tribute that could be paid to him. It means that this generation of Russians is not in the thrall of the demons that haunted their parents and grandparents. It means that they are free of fear and want, that the central fact of their lives is not an omnipotent state that will dictate to them every facet of their existence and punish them for any deviation from the one ineludible path. It means, ultimately, that they don't need a Solzhenitsyn as their parents needed him and can afford the luxury of taking a Solzhenitsyn for granted. Now that every man in Russia is free to think for himself, it is no longer a novelty that one man dared to do so when few others would. A universal conscience is no longer needed in Russia because the duty of thinking has devolved on all men. It is Solzhenitsyn's legacy to his countrymen and he lives every time that injustice is denounced there or the rights of man are affirmed. To penetrate the minds of men, with your presence being unperceived but your entire essence permeating every fiber, is a better measure of a man's worth and usefulness than any personality cult or even the sincerest admiration. When a man becomes organically a part of his people then he is indeed immortal. Until we are shown another this is the only immortality we can be sure of. When Martí said that he knew "how to disappear" this is exactly what he meant. Today Solzhenitsyn has disappeared in the same sense and he, too, is more alive than ever.

Solzhenitsyn also influenced Cubans:


Fantomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vana said...

But it's also sad to think that a man who contributed so much is not even known to his fellow man, men like Solzhenitsyn helped to topple that brutal regime by speaking the truth, most Russians from what I've read didn't even know how their Tsar and his own family were murdered, some say ignorance is bliss, but not learning from the past will doom one to repeat it.

black sheep said...

Not a single Word from Val or Henry
Sounds very fishy to me

Comments: Beware false prophets...
[Comment removed by editor]

Posted by readytoshoot at August 4, 2008 03:45 PM

As the child and grandchild of family members who fled Cuba as the castros revealed their true selves, I know of what the writer speaks.
But to compare what happened in Cuba with what is happening in the current American political campaign is an insult.

The comparison is false for two reasons: First, whatever you think of Obama, it would be impossible for him to transform his presidency into a dictatorship. The checks on that are too many to mention.

Secondly, and more importantly, the comparison is an insult to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of the castro dictatorship. It is an insult to take that suffering and use it as debating point in a presidential race. Their suffering and their legacy deserve much better from their descendants.

Posted by Marc R. Masferrer at August 4, 2008 05:38 PM

Marc, maybe you should write a guest column at the Daily Kos if you feel this way. After all, we intransigent hard-liners only have our experience and that of our parents to guide us, not a journalism degree.

Posted by George L. Moneo at August 4, 2008 06:09 PM

I do not think the author of the letter which inspired this video really meant to draw such a direct parallel between Castro and Obama, Marc. I think his point was that when you have a demagogue, such as Obama, running on slogans and catch phrases, you are usually in for a rude surprise.

I agree that the US has too many checks and balances for someone like Obama, no matter how charismatic, to destroy the democracy this country was founded upon. But I do not agree with you that the comparison made by the author of this letter is an insult to the memories of those that have and still suffer because of the Castro regime.

I, too, am a child and grandchild of a family that fled the Cuban dictatorship. A very close uncle of mine was jailed and tortured for several years--first in La Cabaña, and then Taco Taco--just for expressing his disagreement with the Castro regime. But I am not insulted by the author's comparison.

Obama, regardless of his intentions, is using the same techniques that Castro used, and before him, Hitler used. It is not a crime, nor is it an offense to anyone who suffered at the hands of these murderers, to point this out by using these examples. I have no reason to believe that the author of that letter intended to make light of the suffering of the Cuban people. Therefore, I have no reason to be offended, and neither should you.

Posted by albertodelacruz at August 4, 2008 07:06 PM

George, my family shared the same experience, many times over.

But the suggestion that Obama is fooling the USA as castro fooled many in Cuba does them no service. There is plenty on which to challenge Obama — including his claim to being an agent of "change. But to suggest he is a castro-in-waiting is ridiculous. In fact, I think it insults our parents and grandparents and diminishes what they experienced, and what Cubans on the island today are suffering.

It's the same reason it is foolhardy to compare right-wingers with Nazis, as that diminishes the suffering of the Jews and others who suffered under Hitler. It's a cheap debating trick, and there should be no room for it in the debate.

Let us also consider what McCain is offering when it comes to Cuba: More of the same policies that while viscerally satisfying, have failed to help liberate Cuba for almost 50 years now. We shouldn't be fooled by that, either.

Posted by Marc R. Masferrer at August 4, 2008 07:12 PM

Marc, in 1959 nobody thought that Cuba could become what it is today. Nobody thought fidel would turn that country into a communist nation. But he did, didn't he? I can never forget that the likes of Walter Duranty (a Pulitzer Prize winner), Herbert Matthews, and Miguel Ángel Quevedo walked the Earth and did as much harm to the cause of freedom in the twentieth century as the dictatorships they enabled and coddled. By ridiculing and slamming the legitimate concern that exile Cubans have with Obama's messianic rhetoric -- full of hot air, pretty words, promises and nothing more -- you are doing Obama's work for him. If you're for Obama, fine. Declare yourself. But don't pull this crap. Because you know damn well what the intent of the writer of that letter was. You're not kidding anybody here.

Posted by George L. Moneo at August 4, 2008 07:24 PM

I agree with Albert. I think the point is political demagoguery and that's it. If Obama gets elected and when he f**ks up the country like Jimmy Carter did, then the people will vote him out of office.

Castro did not come via popular election. He made himself "the law" and crowned himself ala Napoleon.

He had the military with him and purged the opposition.

here the Prez is term limited to two terms.


Now, barring a catastrophic event, the chances of any president instituting martial law here in the US slim and none. And even then, a sitting president and still be removed via impeachment.

Frankly to suggest any president is going to turn the USA into any type of dictatorship is reading too many Clancey novels or reading the lefty rags who are saying Bush is creating a fascist state. Even the lefty's more reviled person, Bush, is gone in January. Thus, the system works.

Posted by Cigar Mike Pancier at August 4, 2008 07:57 PM

Don't tell me it can't happen here, Mike, when the President wields the power of the Executive Order. And with a Dem Congress, who knows.

Some may find this comparison odious, but so be it. The past is prologue: Other than those who voted for him in 1933, nobody thought the pathetic, laughable little corporal with the funny mustache had a chance of becoming Germany's Chancellor. In three short years, he had turned a moderate to left democracy in Central Europe -- one with a hell of a lot of social and economic problems -- into a dictatorship. The people loved him. He promised change. And he fulfilled his promises.

This is a cult of personality, not a candidacy.

Posted by George L. Moneo at August 4, 2008 08:25 PM

George, I am not ridiculing or slamming the concerns of anybody. I know of what the writer describes. My family, which included many fidelistas, experienced the worst the castro dictatorship had to offer, up to and including the firing squad execution of my grandfather's cousin. I know how many people, in Cuba and overseas, were fooled.

I just think that legacy deserves better than to be twisted to malign a presidential candidate. Those of us who work to tell our stories and those of our families, really deserve better than to have those stories distorted for political purposes. What this letter does is distort the candidate's record, which I really don't care about, but worse, it diminishes the impact of what our parents and grandparents suffered.

Posted by Marc R. Masferrer at August 4, 2008 08:50 PM

And it diminishes the suffering of Cubans on the island today.

Posted by Marc R. Masferrer at August 4, 2008 08:51 PM

Breaking news said...

La policía de New Jersey detuvo a un hombre sospechoso de violar a unas 400 vacas, a las que mató después de terminar el coito, informó hoy el portal The Star Ledger

El sospechoso, identificado como Manuel A. Tellechea , de 63 años, fue detenido el domingo, después de que un ganadero de Cranford, en el interior de NJ, le sorprendiera después de que supuestamente matara a tres vacas y un becerro de su propiedad.

En su declaración a la policía, Tellechea reconoció ser el autor de estos delitos y explicó que sufrió abusos sexuales a los 13 años, por lo que comenzó a mantener relaciones sexuales con yeguas y caballos y después con reses bovinas.

El comisario de policía John Cássio , citado por Star Ledger, dijo que el sospechoso declaró haber intentado acostarse con una prostituta en su adolescencia, pero que lo encontró “muy frustrante”.

El comisario, que investiga el caso de la muertes de las reses desde hace un año, afirmó que llegaron a sospechar de que los sacrificios formaban parte de rituales de magia negra, por lo que llegaron a bautizar al autor como “Chupa-Vacas”.

En total, se han encontrado cerca de 400 vacas asesinadas supuestamente por Tellechea , en un período de cuatro años, y siempre en granjas cercanas a Newark