By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Folks, a friend of mine sent me a private message, expressing serious concerns at the reaction of "Americans" to the death of Cuba's Fidel Castro. He was unhappy that the "Americans" were jubilating instead of feeling sad at the loss of such an illustrious figure. Donald Trump has been quick to dismiss Castro as a "brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for decades".
I wonder if he knows the truth about the resilience of the Cuban people who have stood with Castro all these years to either confront the US in its subversive activities or to neutralize its manouevres. The Bay of Pigs saga signifies it all.
In the end, it wasn't Cuba that reached out to the US to normalize relations; it was the US under Obama that took the first step to question its 50 years' isolationist policies and politics against Cuba that yielded nothing to be proud of. Thus, the impression emerges that despite all that a superpower like the US did to subvert a small island country of Cuba's status under Castro, it failed. Cuba has a lot to offer the world, which no sane person will doubt.
In response to my friend's concerns, I made it clear to him that those celebrating the death of Fidel Castro deserve pity because they lack knowledge about political history and the upheavals that have shaped human life since time immemorial.
I want to raise this issue for special comment to say that those in the United States (characterized as Cuban exiles living in Miami, Florida, and the politicians of ignorant Donald Trump's type) jubilating at the death of Castro are either lost or are simply pitiable.
No matter what their motivation for jubilating may be, they portray themselves as uninformed and shallow-minded. I will explain my stance with direct references to some important epochal moments in the life of humanity and the influences of some figures whose activities and utterances might have come across as either novel or objectionable, but whose impact changed the course of life significantly. They left behind lasting imprints on human life.
The fundamental point is that all these figures stood against what was objectionable in their specific historical periods.
First in the line is Jesus Christ whose ministry jolted the Establishment, leading to machinations that would lead to his crucifixion. But his death didn't end his revolution.
Bring in Martin Luther and his Reformation, and you should not fail to know why Christendom has many gateways/pathways apart from the orthodox Catholic Church. Was it really bad for Martin Luther to gore oxen? I don't think so.
Move on to the political arena to see all the changes brought about by bold figures who sacrificed their lives to effect changes. Whether in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Australia, or whatever, the tactical moves made by such figures brought about drastic events that overturned the objectionable status quo.
In the United States, George Washington led the struggle to rid it of the British domination and ruthlessness of King George; in Russia, Vladimir Lenin made it possible to change the paradigm; in many parts of the world, the pattern was clear that for as long as the people felt oppressed by the status quo, they would definitely seek means to get rid of it and establish a system to cater to their needs and desires.
What World Wars One and Two have shown us is a huge lesson on its own. So also are the experiences of colonized people all over the world who fought their oppressors and established systems to serve their purposes. No matter what challenges still persist in such endeavours, such systems reflect the aspirations of the people.
So is it with Cuba and why it had to take Castro and his gang of revolutionaries to overthrow the US-backed Batista regime and launch the system that placed Castro in charge till his departure. Disturbing questions arise when one analyzes the US' antagonism toward Cuba. Of course, some might quickly justify that antagonism by saying that Cuba was too close to the US to be tolerated as an ally of the US' bitterest enemy (the Soviet Union, now Russia) to do things anyhow. Remember the 1962 Cuban missile crisis?
The story behind everything involving Castro and the US is really long and quirky. Only those who know how to appreciate happenings will see what some of us have seen, especially at this time that Castro is no more.
Those celebrating his death as a welcome relief from "oppression" or "dictatorship" are oversimplifying matters. For the so-called Cuban exiles in Miami whose over-zealousness in the jubilation has been beamed across the globe by the news media, there is only one thing to prick them on.
Freedom is relative. Whatever might have occasioned their fleeing Cuba for the US, there are many more reasons and conditions of their so-called present "comfort zones" for them to be wary of. Even in the US, freedom is not absolute.
Whatever motivated George Washington and his armada to overthrow the British colonial system can't be any different from what motivated Castro to lead the revolution against the Batista regime strongly backed by the US. If you doubt it, go and read George Washington's (original version) of the "Declaration of Independence". Then, you should be better informed to interrogate the US' stance on Cuba and why it is misplaced and ridiculous. It has a mirror-effect for it to worry about.
Castro was a huge thorn in the flesh of those fearing their own shadows for what they portrayed in public but contravened in practice (behind-the-scene). He hid nothing from anybody, reinforcing his down-to-earth nature in wearing his military fatigues and smoking his favourite Cuban cigar!! He was a national hero whose renown spread beyond Cuba and will continue to hang around till time-without-end.
Such an accomplished person is millions of miles removed from the scatter-brained, spoilt brat of Donald Trump's type assuming leadership positions in the US in the twilight of its glory. Fie on him and others undermining Fidel Castro for useless political expediency not backed by objective reality!! When Castro was in his element, where were Trump and those gasbags now emerging as the US' leaders?
When Castro was in the thick of affairs with the Non-Aligned Movement, where were all these creeps? The giant steps that he made to give the world a new perspective on the "ordinary people's struggles to assert their influence in global affairs" cannot be wiped away by disparaging comments about him at his death. Meantime, President Obama’s comments on Cuba conflict with those of the benighted Trump. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! A system in self-denial of the truth to its own embarrassment?
In ruling Cuba, Castro might have his inadequacies as a human being (Of course, no human being can claim to be infallible); but the truth stands that under him, Cuba made strides that the whole world respects. Such strides put Fidel Castro far above the vile calumny that his haters are subjecting him to.
Cuba under Fidel Castro made huge strides to astound the so-called developed powers such as the US and Russia, not to talk about those in Western Europe. In medicine alone, Cuba excels. The professional competence of Cuban doctors is globally acknowledged. If Castro's rule were so devilish and limited, how could such a feat be accomplished such that Cuban doctors could be in high demand all over the world?
In the military field too, Cuban soldiers fought alongside freedom fighters in Southern Africa. How could that be if Castro were so bad a leader?
We note here that he survived 10 Presidents of the United States, all of whom sought to do all in their power to eliminate him but failed and succumbed to the forces of Nature and their own political rigmarole. How funny!!
The world hasn't seen anybody of Castro's type, which is why he still stands tall to be celebrated in death and not vilified as his purposeless haters are doing now. Shame unto them!!
As for me and my household, we uphold him as a visionary to be respected. We see him as a shining example of a selfless leader whose singular efforts shaped the destiny of his country and marked a huge departure from foreign control. Only those who cannot see beyond their noses will jubilate at his death. I salute him!!
I shall return…
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