One of my go to favorite films is The Shawshank Redemption as it speaks of profound truths that present themselves thru out real adulthood life. Years like 2016 have been well known thru out history but of course the stakes are higher than ever. We are not living in the pre-dawn age of the French Revolution or are we? The choice is ours. I came upon a Facebook post recently that summed up the reality of believing in the fairy tales of Revolutions. Yenisleidi Lopez commentary on the passing of Castro’s death sums up the reality of falling for the prince beyond any paltry attends I could make. Her words speak of truth and not myths:
“Ya’ll are so worked up over Fidel Castro’s death, but as someone who lived under his dictatorship during the “Special Period” (look it up), I’m over here mumbling, “Meh.” I admire that he was able to oust and combat American imperialism, but he’s still an example of what happens when a rich boy reads some Marx, builds a movement, and is so corrupted by power that he outlaws all dissent. Stop idolizing a dictator, and expect more from revolutionaries. And don’t give leaders all the credit, because it’s the people who make revolutions possible, and Castro subsequently turned on many of his supporters for questioning his authority. In addition: It’s possible to support Cuba’s revolution (as I do), denounce Castro’s reign (as I do), and recognize the role America has played in oppressing people domestically and worldwide (as I do). I’ve seen a lot of non-Cuban people prioritizing their ideologies and attempting to exonerate Castro by arguing that America is a greater evil. Despite that being true in many ways, it doesn’t erase the suffering of a nation’s population at his hands, or their despair to escape. And if your love for communism + hero worship clouds your ability to acknowledge oppression and human suffering, I don’t see how you’re really any better than capitalists. In fact, one of the biggest failures of Castro’s reign is that it’s caused Cubans to mistake capitalism for freedom. Go ahead, try telling people that escaped abject poverty and totalitarianism that owning things isn’t freedom — you’ll get the chancleta. Anyway, I’m bored of arguing with people that wouldn’t actually volunteer to permanently live in Cuba. You know that WiFi and cell phones are rare and that everything is censored, right? That alone would have most of you getting locked up for trying to overthrow the government.”
The belief that Revolutions are what the world needs more of is fine and dandy but the reality of such cheap talk speaks of the brutality and unspeakable atrocities committed in the name of freedom. From Olive Cornwall to the French Revolution to Communism the Spanish Civil War and Lopez’s profoundly brutal criticism of Castro’s dream of sea changes for the betterment of Cubans…. all of this talk of change inlaid with kisses of sweet nothings in hopes of liberty and justice ended up being a ticket to Dante’s hell. Macbeth understood this all too well when he spoke of “idiots full of sound and fury”and of course the bell tolled too late for him like most.
Remember this next time someone speaks to you of revolutions we need. Authority of any kind always bears the burden of proof. Who ever wants to hold the guns and drop the bombs must justify why they should be given such powers over the societies they seek to change. It’s easy to point a finger and say look those are the bad guys not us. So now that 2016 is gratefully coming to an end we the people have choices to make which brings me back to Shawshank Redemptions’s one line sentence. “You either get busy living or you get busy dying.”
This year has brought many of us a moment of pause. So many great artist and friends dead. So many hopes and dreams lost in plain site and the feeling of the world closing end on us. Prince will never come back to us in a fog of purple rain but his musical legacy can brings us back to the gift of his music. Let’s party likes it’s 2016 and may we all find redemption in the purple rain to wash us clean of our sins. Then we can fight 2017 with a dirty but knowing conscious. As Emma Goldman said “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your Revolution”.