In the 19th century, Cuban independence hero Jose Marti pondered on the dilemma of travel to Cuba, while the island was under the yolk of another sort of tyranny -- Spanish colonialism.
Here's his conclusion:
Trips to Cuba
War brought us here and the abhorrence against tyranny keeps us here. That abhorrence is so deeply rooted in us, so essential to our nature, that it is as inseparable from us as our own flesh!
What are we to seek there when it is not possible to live with honor and when the time to return and die has not yet come?... Why should we go to Cuba? To hear the cracking of whips on the backs of men, on the backs of Cubans, and to not be able to defend oneself, even if there were no weapon but the branch of a tree, by nailing the hand of the one who punishes us against a tree as an example?
To see the repulsive consortium of the sons of heroes belittle themselves with all kinds of impurity and the imported vices that they flaunt, or to see them boast their filthy prosperity before those who should live amongst them?
To greet, to beg, to smile, to shake hands, to see the mass of people that flourish amongst our anguish, as the black and yellow butterflies that flourish amongst the manure along the roads? To see an insolent bureaucrat parade his luxury, his carriage, his lady, before the august thinker who walks by his feet without having the means in his own country to provide a meal for his family?
To see distinguished people live in shame, to see the honorable live in helplessness, to see talent acting in shameful complicity, to see the women with impure company, to see the farmers without the fruits of the soil? What does one have to turn over to the soldier that he will only seek to take away tomorrow? Will he even take away the ability to grow one's own crops or sugarcane?
To see a whole people, our people, for whom judgment goes as far today as courage did yesterday, dishonor themselves by showing cowardice and pretending as if they do not know what is happening around them? This hurts far worse than thrust of a dagger. To go and see such shamelessness! Others are able to: We Cannot!
October 10, 1887
(Courtesy of Babalu Blog)
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