I had a wonderful day today, as nice as they come in this painful world.
Amidst myriad distractions, some not too pleasant, I had the chance to fret over the illustrations for my history of the Reformation era.
I found some marvelous images that opened entirely new vistas for me. If all goes well, they will open new vistas for many other human beings.
And the effect of those images will perhaps help some realize that ideas and beliefs are as real as tanks, missiles, and hydrogen bombs.
Here is one of those images: the martyrs of Nagasaki, who were given every chance to renounce their faith in 1597, but refused to do so.
It was hot here, up north. Hot and humid: a reminder for an exile from the tropics that you can never escape your past.
But, though I can’t escape my past — thanks be to God and to my very flawed but very courageous and wise parents — I escaped from Castrogonia, and am now beyond the reach of the demonically-influenced human beings who control it.
I can say what I think, and express what I feel without fear of arrest, imprisonment, torture, or death.
I did that a few days ago, when I wrote an open letter to Google’s head honcho, Eric Schmidt.
I was very upset by what he had to say after his visit to Castrogonia. When someone that smart and that powerful says dumb things about the plight of my native land, I tend to shed my professorial restraint.
On this very nice hot day I received two reprimands for my response to Mr. Schmidt.
Apparently, I have embarrassed some individuals out there by addressing Mr. Schmidt as frankly as I did.
Those two individuals who were offended and embarrassed by my lack of restraint seem not to know that there is a war going on, and that politeness and restraint have as much a place in this war as replacing the rifles of a real army with water balloons.
I am engaged in war. Every Cuban who cares for his or her dignity is engaged in a war. There are no battlefields, save for the streets of Cuban towns and cities, and the homes of those who dare to challenge the Castro dynasty, but it is a war, all the same.
My part in this war is nothing compared to that of those who actually fight it in Castrogonia, and who risk imprisonment, torture, and death.
The worst thing that can happen to me is to receive a finger-wagging response from someone who is equally sheltered from the wrath of the Castro dynasty.
The Castro dynasty is the enemy of human dignity, not just of the Cuban people, and that enemy isn’t nice at all. They have never been nice, and will never be nice. They want to annihilate anyone who resists them, or contradicts them, or puts them in a bad light. Give them enough rope and they will snuff out the dignity of every decent human being on the planet.
Ask Venezuelans how they’re doing, under the control of that dynastic hegemonic power.
So, if you can, imagine dealing with the Nazis gently. Imagine never, ever offending anyone who made the Nazis look even halfway or somewhat good.
Mr. Schmitdt made the Castro dynasty look halfway good through his half-baked observations and comments. And he also gave credence to some of the lies fabricated in Havana.
I don’t like to offend anyone. In fact, I have spent most of my life on earth trying not to offend, and trying to smooth over the offenses caused by others. I pray with St. Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
But St. Francis never managed to avoid offending others. In fact, he offended many, including some of his own followers.
This is because there are wolves among us.
Unfortunately, there are sheep in this world and there are wolves. St. Francis knew this, and he pacified the wolf of Gubbio by getting the locals to feed him. In the process, however, he offended some people.
But the story of St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio is perhaps not the best analogy to the Cuban predicament.
The Castro dynasty, just like the Nazis, will not be pacified by any gestures of good will. They love the taste of blood, and they interpret every sign of good will as weakness, as an offering of the neck to their canine incisors. If the townspeople of Gubbio were to leave food on their doorsteps for the Castro wolf, that beast would devour them as they laid the food on the doorstep. And it would devour the whole town, and all its livestock, and the town down the road, and their livestock, and so on, ad nauseam.
So…. to those I offended, and to those for whom I’ve become an embarrassment: sorry for the collateral damage; I’m fighting a war.
The war is against a wolf much less principled, much less inclined to reason than the wolf of Gubbio.
All I can offer up as an apology is the image of Monte Cassino, destroyed by Allied bombing. It was the birthplace of Western monasticism, but the Nazis got a hold of it, and tricked the Allies into thinking that they had no choice but to reduce it to rubble. Nazi bastards. They didn’t care about Monte Cassino. They didn’t care about monasticism, or people who prefer to dedicate their lives to praying for others. They only cared about staying in control, and about extracting their share of blood from the sheep. If they could have pulled off the same stunt in Assisi, and caused its destruction, the Nazis would have cheerfully done so.
The Nazis were no different from those cretins who have recently hid their weapons and armies behind human shields, or from terrorists who take hostages.
As it did not make any sense to be nice to Nazis, or to anyone who helped their cause, so does it make no sense to be nice to anyone who aids the Castro dynasty through glib, uninformed comments.
Sometimes, the right thing to do is to offend some people, and leave some rubble behind.
Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.