When Repression Knocks at Your Door
A little more than ten days ago, violent repression was for many Cubans an alien experience, a story told by others that they doubted when narrated by government opponents or independent journalists. So it seemed until July 11th when some confirmed, firsthand, that the arbitrary arrests, the beatings, the strip searches and humiliations in police stations, and the silence on the part of the authorities regarding the whereabouts of a detainee, were not the fantasies or hoaxes of a few.
Many of those who previously doubted and questioned the victims, saying that they made everything up and that something like this could not happen on this island, now have a son or a niece locked up awaiting a summary judgment just for going out on the streets asking for “libertad!” or trying to record the popular revolts with their cell phone camera. The testimonies are coming to light, including excesses, outrages, lengthy interrogations, overcrowding in the cells and threats, many threats.
None of this is news for the part of the Cuban population that has spent decades denouncing such events. But, sometimes, you have to feel it to believe, experience it in your own flesh to empathize with another victim, or stick your finger in the wound to convince yourself it exists.
Personally, it is not worth it to me now to return skepticism with skepticism, deafness with deafness, sarcasm with sarcasm. It is time to lend a hand and support the new victims of direct repression, regardless of whether they once doubted the horrors experienced by others.
Count on me to shout for the liberation of your children. I don’t care if you mocked me or didn’t believe it when I was kidnapped and beaten in November 2009;* I don’t care if you lent yourself to watching my little boy on his way to school and yelling at him that his mother was a “mercenary”; I don’t care if you reported on people visiting me and laughed when I spent long hours in a jail cell. It doesn’t matter if you joined in the execution of my reputation and the attempt to kill me socially.
For me, it doesn’t matter that you have defamed me without knowing me, attacked me without arguments, or raised a fist in an act of repudiation against me or my loved ones. I am on your side for the release of that family member you love. I do believe you.
See also Blame the Victim