I am not, of course, equating the two situations. I am talking about a parallel I perceive, in principle, between assumptions Cuban exiles made about how and where they stood and assumptions Jews have made about their standing in the democratic West, and more specifically the US. Both cases, to my mind, involve wishful thinking, not to say delusion, mixed with an element of denial. Sooner or later, such a mix is bound for a rude awakening, which is predictably traumatic or at least deeply disappointing. Alas, reality doesn’t care who does or doesn’t like it.
The fact is things do NOT have to be what they should be, and often aren’t. They do not have to be right, just, fair or decent, not even humane. They do not have to be sensible or rational. The reason is simple: human beings are at best a very mixed bag; many are perverse; and evil is not an abstraction but something very real and powerful. Being in the right, just like being victimized, does not guarantee solidarity or sympathy, not even in words, let alone deeds. People do not have to do right by others–they have their own concerns, and they cannot be made to care about others.
Sure enough, the struggle of Cubans against the totalitarian evil that ruined their country has never been fashionable nor gotten serious foreign support, certainly nothing like that given South Africa to end apartheid. Cubans will never get that, as they didn’t after the 11J protests. It’s not mere indifference, but antagonism to ending the noxious system that goes by “revolution.” And Jews, despite their history (not just the Holocaust) and their right to live in peace, now find that no matter how liberal or “woke” they are, no matter how much they contribute to society, they are still vulnerable and subject to all manner of distortions and perversity, even in the “best” places in the “good” world.
Thus, one should not count on the kindness of strangers but expect it will prove lacking–and when it does, one should not despair but rather stiffen one’s spine and resolve to do what needs doing, insofar as possible, to the best of one’s ability. Crying and begging is not only futile but may be counterproductive. Both Cubans and Jews should re-assess their positions in light of reality as it is, however ugly, and adjust their actions accordingly–both in terms of what they do and don’t do. Again, both Cubans and Jews have made false assumptions. It’s time to face the truth, for real.