Elian's tragedy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Thu Jan 27 12:06:09 MST 2000



January 2000

Elian's Tragedy and the Traiterous Behavior of El Duke

By Dr. Alberto Jones <albertojones at afrocubaweb.com>

During the summer of 1966, as a student in Germany, I went
through my life most revolting experience, when I visited
Buchenwald, one of Nazi Germany best known concentration
camp. Without ever being there, seeing the ovens, the human
skin lamp shades, the films, it would not be possible to
fully capture the bestiality in many of us.

But most difficult to understand was that this extermination
complex was located a few miles from Weimer, the highly
educated, cultural center of Germany, where the cream
of that society, took part regularly in music or arts
festivals, pretending nothing was wrong or intentionally
remaining silent, sanctifying such heinous deed.

Millions of people paid the ultimate price, because of our
complacency, lack of courage or complicity. Sixty years
after, it appears we have learned very little from this
tragedy or as it was then, we are too busy, too selfish
to care about the suffering of others.

The tragic events surrounding 6 year old Elian Gonzalez,
who was found Thanksgiving day clinging to an inner tube
off the shores of south Florida after the drowning death
of his mother and 9 others involved in an ill fated, alien
smuggling attempt, have shocked the conscience of millions
of people around the world.

This child, who may have suffered permanent psychological
trauma and more physical pain than most of us in our
lifetime, continue to be forcibly retained in a foreign
environment, surrounded by people he has never seen before,
turned into a celebrity and plunged into a media frenzy by
the heartless, vengeful, ultra-right-wing Cuban American
pseudo-politicians in Miami and New Jersey.

In order to explain their absurd position, they are
presenting the most bizarre, baseless arguments; as they
perceive the well being of the child in direct relation with
the availability of Nintendo, Tommy's or McDonalds, creating
an artificial "Dream World" around him, which incidentally,
does not apply to hundreds of other Cubans, Haitians, Afro
Americans or poor Anglo children in Miami and every other
city in this country.

But what makes this action more despicable, is that they
are knowingly, systematically applying against this innocent
child, well established and universally accepted theories of
"Conditioned Reflexes", which was demonstrated many years
ago by Pavlov and others.

By showering this child with an ample variety of foods,
garments, toys, Disney World etc., they are imprinting in
his young brain a world he will no longer have, as soon as
he is returned to his father, creating a vacuum that will be
replaced by withdrawal, anxiety, depression, or a socially
unfit time bomb, capable of going off any time.

Having been in this world for much longer than I would like
to accept, I have experienced first hand, the brutality,
cruelty, visciousness that humans are capable of exhibiting.
But for the most time, we expect to see these subhuman
behavior associated with civil unrest or other types of
deranged environment, that may explain in part, such actions.

But to do that in cold blood to a fragile, timid, scarred
child, is beyond all humanoid classification of these
barbarian disguised as teachers, mothers, politicians,
pediatricians, psychologists, sociologists and even clergy!

As an Afro Cuban, I am deeply troubled by the casual
reporting or limited coverage of this horrendous human
experience in the Black media. With few exceptions,
prominent leaders with the moral standing capable of
expressing their disgust, have been conspicuously silent.

But above and beyond the morality of this issue, no other
racial/ethnic group in the world, should be more sensitive
to any perception of forcefully restraining and separating
family members, base upon our own tragic experience, in
which, family members were separated and dispersed
throughout this hemisphere.

It must be emphasized also, that what is being done to this
defenseless child by the Cuban American community in Miami,
is nothing more than a rehash of what they did to the native
community in Latin America as of 1492, to the African slaves
as of 1512, to the Afro Cuban community until 1959 in Cuba
and to the Afro American community in South Florida since
1960, which they have effectively decimated.

But if all of the above is nauseating, repugnant; the
spectacle of watching the Three Kings Parade in Miami,
in which, New York Yankee Afro Cuban Pitcher "El Duke"
Hernandez was the Grand Marshall of this event, is probably,
the greatest offense in my lifetime, to every person of
African ancestry.

This individual, through his irresponsible action, has
tried to obscure or ignore the horrendous racism, ignorance,
poverty, hunger and the deaths of thousands of children
through preventible causes inflicted on our people by these
criminals when they owned the lives and property in Cuba.

This traitor cannot deny that if he did not feel it himself,
he never heard from his parents, neighbors, how it was and
what these people did to us.

These Miami, Cuban-Americans, rightfully driven out of
Cuba FOREVER, were the enforcers and perpetrators of our
29% illiteracy rate, 24% infant mortality, segregated
neighborhoods, beaches, clubs. Forced us to live in huts
without electricity, running water, sewer, no jobs, and
openly prohibited us to work in department stores, banks,
office settings or even drive a provincial bus.

These are the same individuals that forced Nat King Cole,
Josephine Baker and other luminaries, to use the kitchen
door in order to enter the night club where they were to
perform. These are the same individuals that bragged that
their puppet President Batista, was denied entry in the
Havana Yatch Club.

These are the same individuals, that when beaches and clubs
were integrated in Cuba in 1960, they UNANIMOUSLY refused to
enter to these places and renamed them SOLOVANNICHE. Later,
we were able to unscramble this as SOLO VAN NICHE or ONLY

But what makes more blatant, offensive and painful the
irresponsible behavior of "El Duque" is the extensive
and proud history of Black Cubans, who since the Ladder
Conspiracy against slavery have crafted one of the most
dignified, honorable and heroic history in this hemisphere.

No Afro Cuban can ever forgive the affront to the memory
of Antonio Maceo, Guillermon Moncada or Quintin Banderas.
Mariana Grajales, the Black mother of the Cuban Nation,
who gave the lives of 9 members of her family in the war
of independence, may have cried for the first time in her
life, to know, that such a THING, could be one of us!

But his indignity has no parallel. Made drunk by the few
millions paid to him by his team owners, he feels compelled
to be on his knees, to accept his self inflicted inferiority,
to forgive and forget our history.

Jesus Menendez, the sugar industry union leader, with
approximately the same or less level of education than this
other Personality, but with an absolute sense of dignity,
self respect and love for his nation, was called to the
White House, -- not for the 6 million that is paid to "El
Duque" -- he was handed a blank, signed, Federal Check for
him to fill out and stop the strike in Cuba. He refused the
check, returned to Cuba and under orders "from above" was
shot as he detrained in the station in Mazanillo.

Jesus Menendez is another of the endless list of Afro Cubans
heros who Cubans respect, admire and imitates on a daily
basis. "El Duque" will be remembered by the Cubans for
opposite reasons!

I am forced to admit, that the actions of "El Duque" Hernandez,
have created in me the same revolting experience as the one I
experienced in Buchenwald 35 years ago and never thought I
would ever have to relive!

Dr. Alberto Jones is a member of the West Indian Welfare
Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba who now resides in
northern Florida. He is an activist with strong communal
ties to his homeland, Cuba, and is the director of the
Caribbean American Children's Foundation as well as a
director of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund.

Copyright (c) 2000 AfroCubaWeb.


Box 1054
Arlington, MA 02474
main at afrocubaweb.com

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Louis Proyect

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