There are certain elders to whom the carefree attitude of the youngest produce burning and regret. They are those who intuit that those who follow will wash away everything that for them is “holy.” They are right. Nothing is more fearsome than a teenager who wastes his time and threatens to “change everything.” And these are the seniors who, at the first opportunity, throw back in their grandchildren’s faces the diapers washed, the eduction offered, the breakfasts served and and even the medicines bought.
A wave of that rancor came in the dismissive term “jovenzuelo” [youngster] launched by Fidel Castro in his penultimate reflections.* The broadside on “dirty clothes” was motivated because a Cuban (maybe Yuniesky, Yohandry or Yasiel) interviewed by a foreign news agency declared that he didn’t want to talk about socialism. With a determination typical of the young, he earned a virulent reaction from the Head of State himself, who dedicated almost a paragraph to him.
The whole story of the fed-up youngster and the severe “grandpa” reproaching him, transported me to the years of Glasnost and to the magazine “Novelties from Moscow,” where a young man warned the sixty-somethings who were stopping the changes, “You have all the power, we have all the time.” Of course, we have to color that phrase with the knowledge that even for Yuniesky or Yohandry the years pass, and every day they have less time.
I have the hunch that I’ll be a rather punk old lady. I’ll allow the kids of 2050 to make fun of my pictures and of the ugly hairdo that I’ll have had for more than three decades. I’ll let them tear down, one by one, everything that for me now is “untouchable.” I’ll do it gladly and approvingly, because I know that they not only have the time, but that – without their knowledge – they also inherit the power. A huge power that allows them to choose between “waiting or doing something.”
*Translator’s note: “Reflections of Fidel” is a regular feature in Granma, Cuba’s morning newspaper.