On the morning of August 13, 2001, I turned on the radio very early. In a pompous voice an announcer intoned, “Today is the Fatherland’s birthday,” and then proceeded to read an interminable panegyric on the Maximum Leader. Lying in bed I had the impulse to catapult myself to another galaxy, to escape from this Island where the anniversary of a birth has become the founding date. That day I made the decision to emigrate from my country and eleven months later I boarded a plane destined for Europe.
It has been seven years since that outburst. I have left and returned but I continue to hear phrases similar to what was said on that day. I notice the same attempts to associate the questionable actions of a man with something more enduring: the Nation. What has changed is that this ridiculous cult of personality no longer makes me want to escape, instead I want to stay; it doesn’t confuse me, it makes me see more clearly what we must not tolerate. In the future, no person should be confused with the Fatherland. No birthday candles on any cake should be blown out in the name of us all.