The Study of Tolerance

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Some years ago I had a verbal tic that I interspersed between sentences. A repeated, “You know what I mean?” capable of annoying even my most understanding friends. I said it at the least appropriate times and one day someone gave me a lesson, “Why do you think I don’t understand you? Isn’t it you who doesn’t know how to explain?” Language has this ability to undress us and leave us open; words reveal what we hide under a veneer of good cheer. Social networks in particular have become a gateway through which we travel in our undergarments before the scrutiny of readers, friends and a vast legion of critics. Each monosyllable we write for these conglomerates of opinion give us away and strip us bare.

I remember when I started with Twitter my voice was more awkward, less familiar with the plurality that a space like this harbors. Since August 2008, when I opened my account on this microblogging service, every slice of 140 characters published has made me a more tolerant and respectful person. Hence my surprise when Mariela Castro responded to the question I posed in a tweet: When will we Cubans come out of the other closets?

The personal attack with which she responded stunned me. I did not expect a hand extended in dialog, certainly, but neither did I expect arrogance. It’s true that I need to study, as she suggested, and I will do so and continue to do so until my eyes can no longer distinguish the lines in my books and my rheumatic fingers can no find the keys on the keyboard. However, I have learned that to evade a question by attacking the other’s lack of education borders on arrogance. Faced with such a reaction, what kind of onslaught would a peasant who barely finished sixth grade receive, were he to address the director of the National Center of Sex Education?

I believe, however, that in the manner of that silly catchphrase I once had, verbal attack is a habit that can be cured. The voice can be trained, tolerance acquired, the ear opened to listening to others. Twitter is a magnificent therapy to achieve this. I suppose that as the days pass and as Mariela Castro continues to publish, she will come to better understand the norms of democratic dialog, without hierarchies, where no one tries to give lessons to anyone. When this time comes, I hope we can converse, have a coffee, “study” together — why not? — the long and difficult road that lies ahead for us.


63 thoughts on “The Study of Tolerance

  1. Still laughing at the title “The study of tolerance”.

    It is pure hypocrisy to talk about the tolerance when one’s own actions speak clearly and loudly about the opposite.

    Pity Belgium is about to fall apart and disintegrate as a country that never was anyway. Such a hypocrisy deserves another $50 000 award for promotion of “democracy”, payable in worthless us dollars, awarded by a “royal” family that is by default the opposite of democracy!!!

  2. Damierda said: “Copying and pasting in itself is an activity that demonstrates the level of the hole in one’s skull.”


  3. Copying and pasting in itself is an activity that demonstrates the level of the hole in one’s skull.

    But to then go to huffington post or to reuters, or cnn, for “information” is even worse.

    It is akin to justifying nazists with quotes from mein kampf.

    And telling that the argument is perfectly valid…

  4. The implementation of the controversial law Pre-criminal danger to society, replaced a not less controversial measure, put into practice during the first years of the revolution: the internment in concentration camps called Military Units to Aid Production. “There were send all those that the regime considered alien to the new man it sought to create, from hippies to homosexuals,” says Cerceller. Currently, the prison of San José de Las Lajas, where the inmates with AIDS remain, is the closes thing to those camps, said who a few weeks ago paid a visited to the prison, assures that there are about 700 arrested persons “for the simple fact of being homosexual.” Their imprisonments take place based on the law of pre-criminal dangerousness, which according to its own text, include “therapeutic,” “re-education” and “vigilant” measures by the “organs of the National Revolutionary Police.”


    BBC NEWS VIDEO: Cuba liberalises barber shops -Liliet Heredero -16 November 2011- A law in Cuba allowing small barber shops to be effectively privatised will come into effect on 1 December. The decision follows an experimental period of 20 months that enabled barbers to lease their premises – with no more than three seats – from the state and work independently. It is one of many reforms the government has been rolling out to liberalise the island’s Soviet-style economy while maintaining the communist system.


  6. the government can not run the country with out the facts the people are the facts euro spring spain r.i.p. greece r.i.p. italy r.i.p.

  7. the government can not run the country with out the facts the people are the facts euro spring spain r.i.p. greece r.i.p. italy r.i.p.

  8. Pre-criminal danger to society is a legal charge under Cuban law which allows the authorities to detain people whom they think they are likely to commit crimes in the future. Under Cuba’s penal code, the charge covers behaviors contrary “to the standards of communist morality.” The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. By using this law the regime imprisons people without justification. Many LGBT people through the years have been jailed under those charges.

  9. FROM THEIR LIPS TO GOD’S EARS!! (May the prediction or wish you are making come true. Used to express appreciation for someone’s hope that matters will turn out well. Also in the form ‘from your mouth.’)

    FOX NEWS LATINO: Church says real reform in Cuba must start with Communist Party-November 15, 2011

    Havana – The Catholic magazine Espacio Laical considers that any reform in Cuba that seeks to be truly significant must start with the ruling Communist Party, which it asked not to lose the chance at its next national conference to create “substantial changes.”

    “In Cuba, any reform aspiring to be significant has to include political innovation, and that will not happen if it doesn’t start with the PCC (as the party is known), the organization called to lead the way with the changes all of us must carry out,” Espacio Laical says in an editorial appearing in this week’s edition.

    The magazine warns that no reform can be successful “without a political force doing the work of building consensus based on the country as it really is.”

    “We urge the First National Conference of the PCC, in this final phase of the so-called historic generation that will outline substantial changes and call on the people to make them a reality, not to waste this opportunity,” Espacio Laical said.

    On Jan. 28 the PCC will hold its First National Conference to review the organization’s work and in which changes and guidelines are expected for an eventual transfer of power to a new generation, as President Raul Castro requested at April’s party congress.

    At that meeting, Cuba’s only legal party approved the plan of economic reforms promoted by Raul Castro, who was also elected as PCC first secretary to replace his brother Fidel, who left office in 2006 because of illness.

    The PCC recently released the basic document for the upcoming First National Conference, which includes, among other items, the proposal that Gen. Castro made in April to gradually replace officials and limit the terms of political and state offices to a maximum of 10 years.

    But the Espacio Laical editorial criticizes the document for making no mention of “countless subjects people were hoping for” and presents a party “sticking to dogmas that have already failed and clinging to a very vertical relationship with society.”

    The magazine, a publication of the Laity Council of the Archdiocese of Havana, says that “in Cuba we need important economic, social, political, spiritual and even symbolic changes,” and that the most important thing is “the reestablishment of citizenship.”

    “It is essential that all Cubans can – and want to – take part in promoting ideas for national change in open debate, as well as in approving those ideas for which a consensus is reached, and in the execution of policies aimed at enacting them,” the editorial says.

  10. YOUTUBE : CUBA Nov, 4 in Placetas, province of Villa Clara- Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antunez”- The wife of dissident Antunes is not allowed to leave her home by a political police agent with communication device to alert the patrol cars. Antunez asks to explain to the world, why his also dissident wife Iris is not allowed to leave? Are you afraid to speak? Why if she is a “free citizen” she cannot leave her home? Who is giving that order, you? What are you defending? You cant tell me! Aren’t you ashamed to be used like that, violating the human right of freedom of travel? In Spanish, but you all need to really learn some Spanish to understand all the Cuban issues!

    Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez, born 10 October 1964, Placetas, Cuba) is a human right and democracy activist in Cuba.[2][3]

    Antúnez was jailed for 17 years from 1990 to 2007. Other dissidents have referred to Antúnez as Cuba’s Nelson Mandela.[4]

    During a demonstration in March 1990 State Security heard him saying that communism is an error and a dystopia. Saying that was a crime and he was sentenced to five years in prison. In prison, he refused to wear the uniform and participate in “communist re-education”, which meant a violent beating, nine months in solitary confinement and more years in prison.[5] He escaped from prison to see his sick mother, but could not find her and was free only for a day. His mother died a month later. He was found guilty of “attempted sabotage”.[5] One of the charges was failure to respect the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.[3]

    Antúnez continued nonviolent resistance in prison, where he gave birth to a political prisoner group named after Pedro Luis Boitel, an imprisoned dissident who died in a hunger strike in 1972.[4] His courage received worldwide attention. Pope John Paul II, when visiting Cuba in 1998, asked the regime to release him.[3]

    Antúnez was released in 2007, ahead of talks on European Union sanctions, after being imprisoned for 17 years and 34 days.[3]

    Antúnez, his wife Iris, and Diosiris Santana Pérez launched a hunger strike in 2009. Several leaders from Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Argentina declared their support for Antúnez.[6][7] Police threatened Antúnez with eviction from his house and “disobedience” charges for hosting three other dissident thinkers (Osiris Santana Pérez, Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena and Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez) in his home in April 2009.[8]

    Antúnez’s wife founded the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights.

  11. Joe Jericho, the author of that offensive post was none other than Damir, this blog’s resident “holier-than-thou” troll. He regularly posts effusive, banal rants that everyone else laughs at. He views all non-Marxists as scum, and actually posted here recently that the United States should be nuked off the face of the earth. He thinks that he knows absolutely everything there is to know on the subject of Cuba because he “vacations” there, although he lives in Europe. He constantly calls the rest of us “losers, nazist pigs, sewerages of Miami, white-God as* lickers,” well, you get the picture. He incessantly repeats the same old, same old.

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why he would even bother to read this blog, except to spew his hatred against Yoani, Cuban dissidents in general, and the rest of us, who he claims have no right to an opinion on Cuba.

    Here’s a good one: Yoani had posted on this blog recently that she was in Cienfuegos, a town of about 150,000 people. Damir immediately posted that he was in Cienfuegos, and that Yoani is a LIAR because he did not see her there. Major LOL!!!

    He has a diabolical hatred of capitalism, the United States, and all of us posters on this blog. I’m not surprised at all of his use of the N word. He is the comic relief for this blog, the clown. And the picture of Yoani’s short fingernails creep him out, really, he actually said that. LOL.

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