Giving Everything

On May Day, still under the impression of the parade, the colors of our flag, today a symbol in the eyes of the world, and the youthful, intelligent and enthusiastic faces of our students, who closed the parade of that overflowing river, the words of the poet, repeated so many times that day, came to my mind:
“For this freedom one will have to give everything!”

I felt a desire to know more about the life of Fayad Jamís. Barely two hours after that International Workers Day “Reflection” was published, I set myself to read some material. The first that I saw, by chance, was a message from our dear friend Stella Calloni. Through her we learned in detail of the conspiracies, the horrific crimes committed by U.S. governments as the promoters and allies of the bloodiest dictatorships that the peoples of this continent have ever known. But in this concrete case, it was to talk to us about Fayad Jamís, the author of the poem, and to transmit to us her impressions concerning realities that are sometimes bitter, without anything, in spite of that, dampening her enthusiasm.

I pass on here the exact text of the message that I had the honor of receiving that May Day night.

“Dear Comandante:

“I was very moved that you quoted Fayad, whom I knew in Mexico and to whom I was linked in a beautiful friendship and comradeship. He was a friend to all the exiles. An excellent poet, painter and an artist with a great love of his land. At that time he was a cultural attaché. Marvelous in everything that he did. I even wrote him a little poem. But what was beautiful for me is that you have rescued the ‘giving one’s everything,’ because it is so necessary to repeat that today, when we are being invaded by what I call the ‘fatal attraction’ of a neoliberal lack of culture that has prospered to a large degree. The postmodernism of underdevelopment, which has done so much damage and helped to justify so many individualisms, is pathetic.

“The I, I, I before we, that of always seeing how we can beat the other, is something at a total remove from that giving everything. And it has advanced like a pandemic that destroys everything in its path, old friendships and loyalties, roads walked together. To make it more effective, there is also the recourse to the cynicism of mocking those who maintain their principles, their faith in humanity, in human beings, in justice, in dignity.
“Cuba has been an example of giving everything, even to those who were unable to see that as the most revolutionary act of the Revolution – excuse the repetition – which is constant solidarity, like a cloak sheltering others.

“It seems to me that these are the times to recover magic and poetry, because revolutions are made of all of that. If it wasn’t for all of that, tell me how you would have embarked on the Granma, for example. How would Cuba have resisted and defended itself and, at the same time have created culture, education, ballet, everything that was being born in the embers of a genuine Revolution. Even now, when one sees those old documentaries of boys and girls going to the mountains and sierras as part of the literacy campaign, that was and is that giving everything, because they went with that spirit and are going with that spirit .

“I experienced that in the literacy campaigns in Nicaragua, or in Bolivia very recently when, moved to tears, I was there on the day that that country was declared free of illiteracy (and, in this case, also in original languages). Who could do this if they did not have the spirit of giving everything?

“And the examples are so many, but sometimes, as they are not seen as a whole, they are not seen. They are isolated and cold news items. I saw the Cuban doctors in a barrio in Venezuela and a woman, arriving with her children to have them vaccinated, told me, ‘You know, they give their everything here.’ And what to say about the Five? They have given everything in order to protect their country. The rest is trifling, passing, rootless.

“One day I said to you, moreover, that we have to write among all of us the history of solidarity, because on that day we are going to realize that the enemy that appears so great, so immense, is nothing more than an empty shell. Those who know what ‘giving everything’ is, are invincible, because they keep on and keep on giving across time, casting light like the beloved CHE.

“An immense embrace and thank you, because you are still giving everything.

Beautiful words from Stella for those who know the real history of our epoch, which can never be erased with the stroke of a pen!

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 4, 2009
3:17 p.m.