A Media Execution... Doesn't Seem to Take

I braid my hair. Nothing is being celebrated today, better I should leave it tangled and dull, but I divide it into three strands that intertwine following a certain logic. The liturgy of combing calms my anxiety and in the end my head is orderly, while the world remains unruly. I've lived through a weekend of vertigo and thought that the ritual of untangling the knots and reducing them to a thin braid would manage to calm my nerves, but it didn't work.

On Friday they pronounced my name on the boring Roundtable program, mixed with concepts such as "cyber-terrorism," "cyber-commandos" and "media war." To be mentioned in a negative way in the most official program on television is, for any Cuban, the confirmation of her social death. A public stoning that consists of insults directed at someone who has critical ideas, without allowing her a few minutes of the right to reply. My friends called, alarmed, afraid that my house was already full of those men who dig under mattresses and look behind pictures. I answered the phone, however, with my most jovial tone, "Tell me who denigrates you and I'll tell you who you are," I repeated to those who were worried. If you are insulted by the mediocre, the opportunists, if you are slandered by the employees of the powerful but dying machinery, take it as a compliment... I muttered it like a mantra all night long.

The following day, the reality remains the denial of the official discourse and my neighbors, running after the always evasive rice, haven't had the time nor the inclination to watch such tedious staging on television. What is happening in this reality where the "media executions" don't work any more? A few years ago, government bullets of contempt would have made everyone stay away from my person and my house, but now they sidle up and give me a wink and a thumbs up as a sign of complicity. They have used defamation so much as a method to silence the other, that their incendiary adjectives have ceased to have any effect on a population sick and tired of so many slogans and so few results.

The healing balm arrived the same Saturday. An Argentinian sneaked the trophy of my premio Perfil into the country, and almost in unison a Chilean managed to get the Spanish edition of my book Cuba Libre through customs, wrapped in pink paper.