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General News    H4'ed 8/18/14

Eduardo Galeano, A Lost and Found History of Lives and Dreams (Some Broken)

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I was in China three years after the failure of the Great Leap Forward. No one talked about it. It was a state secret.

I saw Mao paying homage to Mao. In Tiananmen Square, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Mao presided over an immense parade led by an immense statue of Mao. The plaster Mao held his hand high, and the flesh-and-blood Mao answered the greeting. From an ocean of flowers and colored balloons, the crowd cheered both.

Mao was China and China was his shrine. Mao exhorted all to follow the example set by Lei Feng and Lei Feng exhorted all to follow the example set by Mao. Lei Feng, a young Communist apostle of dubious existence, spent his days consoling the sick, helping widows, and giving his food away to orphans. His nights he spent reading the complete works of Mao. When he slept, he dreamed of Mao, his guide for every step. Lei Feng had no girlfriend or boyfriend because he did not waste time on frivolities, and it never occurred to him that life could be contradictory or reality diverse.

Fidel

His enemies say he was an uncrowned king who confused unity with unanimity.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that if Napoleon had a newspaper like Granma, no Frenchman would have learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that he exercised power by talking a lot and listening little, because he was more used to hearing echoes than voices.

And in that his enemies are right.

But some things his enemies do not say: it was not to pose for the history books that he bared his breast to the invaders' bullets,

he faced hurricanes as an equal, hurricane to hurricane,

he survived 637 attempts on his life,

his contagious energy was decisive in making a country out of a colony,

and it was not by Lucifer's curse or God's miracle that the new country managed to outlive 10 U.S. presidents, their napkins spread in their laps, ready to eat it with knife and fork.

And his enemies never mention that Cuba is one rare country that does not compete for the World Doormat Cup.

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Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch (more...)
 

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