January 16, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
María Lourdes, Antonio and his son Sandir are a family and live in Vedado, in Havana. They keep in their memory the memory of a terrible fight against COVID-19. Months ago they received a friend from Malaga, Spain, at a time when no positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 had been reported in that city and through her they were infected.
María Lourdes, 64 years old, is hypertensive, has a slight heart failure and therefore it was feared that the disease in her case would manifest itself in a more aggressive way. However, it was Antonio -without any comorbidity- who experienced more evident symptoms. He stopped eating, had pains all over his body, fever, a lot of dry cough, numerous diarrheas, all of which led him to intensive care and nine days in a coma.
Doctors told his family to prepare for the worst. We share with you his testimony, which is part of the recently completed documentary Parallel Stories, which tells the stories of several people who were sick with COVID-19:
“The anguish, the suffering, the strongest tragedy was for the two of them, who were aware that I was in an extremely critical situation, and my younger children who were in Mexico and were totally desperate, totally unhinged. They made a huge chain of people so that they would have me in their prayers, in their hearts, that also helps.
I did not even know I was in the Naval Hospital, I believed that I was in a therapy room in a totally deserted place that was guarded by soldiers, the things I thought. I in front of me there was a tree that I imagined as a woman with many arms, who danced in front of me as if mocking and I closed my eyes and all those leaves became thousands and thousands of coronaviruses.
When I came to my senses in the midst of the gravity, that I came out of the coma, that they took away the intubation, the first thing I thought about is her (his wife) and that was for me the most critical moment, in which I think she had died. Because of her basic disease and heart problems, I thought I had lost her. She is the mother of my children, but she has been my partner for 46 years, the other half of my life. I cried in silence, I am a strong man, I consider myself an enthusiastic, fighting person, but I thought that I would never see again what sustains my life, because that is it, the wife, the children, the grandchildren fighting together for life. We think about everything, even about getting rid of the most intimate relationships that we can still have at our age, which are limited, but they are there.
I remember that once I was pricked in the groin, on this side, what I did see was that they were continuously giving me all kinds of medication, interferon, antibiotics, I don’t know how many, I’m not exaggerating, I think that every day they were 14, 15 times that they came to give me medication. When I came out of gravity, I had no smell, no palate, I still did not speak, it left me with a lung lesion, I was practically unable to walk for a month, I was able to climb the stairs of this house after a month, skin lesions, I could not sleep, sleep was disturbed.
I am a man of dreams, I had dreams before the pandemic and I still have them, in all aspects of life, the day I don’t have dreams is not worth living and there was a moment, I will tell you honestly, after you put it or not in the interview, when I thought that values had been lost, all of them: moral, spiritual, solidarity, to help your neighbor, to cooperate, to share your bread and your soul, and I have seen how the neighbors have come without you calling them, without you asking them anything, knocking on your door and sometimes without asking them anything they said: I brought you this, I threw away the garbage, I found you the food, what do you want? That spirit. The artisans who made 10 beds for a hospital, the cooperative that left with a food truck for an old people’s home, that spirit of solidarity that was there, that I thought was like baby teeth, that were falling out, because they didn’t have any calcium, and yet it was enough for this situation to happen, unfortunately, for that spirit to come out again with more strength than ever.
I felt as if those nurses, those doctors, the intensive care doctors at the Naval hospital were part of my family. That team of nurses, technicians, doctors, gave me the possibility of living for the second time.
By Yoandry Avila Guerra
January 9, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The Union of Cuban Journalists laments the death, this January 9, of journalist, narrator, literary translator and music critic Germán Piniella. Among other Cuban serial publications, Piniella collaborated with the magazine Casa de las Américas, La Gaceta de Cuba, Bohemia, El Caimán Barbudo and La Jiribilla. He also served as associate editor of the bilingual magazine Progreso Semanal.
Among his works are the book of short stories Otra vez al camino (Editorial Pluma en Ristre, 1971), finalist for the David Award in 1969; Comiendo con Doña Lita (Art and Literature, 2010), a text written with his wife, psychologist Amelia Rodríguez, in which he approaches culinary culture, and the detective novel Un toque de melancolía (Ediciones Unión, 2013). Likewise, with Raúl Rivero, he was the author of Punto de partida (Pluma en Ristre, 1970), an anthology of young narrators and poets from the Island.
With a degree in Journalism from the University of Havana, Piniella also received a Master’s degree in Marketing and Business Management from the Escuela Superior de Estudios de Marketing de Madrid and a Master’s degree in Marketing and Communication from the University of Havana. For his work in the field of advertising, the Cuban Association of Social Communicators awarded him the Premio Espacio for his life’s work.
Upon learning of his death, Rafael Grillo, head of information for the cultural magazine El Caimán Barbudo, wrote in his personal profile on the social network Facebook: “Friend, Germán Piniella Sardiñas, more than goodbye a hasta siempre. To know you, to embrace your affection, even if it is a short term friendship, but very sincere, is unforgettable. Your passion, the enthusiasm to create, the way to face destiny without renouncing the enjoyment of life is a teaching that you leave me.
“And to your dear Amelia Rodriguez, adorable woman, with you and with everyone, I transmit my encouragement and my love. May that novel that you were working on and that I was able to read about, see the light, so that your light may continue. With “a touch of melancholy” we say goodbye to you Juliette Massip I…”
Published: Tuesday 12 January 2021 | 08:41:40 pm
Author: Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
When talking about the Middle Ages and Antiquity in Europe and its nearby territories, it seems that women were always subject to male power, without the right to participate or manipulated in government debates, relegated to the role of feeding themselves, excluded from war, science or other basic functions for the human group to which they belonged.
This is what those who consider the concept of equity as a recent “invention” say, and how they describe matriarchy as a system of male slavery and humiliation.
Recent archaeological findings and new readings of ancient texts from a feminist perspective agree that, although misogyny and patriarchy were widespread in many regions with similar expressions, there were civilizations in which women lived alongside men and played important social roles.
Supposedly barbaric and backward cultures, such as that of the Vikings and the one that inhabited India before the Aryan invasions, left evidence of a respectful and even venerable treatment of women and people of non-binary gender in their beliefs, traditions and social structure.
Preserved manuscripts from those times and legends that have survived orally indicate that in addition to respecting the right of women to decide about their bodies and to choose partners of any caste, an infinite number of tribes and clans validated non-heterosexual practices (common among warriors and priestesses), and ambivalent gender identities, visible in graphic representations of everyday life and of their gods and goddesses, which also abounded.
In the case of the Vikings, the journal Economics and Human Biology published a study that correlates the nutritional health of the Scandinavian population between ten and 15 centuries ago with the social values that intended equity by gender and age.
Biochemical tests confirm, by the quality and development of the bones found in several settlements, that women were free and active, and from birth they ate at the same time as adult men, not at the end.
Many were trained for war, fishing and hunting, led groups and inherited positions and properties. The most revered were the Valkyries: large women who collected dying and dead bodies in battle to help them move, according to their traditions, into the eternal and sacred world they called Valhalla.
Those customs of the Nordic “savages” were a shock for the descendants of the Greco-Latin culture, who built palaces and roads, dominated the arts and agriculture, but in their cultured cities women had no right to study or own property, did not talk to other men and could be given away as servants by their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.
The legislations of the current Nordic countries, heirs to the Viking culture, guarantee effective and palpable justice without gender discrimination, while many states born of the Judeo-Christian forge cling to a patriarchal hierarchy in homes and social spaces that has unleashed many wars and justified discrimination for hundreds of generations.
Other archaeological findings of the mid-twentieth century in well-preserved ancient cities, but hidden by nature, confirmed the respect for women as a source of life in the Indus civilization, without such deference to represent for men an economic or social disadvantage, as told in the book Tantra, the cult of the feminine, which we can provide to our readers by digital means.
That tradition of honoring the Mother as a social being (not only as a producer of labor) disappeared with the caste system imposed after the northern invasions, when girls and women became, along with the cattle, a resource to be exploited by the conquerors to survive in hostile terrain and to adapt genetically to the climate.
Also in pre-Columbian America and the original African societies there were stages and cultures in which women flourished alongside their male counterparts. As in other processes of conquest throughout the world, were the hosts “civilizing” which established the male hierarchy to control the lines of inheritance in the territories razed.
By (re)knowing these versions of common history, humanity is better able to write its present and place dignity as the essential value promoted by the Magna Carta of almost all nations.