Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
George Lamming (1927-2022), the great writer, dean of the narrators and thinkers of the English-speaking Caribbean, has just died on the island of Barbados, his native land. It would seem that the torrential waters of the beginning of June wanted to put an end to his long and immense life experience and, also, to his exceptional literary production, which began with indisputable resonance in 1953, when his classic novel En el castillo de mi piel [In the Castle of My Skin] appeared, translated by María Teresa Ortega and prologued by Emilio Jorge Rodríguez, and splendidly integrated the editorial catalog of Casa de las Américas (1979), in its prestigious collection dedicated to Latin American literature, which included titles by authors such as the Brazilian Guimaraes Rosa, the Jamaican Roger Mais and the Paraguayan Augusto Roa Bastos.
In the years he served as an advisor to the Casa’s Center for Caribbean Studies, I learned from his erudition and his conscience, which went hand in hand. His sense of regional integration went beyond vested, economic or even personal interests. He was a good conversationalist, a spontaneous communicator. I once heard him say: “In the Caribbean, there is always a ship arriving or leaving. And also: “The best economists of our archipelagos are the housewives… that is to say, the humble women; I admire them, I love them because they put their ancestral magic into practice”.
Lamming belonged to a type of intellectual with a high sense of the function of literature and the arts as vehicles of communication and recognition of the plural identity that defines the multicultural character of the region. It was not by chance that he was part of the New World group that defended the right to avant-garde art, although never detached from a morality at the service of a more advanced, more independent and better world. With enormous rigor and a proverbial literary excellence, his stories, his novels, transpire the yearning for freedom and regional integration in a frank struggle against colonial oppression that, in his pages, also acquires a continental vocation that we still need to understand today.
He wrote books that we will never be able to do without again, and although fiction is the key to his literary experience, the truth is that he reflected and compiled a sum of allegories, reasonings and debates on exile that are today a school, a method and, thus, a call to the indomitable being of Caribbean people throughout all the archipelagos. London and Georgetown were put in their rightful place. That is the grace and intellectual restlessness that reigns in The Pleasures of Exile (1960), whose lesson Roberto Fernandez Retamar revered in his also classic essay Caliban (1979).
George Lamming is and will continue to be -like Wilson Harris, Vic Reid, Derek Walcott, among others, including the extraordinary musician popularly known as Mighty Sparrow- a sacred patriarch of our culture, especially when the popular is installed, by its own right, in the impassable place where the most legitimate flags of independence fly forever.
Published: Monday 13 June 2022 | 10:15:15 pm. Updated: Monday 13 June 2022 | 10:54:10 pm.
Lourdes M. Benítez Cereijo | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A recontextualization, markedly intimate and shocking; a sincere experience as moving as questioning in its relevance and sharpness of discourse is the play The Diary of Anne Frank, apnea of time; a proposal masterfully defended by Ludi Teatro, under the direction of Miguel Abreu.
With the end of that season, the group located on I, between 11 and 9, in the capital’s Vedado neighborhood, celebrated in style on June 12 its eight-year trajectory, marked by an intense and excellent work, which shows the maturity achieved in its stage performance.
The play was written by Agniezka Hernández (Harry Potter: The Magic Is Over, El gran disparo del arte, Los Pájaros Negros de 2020), one of the most accurate and remarkable voices in Cuban playwriting today. It was conceived from the theatrical adaptation by Americans Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, premiered in 1955 and based on the book of the same name by the Jewish teenager.
The production was a new success in Miguel Abreu’s work as director and another success in his group’s repertoire, which includes titles such as Ubú sin cuernos, Incendios and El vacío en las palabras. The harmony between music (original by Llilena Barrientos) and dramaturgy, the acting performance of the cast (Arianna Delgado’s deep and passionate work as Mrs. Frank), as well as the excellent costume design (Celia Ledón), all of which served to ratify Ludi Teatro’s line of offering the spectator an impressive experience from a complete show, full in its staging and quality of the aesthetic and sensorial composition.
In several media, Agniezka Hernández stated that the play was born during the times of confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In an interview granted to journalist Mery Delgado and published in the Cubaescena portal, the playwright and director of La franja teatral explained: “On the shoulders of the historical revision of the Holocaust is a pandemic in which I asked myself too many questions. I saw myself with my 13-year-old daughter locked in a house, locking up and saving her beauty for later, and for the first time I understood what it must have meant for Anne Frank to be hidden in “the Secret Annex”. For the first time, I understood the war and saw Anne’s mother, Mrs. Frank, as her daughter put off education, happiness, the desire for outside or beauty (…). There was no story to weave because it had been lived from our windows. The dilation of adolescence was under my roof”.
And with that weight, with those doubts, worries, fears, combined words… With that return to the past to reconfigure the present or rethink the present; with that parallelism between the adolescent Ana and her own daughter, is that a vibrant text was born and also painful in its very personal essence: “The day Anne was born, I put away my mountain climbing boots, I sold the bike, I said goodbye to all my lovers one by one, I told them, the fun is over. With Ana in my arms I learned to say I can’t, that’s dangerous, maybe another day, look, that’s a tremendous risk”. And with each message of the piece, the spectator was also able to immerse himself in the mysteries and anger of his own confinement.
For his part, the experienced Miguel Abreu, in a text written by journalist Wendy Zuferri and published in Cartelera magazine, commented on the play: “What is narrated is really centered on the coexistence of these families in the house in the back, which has been turned into a shelter. We try to create plays that are not local but universal and that address issues such as family, emigration, inheritance or historical memory. Our goal is for these stories to move us to a positivist and humanist reflection of society”.
The piece has a markedly intimate nature.
The theater is always a risk, a collective experience that requires bravery, courage and sincerity. The diary of Anne Frank, apnea of time is proof of this because at every moment it invited us to bare our souls, to expose ourselves.
“Dear diary, I feel we are losing ground,” Anne is heard saying in one of the parliaments of the piece. Perhaps she is right. Although the season of the play has already ended, it leaves us the opportunity to go to a necessary encounter with our being and what surrounds us. Ludi Teatro has marked the way, because there will always be time to talk about Anne Frank.
With this play Ludi Teatro, a collective that celebrated eight years of existence on the 12th of this month, adds another success to its repertoire.
Juana Carrasco Martín | email@example.com
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In Los Angeles, the host city in a few days of the Summit without the Americas, as many have labeled it because of the selective exclusion decreed by President Joseph Biden to three sovereign nations in the region, the price of fuel at a downtown gas station reached more than eight dollars a gallon and prices continued to rise throughout the United States.
Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of crude oil in the European market closed at $117.60, its highest price since March 23, and much had to do with the sanctions imposed on Russian exports due to Washington and NATO’s confrontation with the Kremlin and the war situation in Ukraine.
Crude oil costs account for just over half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the price includes the other components of gasoline, production costs, distribution costs, overhead costs for everyone involved in production, distribution and sales, taxes and California carbon offset fees paid by refineries, City News Service said in releasing the increase that hits Americans’ pocketbooks hard.
The national average price of gasoline rose to a record high of $4.62 dollars, and it is no secret that this increase directly affects the cost of food, and a wide range of goods and services, so it has not been the only product that continues to rise.
The New York Times warned at the beginning of May that “the era of abundant cheap products could be coming to an end”, and went back to the pandemic in search of the causes. This is because, since then, the supply of goods has been severely limited and, consequently, prices have risen, with the aggravating factor that economists warn that this situation could persist, when the COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine affect international trade and inventories are difficult to fill.
Hence, inflation is affecting the global economy, practically without exception, including that of the United States which, moreover, many of whose corporations, in search of higher profits, have taken their industries to foreign territories and now ordinary Americans are paying double the consequences.
This rise in the cost of living is one edge of the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Democrats in the upcoming November elections, though not the only looming threat to that party. Mass shootings must be taken into account. These are much more than a problem of politicians-not public servants since they constitute an ultimatum to American society about its degradation as a nation.
The United States debates, once again and apparently with the same disappointing conclusion, how to reverse the violence that is expressed in the shootings that are leaving a trail of unfortunate deaths and, in just a week, the shootings have skyrocketed.
As of this Saturday, June 4 and so far in 2022, there have been 234 mass shootings in the United States, defined as when four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed. Not a single week has gone by in 2022 without at least four mass shootings, according to Gun Violence Archive records, and at the end of May, they counted 256 people killed and 1010 injured. June began with the same criminal figures.
Saturday, June 4: Centerville, a Texas community is shaken after five members of a Houston-area family were found murdered in the Collins family cabin, a crime described as “unspeakable” that took the lives of three brothers, Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Waylon Collins, 18; their cousin Bryson, 11; and their grandfather Mark Collins, 66.
The killer, Gonzalo Lopez, a member of a Mafia group sentenced to two life sentences for murder in Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder in Webb County, had escaped from prison three weeks earlier. I was unable to find out what weapon was used in the crime.
More of a shock seems to be the emotional status of the U.S. citizenry. On Thursday, June 2, two separate shootings occurred in the Midwest. One in the parking lot of Cornerstone Church in Story County, Iowa, where Jonathan Lee Whitlatch, 33, shot two women in the congregation, Eden Mariah Montang, 22, and Vivian Renee Flores, 21, while a program was in progress inside the church. He then killed himself.
The other occurred in Racine, Wisconsin. Two women were shot at Graceland Cemetery Thursday afternoon during a funeral for a man who was killed by police last month. Residents heard between 20 and 30 gunshots before 2:30 p.m. as loved ones gathered to remember Da’Shontay L. King Sr. a 37-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by police after a foot chase following an attempted traffic stop on May 20, according to the Racine Journal Times. The identity of the attacker, apparently still on the run, was not released.
Gunshots and wails are still heard from the Buffalo supermarket massacres, from Robb’s Elementary School in Uvalde, and from fallen medical personnel at a Tulsa hospital. As America shudders, politicians are shaking in their boots to stand up to gun producers and their blackmailing arm, the National Rifle Association-NRA, or jingle in their pockets.
The President of the United States is waiting for Congress to decide on a proposal that barely promotes raising the age to 21 to legally purchase a gun. Hardly a band-aid for the deadly wounds caused by daily shootings, and possibly not even that will be granted by those who take refuge in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
Shame on Biden’s words in a speech calling for the (unlikely) passage of the scrawny, rickety, flimsy reform: “I respect the culture, tradition and concerns of lawful gun owners,” and as if to cleanse himself, he added: “At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.”
It is very difficult to be with God and the Devil… and the voters, 97 percent of whom are in favor of some kind of limit or control on gun violence in their streets, schools, workplaces and homes, are pushing back.