Speaking through the character Abdala, José Martí, the auctor intellectualis of the Cuban Revolution,
explains to his mother what he believes to be ‘patriotism’, a word the Bush-administration was very fond of using too. Marti describes it as a kind of love:
‘El amor, madre, a la patria
No es el amor ridículo a la tierra.
Ni a la yerba que pisan nuestras plantas;
Es el odio invencible a quien la oprime,
Es el rencor eterno a quien la ataca;’
Patriotism, then, according to Martí, is a kind of love that is invincible hatred against the oppressor and eternal rancor against whoever should attack the homeland. Fidel Castro and socialists in general use the word ‘solidarity’ to refer to the same kind of emotion, i.e. a unifying hatred against the oppressor (defenders of capitalism) and eternal rancor against anybody who would question the wisdom or practical functioning of socialist ideology. This hatred is strong and gives men courage and sharp insight. We do not underestimate it. Moreover, those overcome by it sincerely believe it is a kind of love.
And in a sense it is.
People like Martí, Bush and Castro are like the apostle Peter, ready to draw their sword. Peter cut off an ear of one of the Roman soldiers. Could this symbolically be the ear of those who do not want to hear? Interesting thought. But back to the story: Jesus told Peter: ‘No!’ and replaced the (deaf) ear, healing the wound. There is a better way, a peaceful way. It takes more time, but will in the end give better results.
Martin Luther King was not ready to draw his sword. He, too, felt the strong emotion of love he referred to as ‘agape’ on many occasions. This Greek word refers specifically to love for the community, the common good, with willingness to die, not to kill, in order to remedy an unjust situation in the community. It is this kind of peace-seeking love (agape) the word ‘Solidarism’, as used by us, refers to. Gandhi championed it, Martin Luther King and Lech Walesa practiced it.
Now, the non-violent approach (agape) can also turn violent, in reverse so to speak. This is the case when the hunger strike is resorted to or when Buddhist monks burn themselves alive. The flaw in these auto-destructive acts is the same kind of fatal error as the violent interpretation of patriotism or solidarity as understood by Martí, Fidel Castro and George Bush. Because this, too, is a kind of violence, i.e. violence against oneself.
Violence is never ‘glorious’, as the Cuban national anthem suggests. We acknowledge that sometimes it is unavoidable, but should always be the very last resort. And strictly only when the circumstances clearly demand it. And when it is resorted to - because there is absolutely no other way out and the injustice is unbearable -, it is done with disgust and regret, certainly not pride. Because, although it may sometimes be justified and therefore forgivable, it is never morally right. It is contrary to Jesus’ example. Now, 50 years after the Cuban Revolution, its heroes are still beating their own drums. Draw your own conclusions.