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Day twenty-six

November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro died yesterday. Like him or loathe him, you cannot deny that this leader of a small Caribbean island was a giant of the twentieth century. Castro’s first instinct had been to reach out to his superpower nature. He was roundly rebuffed by Eisenhower. He went on to outlast nine US Presidents, all sworn to overthrow him. (What a different balance there would have been if Eisenhower hadn’t been so hostile. It wasn’t as if the US didn’t already have long standing relationships with strongmen who didn’t hold elections in their countries. That was just fine, as long as they weren’t Commies.)

Announcing his death last night, one newscast described him as the world’s longest serving dictator. Really? The word jarred with me. Not that it didn’t apply to Castro. What jarred was the fact that you never hear Putin freely referred to as the dictator leader of Russia nor is the term applied to any of the Chinese leaders of recent decades nor is it applied to the likes of Robert Mugabe. Sham elections do not a democratically-elected leader make.

Despite losing the patronage of the Soviet Union, Cuba continued to provide citizens with world class education, to train more doctors per capita than any other country and to provide the best health care. (Back in the 1990s, when he had a television show, Michael Moore did an investigation of the health care provided in Canada, the US and Cuba. When the program aired, Canada came out on top, Cuba second and the US third. Some years later, when I heard Moore speaking in London he told the audience about a change he was forced to make. In the original analysis, Cuba, with its strong focus on preventative care, came first, but when network executives saw the show they baulked. They didn’t care if the US came last. Everyone knew the health care offered in America was terrible. But Cuba could not come first. And so the segment was reshot.)

I have no problem with Cuba having a Communist government. I do not think it was a bad thing that Fidel Castro undertook the overthrow of a corrupt government, owned and operated by the American mob. I do have a problem with his homophobia, with the fact that gay men were imprisoned and routinely tortured under his rule. Yet somehow that never tops the mainstream media’s list of Castro’s supposed crimes. I’d like to get past that to say “Rest in peace, you wily old fox”, but I can’t.

We turn now from world news to local news.

I would like to report that the opening night of the panto was a triumph, but that would not, strictly speaking, be true. Oh, the audience loved the show. They were effusive in their praise afterwards. It’s just that the audience barely filled half the seats. I’ll be honest. I was personally affronted. I’ve put on great shows for the past two years. People should have been queuing around the block to get in. Where the fuck were they, the ungrateful bastards?

Oh, well. As I kept saying last night as the hall failed to fill up, que sera sera.

You know when you feel really lonely? When you have something to celebrate and you come home to an empty house. Oh, sure, the cats are there, but they don’t understand that the show you directed or appeared in was an absolute bloody triumph. They don’t give you a big, congratulatory hug. Those hugs are for other people – the ones who have someone waiting for them at home. That’s when you feel really alone. Not looking for sympathy. Just stating a fact.

Fortunately, I knew this was coming, so I made a plan. As difficult as it was to wait (and it was difficult), I did wait. Thus, even though it wasn’t the triumph I hoped it would be, I was able to celebrate the opening night of the panto by getting into bed with Rebus and a glass of bubbly. Some men let you down, but never Rebus.

That’s it for today. I have a wrap party chocolate cake to glaze and not all that long before I have to leave for the first of today’s two performances.

From → Black dog diary

One Comment
  1. Caroline permalink

    Your moments of introspections are welcome and worthwhile. I’m sending this awkward little note – just to let you know that I am reading them.

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