None of this surprised me: I already knew that the capitalist system was also sordid and money-hungry. In one of my first statements after leaving Cuba I had declared that the difference between the communist and capitalist systems is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream, And I came here to scream.
When I saw this blind old lady signing her books under a Mango tree, I understood that she represented a greatness and a spirit of rebellion.
Arenas believed that his generation in Cuba was destroyed by the communist regime. Yet the regime in Cuba incited his scream, and others continue to scream after near and utter desolation, in Ireland after the potato famine, in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge, in Europe after the Holocaust, and today in Darfur.
|Learn more about history of violence in Darfur|
The actual limitation on this great writer’s ability to scream—on his freedom to create, to write, to have consensual sexual relations, was the stirring of his passion. Despite the freedom he held living in New York, after escaping another imprisonment and surviving the hardships he suffered in Cuba, and after the physical deterioration from AIDS that stopped him from writing, I believe what ultimately led Arenas to take his own life was the sorrow and grave depression he suffered from his exile and inability to live “and scream” as a free man in his own home land.
I found Before Night Falls, though sad, to be a memorable and inspirational autobiography. I have since seen the film of the same name that tells the story of this great writer's life and I will write about that in a future post.
Thanks for reading. Peace out.