Sunday, July 31, 2016

Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair

Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 28 July 2016 — On numerous occasions I
have had to listen to the stories of friends and colleagues who have
been detained or have been interrogated by the State Security. "These
people are unreal, they know everything. The day I went to see
so-and-so, what I said to what's-his-face, what time, and even that we
had coffee and ate roast pork. They don't miss a thing!"

I imagine that these people feel very impressed, because it is as if
they were sitting with a fortuneteller who "divines" their past, present
and can even predict their future. The difference is that the
fortunetellers, or so they tell us, "have a gift," while State Security
has human and technical methods and a society completely organized to
facilitate their work, such that their gifts are simply their ears and a
crystal ball made of optical fiber.

How are they not going to know the exact locations of the moles on our
bodies, if they can openly and brazenly invade all our privacy?

They don't have to be super-gifted nor pass in some school to "discover"
who we spend time with, what our plans are, what our means are, because
in the vast majority of cases we don't even hide these things. The
reason? It is very simple, we are citizens who study in normal schools,
lead normal lives, we are not trained and don't even want to be in
intelligence or counterintelligence, we speak naturally and openly about
what we think and desire because we are not ashamed.

On the other side, we have something very different, military personnel,
indoctrinated, with studies of all kinds, with specialized equipment,
transportation, a made-to-measure judicial system, subordinated press
and fearful people who offer them what they ask for to avoid becoming
targets of their investigations.

Who could do a bad job with all this? The contrary would amaze me. That
there would be something they don't know.

However, to the extent that you interact with them, you realize that
they have many gaps. For example, there is an important difference
between what the bosses know and what they tell the field agents. There
is the need for State Security to constantly convert the ordinary into
the extraordinary. This is justified because each one of these agents
has to constantly think they are "saving the country" and that "the
people appreciate their heroism and bravery." In the majority of cases,
however, what they are doing is committing a common crime in the name of
authority against natural persons unhappy with a bad government.

In this sense they are very exquisite in their internal language. There
is nothing a seguroso – security agent – likes more than to be called a
"combatant," and it delights them even more when the designation
"anonymous" is added, because this gives them the sensation of being a
spy and makes them think they are smarter. Incidentally, before society
they think they "run great risks…" OK, this is true in part, because on
retirement the majority suffer back pain because they dedicated
themselves to dragging people into patrol cars. Upon reflection, they
should wear supportive belts to protect themselves in these dangerous

Surely, in times past and under other circumstances, there might have
been some who did more serious things against real threats, I don't deny
it. But today. 99% of what these "combatants" "confront" are the natural
rights of a people who want to peacefully change what does not work to
move the country forward and above all to not continue to shipwreck it
in every respect. "Confronting" this is neither brave, nor intelligent
and much less just or admirable.

The work of those who have to protect the state in societies based on
rights and fundamental freedoms is very different; in societies where
the threats are of an extreme magnitude and it is not enough to demand
an ID card so that people or companies "cooperate."

Men and women who risk their lives and dedicate themselves to protecting
their nations against the grave threats our civilization confronts will
always be heroes and heroines worthy of every kind of recognition and
the gratitude of their peoples. But if the terror they impose themselves
in the service of a dictatorship tramples the lives of protestors to
keep themselves in power at all costs, these combatants have made a
mistake in the ethical and moral sense of their careers and their lives.

So they should not confuse their facile abuse with expertise or ability.
Because this latter is an attribute of those who survive and express
themselves, despite them.

Source: Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair / 14ymedio,
Eliecer Avila – Translating Cuba -
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