Discipline vs. Survival / Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on August 28, 2013
The theme of social indiscipline occupied an important space on the
national television news this morning. Music played too loud, trash
thrown off balconies, graffiti on public walls, the rubble in the middle
of the street, and many more examples from daily life, especially in the
country's capital. We learned that there are "Operations Groups"
dedicated to detecting and punishing such irregularities.
Many of these indisciplines, dare I say most, are the reflection of a
combination of two elements: on the one hand the lack of conditions to
make things as they should be, and on the other the lack of civic
education that leads citizens to behave in an uncivilized way. I have
seen some tourists (obviously foreigners) walk for blocks and blocks
carrying the little paper wrappings from peanuts, while local
pedestrians happily throw them anywhere at all. Neither ever found a bin
to dispose of their trash. And some residents, when they're forced to
solve their problem of access to the sewer, have had no choice but to
cut into the street, thus creating a new pothole in the city.
In fact, one could say that "nothing justifies" the commission of an
indiscipline that affects the community, but the truth is that many of
them have at least one explanation. And, indeed, there is an overarching
general explanation related to this "acimarronada"* conduct of thousands
of Cubans every day, and it is the lack of resources available to
address our problems, coupled with little ability to participate in the
decisions that affect society as a whole.
As always, duties and rights must go together. When the State only seems
interested in citizens fulfilling their duties, it entrenches them in
their rights and they ignore all the rules. Such a situation is a
breeding ground for other excesses, unjustifiable and difficult to explain.
*Translator's note: "Acimarronada" comes from word cimarrones, runaway
slaves. It refers to the way Cubans pretend to do and think one thing,
but in reality are always thinking of fleeing.
27 August 2013
Source: "Discipline vs. Survival / Reinaldo Escobar | Translating Cuba"