On death and living to fight another day
The Beard [Fidel Castro] withstood invasions, assassination plots and economic blockades
Wednesday, 6am. It’s overcast and cold, but there’s a southwest wind working up a sweat right on the sandbank about 200m out to sea on North Beach. I’m wallowing on my back and looking at the clouds while waiting for the next set, and I’m thinking.
I should be thinking about interviewing the winner of some TV singing contest – my punishment for having a soft diary on Tuesday morning. I blame the ANC for not recalling the Commander in Chief (that’s President Jacob Zuma to you) at the end of the weekend’s national executive committee meeting. That would definitely have meant a trip to Nxamalala to see if Zuma’s turned the pozzie into a B&B yet – and how much he’s gonna charge for a night in the bunker, and whether or not Khulubuse’s cleaned the fire pool in time for the December holiday. Although, given the current mood of his bros inside and outside the ANC, I’d probably get kicked to unconsciousness for my efforts.
I should be thinking about TV singers. I’m not. My mind’s fully occupied by The Beard (that’s El Commandant Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, or just plain Fidel Castro, to you).
Me, I dug The Beard from the first time I heard about him, courtesy of a history teacher called Vic Matthews. Vic reckoned The Beard was a bad cat, not because of the way he rocked blue-and-white Adidas tracksuit tops with his fatigues and a Cohiba Esplendido, but because he was a communist who didn’t believe in white supremacy or apartheid, both of which Vic dug. I was a laaitie, but I’d already had my fill of wit ous in general and Vic in particular, so The Beard was my man.
I understand why the wit ous, here and in the US, hate The Beard so much. I don’t think there’s anybody in history who took white supremacy in its various forms apart at the seams the way The Beard did. The Beard kicked the Mafia out of Cuba, closed the casinos and whorehouses, and started building clinics and schools.
The Beard ran a socialist state on Uncle Sam’s capitalist and imperialist doorstep. The Beard withstood invasions, assassination plots and economic blockades, and still managed to export revolution throughout Latin America and Africa. The Beard destroyed the until then invincible SA Defence Force at Cuito Cuanavale with a black-and-brown army backed by Soviet subhumans, smashing the apartheid regime’s military machine and breaking it psychologically.
The Beard was cool. The Beard is gone. As The Beard himself said: “You can’t stop the march of history.”