One of my favorite plays has to be Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The monologues are many but there is one in particular that has been on my mind for the better part of this entire week. Like most of the monologues in the play they have no title but are recognized by the opening phrase or simply by a phrase. This one in particular is from the second act in the play and it pretty much, in my opinion, encompasses the message of the story: to reduce oneself to what others want or not to.
Last weeks unfortunate events in South Florida not only have proven that CD´s can be effectively destroyed with sledge hammers and that all peoples have the inalienable right to carry black shirts and then to proceed to burn them, it also has shown us that many, many others in that same region of the United States and on other shores have, to put it frankly, common sense.
Unfortunately common sense is the least common of the senses, and those that lack it have done all they can in the summer heat to try to make the lives of one man and his family a never ending mayhem in the hope that they may discredit him enough or frighten him enough to deter him from his goal. Juanes and his family have been tormented to the point of having had to file a formal complaint with the Key Biscayne police department . Threats should be taken lightly when coming from people who cant see beyond their own anger and don't realize that even those who would normally be against anything happening in Cuba, -- when I say "anything" I refer specifically to any kind of rapprochement between the US and Cuba -- are in favor of this music concert. But when these threats are directed at a pregnant wife and threaten the life of an artist and what could be considered far worse is that these threats have been given in bad metaphors misquoting Voltaire, well then things are really getting out of hand.
Juanes of course has the right to cancel his concert; he has the right to retreat. But I think now, he is aware that he has a following much greater than the one he had when he started on this peaceful journey and his responsibility as an artist has grown much more. He now enjoys the solidarity of artists from all over and has the support of hundreds of Cuban fans inside and outside the island from the left, from the right and from the center. His cause has now truly become one of peace. Not a white or a red or a blue peace but a rainbow of peace. Because as Cyrano says "On principal. There are things in this world a man does well to carry to extremes."
So, to Juanes and to all those who might still doubt his intentions I send this abbreviated, not misquoted, part of my favorite monologue in Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac .
Calculate, scheme, be afraid,
Prefer a visit than a poem; seek instruction, favors, influences? --
No thank you. No, I thank you!
And again I thank you! - ... but
To sing, to laugh, to dream to walk in my own way and be alone,
Free, with an eye to see things as they are,
A voice that means manhood -- to cock my hat where I choose,
At a word, a Yes a No,
To fight -- or write. To travel any road under the sun
...not stand high it may be, - but alone!