Friday, February 5, 2010

Citizen Felony.

I still remember the day we got our Canadian citizenship, a very cold afternoon in 2003. It brings me memories of my little boy asking me questions in his new language about the ceremony we were having that day. I explained him thoughtfully its meaning and why we were there. Suddenly, he tossed his eyes and begged me embarrassed that he didn’t want to be “a citizen”.Citizen Felony

Intrigued I asked him why, and his answer let me completely stunned: Because the citizens are in trouble with the police. His little memories of Cuba came back as a flashback overwhelming him.

50 years of Communism resulted in the total abolition of the sociological meaning of citizen. Back there, we were comrades. If you go to any store, establishment or government office people call you as comrade never as a citizen. In political meetings, TV shows and public speeches the word is repeated with the routinely indifference that its use for years grasped our customs. Doctors, artists, politicians and ruler in chief point to you as a comrade, which is the part of your inner-citizen survived after the long journey through Socialism.

The other part, the one my son was bringing to me that cold afternoon in City Hall, Toronto, is the dark side, the rest of your inner-citizen left to the estate’s oppressive machinery when you fall in trouble in any way through your life.

Just in from of the Police, and the authorities the old concept of citizen came back and you feel naked, unarmed and completely helpless. Cuban authorities had stripped off its moral values alienating its use when the borders of legality and marginality are fencing you against the repressive institutions.

As result, in Cuba you are citizen only in front of the police, when you are a dissident and the official Cuba nicknamed you as counter-revolutionary, or even when you are in the law-enforcement surroundings anyhow. Citizen became a dissident word in the official language of the system.

The overall scope of the word and its trembling meanings had been spread out throughout our society so far away, that even my little boy grasped its nuances at such an age. The system stamped the civilian concept of citizen as counter-revolutionary, dissident and enemy. Our society confused partisanship with citizenship, as result we are only citizens in front of the law with the stamp of outsiders, frontal opponents of Socialism.

When the citizenship ceremony finished, and we came back home that cold afternoon of 2003, my little son brought home a new meaning, a new happy word incorporated to his new language. He didn’t have to fear anymore the sound of citizen as a felony, or something in the surroundings of illegality and conspiracy. He incorporated to his new inner-self a concept lost in Cuba for more than 50 years, and banned as a dissident word from the official dictionaries of that tyranny.

He is today a citizen of the world.