The Counterpunch article of Alexander Cockburn of September 17, 2010, “Autumn of the Driveller“ (http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09172010.html ), on Fidel Castro, is not only arrogant and one-sided, it lacks theoretical grounding and clarity. So far, no critical articles have been posted on Counterpunch in reaction to this provocation. .
There is no need here to mention the far-reaching accomplishments of the leader of the Cuban revolution which have not only benefited and radically changed the lives of the Cuban population, but also those of millions of people throughout the Third World -frequently in the most difficult and dangerous areas- where thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers have worked selflessly for decades. He continues to be revered in Cuba as well as throughout the world. No other living political leader deserves such respect and reverence.
Castro is 84 years old and he has just stepped into the public political and intellectual life after a long and very serious illness, during which he continued his pursuit of justice, peace, and freedom from imperialism, through studies and writings. His reflections have addressed some of the major issues and problems that mankind is currently facing. By and large, these have been on the mark and have accurately identified their causes and possible solutions. It is indeed very courageous and generous of Castro to continue to benefit mankind with his profound revolutionary wisdom and practical experience that he acquired in face of having to deal with incredible odds and dangers, constantly created and thrown at him and Cuba by the most powerful imperialist country in the history of this planet. It is no exaggeration to state that his own survival-as well as the survival of Cuban socialist revolution-under constant conspiracies, plots, and attacks of US imperialism, for five long decades, have been nothing short of a miracle.
Cockburn picks out Castro’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, his opinion about the importance of the Bilderbergs that he developed from Daniel Estulin’s ‘The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club”, his assessment of the role of rock music and Beatles in diversion of the energies from serious revolutionary thought and his doubts about the US government’s version of the “facts” on 9/11.
Castro was obviously misinterpreted and misrepresented by Goldberg in the interview and Castro himself explained that in an article, “Fidel’s message at the launch of La contraofensiva estratégica”, in the Granma International, after the interview. Web link: http://www.granma.cu/ingles/cuba-i/13septiembre-37f-mensaj.html .
There is no reason to doubt his explanation. As far as the secretive Bilderberg Club is concerned, Castro may have exaggerated its importance but it is certainly one of the major power houses of imperialism, along with the Trilateral Commission. In addition to Daniel Estulin, various British and American writers and others, have also arrived at similar conclusions about the Bilderbergs.
In regards to rock music, many writers, e.g. Allan Bloom in his “Closing of the American Mind”, have pointed out its subtle impacts and “hedonistic effects” on hordes of young people, who were cleverly and methodically trapped by rock stars and music companies. Media, politicians, writers and others all jumped on the bandwagon and played their role in the production and elevation of the rock culture. This was, and continues to be, a major diversionary force in the capitalist-imperialist cultures, sapping the energies of countless young people into vulgar hedonism, and away from the development of higher forms of human nature and culture. It is to the credit of Castro to have identified and expressed his views on this major problem in the imperialist culture.
Cockburn ridicules Castro regarding his doubts about the US government’s official version of 9/11. There are numerous US and international scientists, engineers, and writers who have raised very important questions about the validity of the government’s version. David Ray Griffin’s article, “Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really Believe in Miracles?”, contains extensive factual information and analyses in this regard (Web link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20039).
Cockburn is supposedly a leading leftist writer in the US. Why then is he waging a hate campaign against Fidel Castro, who had succeeded in the establishment, preservation, and development of the only socialist revolution in this part of the world, within a short distance of the centre of imperialism?
It is totally understandable that a small and poor country like Cuba is experiencing extreme difficulties and problems in this most perverse moment of history. Despite the embargo and US sabotage it has maintained free healthcare, free education, housing for the entire population-free or at minimal costs-, a ration system to guarantee the supply of essential food items to all its citizens etc.
Before the collapse of the Soviet block, Cuba had developed extensive trade and other relations with those countries and its economy was able to maintain full employment. Even after that, the unemployment was kept to a minimum, never exceeding 3 percent. According to some current figures, it now stands at 1.7 percent.
However, all the unemployed still have the basic and substantial human rights mentioned above. The recent news about the transfer of 500,000 state employees to non-state sector is now being manipulated by the media to the maximum, even though the full details are still unknown. Instead of understanding, empathizing, and identifying the difficulties facing the Cuban revolution, sectors of the American “Left” including Cockburn, have started ridiculing and insulting its leader.
The fact of the matter is that these “leftists” have not been able to do anything practical and effective against capitalism, imperialism and injustice in their own society or anywhere else. All they do is unleash torrents of abstract and empty words that leave everything as it is.
Dr. Fazal Rahman is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer. He has worked as a scientist and administrator of R & D programs in several countries, like Brazil, Lebanon, Pakistan, Zambia, US etc. He can be reached at [email protected]