Celia in Silhouette

entry picture

 

You won't see Celia in silhouette on rebel chests,

marching over coffee cups,

diminished to an image on a tiny little badge,

on a backpack, khaki cap or six foot flag.

 

And you won't see Celia on key rings,

magnets, belt buckles, armbands,

black berets, red berets, playing cards or calendars,

bumper stickers, kitchen clocks,

acrylic blocks or lithographs,

writing pads, Zippo lighters,                                      

Russell Brand merchandise.

 

Why?

 

Did she live too long?

Was she lacking in charisma?

Was her silhouette not up to the mark?

She didn't get caught so she didn't die young

so she didn't get deified either.

 

Why is she a footnote?

Why does no one know of her

meticulous creation of militia men and women;

the training camps, the telephones,

the scouting out of landing points for Castro and his 26-7?

 

A creative insurrectionist

is missing from the narrative;

disappeared from history;

invisible, erased.

Maybe she's not cool enough for counterculture kids.

Perhaps they need to buy their own dissent.

 

Icon, icon, any old icon.

Commodified rebellion.

Tenner for a tee.

 

 

 

◄ Happy Valentine's!

Butterfly ►

Comments

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Laura Taylor

Thu 15th Mar 2018 09:46

Hey again Hannah!

I would 100% recommend you read the Nancy Stout book. If you're struggling for funds, I could always post my copy to you 😃

It's quite amazing how much she contributed, and yet we know next to nothing about her.

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Hannah Collins

Wed 14th Mar 2018 19:29

I have to admit to not knowing about Celia but the poem makes me want to find out.
Love all the reasons you give why someone is or isn't famous.
Someone who did so much and is just a footnote.
Brilliant piece.

Hannah

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Laura Taylor

Thu 8th Mar 2018 13:42

Yep, and no worries. I would always welcome debate 😃

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Wolfgar Miere

Thu 8th Mar 2018 13:35

Hi again,

I suppose that is where we disagree Laura.

Although I recognize the power of solidarity it is undermined by its blanket acceptance which to my mind is fundamentally flawed and wrong.

I think in times of extreme peril and threat solidarity is necessary and relevant to focus on a common enemy, the problem being as has been repeated time and again through history, this simply means delaying another inevitable fight until a later date.

Factions in the Spanish Civil War would be a classic example of this, in fact some of them couldn't achieve solidarity such was their hatred.

The soviet experiment fell apart under similar circumstances, the factions eventually cancel themselves out and we are often left with scum like Putin whose true motives are not collective but purely personal.

Apologies that is a huge leap from your poem, which I still like BTW.

Be well Laura,

David.

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 8th Mar 2018 13:32

Ooops I'll have another look! Sorry!

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Laura Taylor

Thu 8th Mar 2018 13:26

You might be right about the Hollywood thing actually. Here's hoping.

Nope. I take it you mean banners TODAY? Solidarity is solidarity, especially today. You don't get to pick and choose, you only support. That's how it works, brother 😉 Whether or not you would choose to approach it in the same way is entirely your choice. Once you begin to undermine solidarity, it's divide and rule all over again.

Thanks again David.


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Wolfgar Miere

Thu 8th Mar 2018 13:03

Thanks Laura,

It is a shame she isn't better known outside of Cuba. I suspect eventually Hollywood might get a hold of her story, and I'm guessing now is as good time as any in that regard.

I do understand solidarity and the power it has, and maybe I have misunderstood your remark about supporting "sisters" whatever banner they march under, I could not possibly agree to that, surely causes have to be taken on their particular merit rather than purely gender based.

I couldn't possible make a similar remark about male specific issues, and I most certainly wouldn't.

I enjoyed the poem and think it very apt for the day.

All the best,

David.

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Laura Taylor

Thu 8th Mar 2018 12:55

Cheers you two 😃

David, to reply to you first - in Cuba, she is idolised. Outside of Cuba, no one's bloody heard of her, not even the majority of my lefty comrades. Having read a fair bit about her though, it's my understanding that her fellow revolutionaries definitely DID treat her as an equal, as they did the other female guerrillas. She and Castro were extremely close for years, until the end of her life, and he held her in great respect, but I think what happened is that her male counterparts were recognised and identified with by OTHER males, be they revolutionaries or armchair insurrectionists. And then of course, they become commodified.

I salute all of my sisters today, no matter what banner they are walking under.

I feel the same way about the Guevara merch. I wouldn't let my then-teenage daughter wear a tshirt with his mug on until she'd read up on it all 😀

Graham - thank you. But - they DO rhyme, they just don't END rhyme (much). I would always go for a rhyme that isn't obvious, because they make my teeth itch.

Btw, if anyone fancies further reading, this is the best source I've come across so far:

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution, by Nancy Stout. It has been very carefully researched, double-checked, and verified by a number of sources.

Don't whatever you do read 'Celia Sanchez - The legend of Cuba's revolutionary heart' by Richard Haney. It is badly written, littered with inconsistency, chockful of incorrect unverified information, and is a bloody disgrace tbh.

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 8th Mar 2018 12:21

Not wishing to get into the equality/diversity debate but this is a very good poem Laura.

What I'd really like though is if the listings in the second verse could be made to rhyme somehow. It would be so much more powerful.

Whilst I never like "Days" (there's one for everything it seems to me) this is a very fitting piece.

Graham

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Wolfgar Miere

Thu 8th Mar 2018 12:02

A good poem for today Laura, why indeed.

When I see some of the news today and the issues which are being marched down the street banners waving! I wonder how women like Celia Sanchez would feel.

A woman who filled her head with rebellion and then her hands with means to fight for what she believed. I am not demeaning the issues some women face today, but many pale into insignificance comparatively.

Of course Celia's issues were not prefixed or exclusively dictated by her gender, which begs the question as to why she is not better known and remembered, or does it actually help to answer that question, inequality can exist among revolutionaries, the very thing that often motivates them they can become ultimately guilty of themselves, there is plenty of historic evidence of that.

I have no faith in revolutionaries, they are mostly psychopathic narcissists who end up stealing from their own treasuries.

I think Celia Sanchez is more familiar in countries which have transited through revolution where she would have been held up as a role model.

Also Castro and his like would have been careful not to let her overshadow them, they created their iconoclastic persona's and were well aware of how to use and manipulate their people to do so, nobody is perfect I guess.

It is worth mentioning that Castro only really became hugely complimentary about her after her death, was he exploiting the very qualities that she never managed to, who knows? it certainly did him no disservice among Cuban women.

David.

Almost always when I see a Che Guevara pin on someone's lapel I want to knee them in the nuts, well I would but I practice non violent protest these days, apart from when I'm extremely drunk!

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Laura Taylor

Thu 8th Mar 2018 11:20

Happy International Women's Day!

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