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Thursday, February 6, 2014

#FreeGorki: Let a Free Man be a Free Man

“Freedom of mind is the real freedom. A person whose mind is not free though he may not be in chains, is a slave, not a free man. One whose mind is not free, though he may not be in prison, is a prisoner and not a free man. One whose mind is not free though alive, is no better than dead. Freedom of mind is the proof of one's existence.” - Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

Poster by Rolando Pulido
Gorki Águila is an extremely dangerous man for the dictatorship in Cuba. He is dangerous not for what he has done but for who he is: a free man who has overcome his fears to live the life of a free man in the totalitarian environment that is Cuba. He is exercising what the Czech dissident and playwrite Vaclav Havel described as the power of the powerless and that is to live in truth. In Cuba, as in any other totalitarian dictatorship that has been in power for a long time, what people say and do publicly, for the most part, has nothing to do with what they really believe. Gorki and the other members of Porno para Ricardo have broken that pattern and are saying and singing what they actually think.  Despite the repression and terror visited on them, they are free men.

Gorki faces a ten year prison term in a summary show trial organized by the Castro regime that is reminiscent of the trials organized by Stalin in the 1930s. The verdict is known beforehand and what happens inside the courtroom will make no impact. However, what happens outside of the court room does matter and can be the difference for Gorki of ten years in prison or freedom.  This is why he has made a call to all people of good will to demonstrate their solidarity. What he asking for is what the Czech philosopher, Jan Patočka, called the solidarity of the shaken.

At the same time the apologists of the dictatorship are mounting a campaign to smear and slander his name. They've gone as far to dispute that he is a musician. For that reason the following playlist featuring Gorki over the past decade is a public defense exhibit in the public trial of this artist and musician.

Gorki (wearing t-shirt calling for Biscet's freedom) with friends in Havana, Cuba

FCF members met Gorki in the past and found him to be a thoughtful and funny character who takes the issue of human rights seriously. When we were campaigning for the release of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet he accepted one of the t-shirts we were distributing and took it back to Cuba with him and wore it there. A free man living in totalitarian Cuba.

FCF is now in the middle of "Gandhi King Payá Season for Nonviolence: January 30 - July 22" and this effort falls within the 174 days of nonviolence spanning the day Gandhi was killed and the day Payá was killed. We seek positive nonviolent means to effect positive change.

Therefore in that spirit, FCF joins in calling all people of goodwill to use the hashtag #FreeGorki wherever you can, join the facebook group urging his release, to sign the petition calling for Gorki's release, joining in the twitterthon on the morning of his show trial and finally for you to innovate and come up with nonviolent solutions to call for his freedom and personal safety.

Lets take action and see to it that a free man in Cuba remain free to think and say what he wants!

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