Havana to Rock with the Stones on Good Friday

Dmitri Prieto

HAVANA TIMES — The Rolling Stones are coming. They will play on the night of a holiday, Good Friday.

The Cuban State declared this day a holiday four years ago, as a show of respect towards members of the Catholic Church (and, I assume, other Western Christian communities), who, that day, commemorate the violent death of Jesus of Nazareth at the hands of the earthly powers of his time.

It is supposed to be a day of recollection…for those who believe, of course.

Well, now, in addition to an opportunity to recollect the assassination of Jesus Christ, we will have a chance – that same day – to enjoy a Rolling Stones concert.

Like the Church, rock and roll has finally also earned the respect of the Cuban State for itself.

Someone will surely interject that, like religion, attending the concert is a matter of personal choice, such that anyone who doesn’t wish to go (down the Way of the Cross or the concert) is entitled not to.

The only “mandatory” part of all this is the holiday, but one is generally grateful for that, beyond the rock and roll or Christian sympathies (or both) a person may have.

I am not complaining, I am simply surprised by the incoherence of it all. Such contradictions, I know, aren’t news in Cuba, particularly after Obama’s visit.

Beautiful and incompatible images are colonizing Cuban brains and hearts, or perhaps they have been colonized for decades. Could it be an expression of that phenomenon called “transculturation”?

I recall those pamphlets dished out by pro-government bloggers, with suggestive titles such as “Obama Centralizes the Media War against Cuba.”

Today, the central role Obama has secured for himself places him next to Cuban sit-com idol Panfilo and the best intentions of the Cuban government.

But we can’t ask the impossible.

Incoherence, spectacle. Cuba, a platform for historical encounters – Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, old rock legends and the Rolling Stones, decision makers and normalizers of Cuba-US relations and reactivators of reprisal mobs.

Perhaps, in the near future, a trendy Cuban reggaeton band will play next to the National Symphonic Orchestra of Havana, or with New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

Anyone who defends reconciliation would certainly be happy about this. But I can’t share in this happiness, I apologize!

Someone else, someone who perhaps recalls perestroika, would see, in this incoherence, a sign or a seed of the changes to come.

As for me, I cannot help but see something quite simple in all this, something which, I apologize for the word, stinks: a terrible lack of taste.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba– where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

  • inti

    I am ecstatic for all the progressive changes the Cuban Government and its people are embracing. If there one of the best things Obama did as president of the United States it is patching up the differences between the two countries, Cuba and USA. The Cuban people had suffered too much for too long, they too deserved an opportunity for changes and financial progress in the world. Not forgetting that Cuba has an army of well qualified Physicians, whereas many developed countries like Canada are highly short of medical Doctors and Specialists in medicine and CANADA is already benefiting from those well trained Cuban physicians. as well as Europe and Latin America.
    Well Done Mr. Obama, you secured a humanitarian good deed for your History as president of USA.

  • Chico

    Media did lousy job covering this concert!

  • Martha Bartha

    Alright! Rock ^ Roll……………………

  • hkrieger

    Waiting for the Overture to Fidel(io)-
    http://www.efn.org/~hkrieger/cu0001.jpg
    from the series, “See See Havana”,
    http://www.efn.org/~hkrieger/cuba.htm