The Chronicles of Narnia stories were favorites when I was growing up. I have seen all the movies so far with and without my grandchildren. As I did in my youth, I continue to find myself transported to a magical land where, for a time, I am a child again. There are no intrusive thoughts, no worries; just the sheer pleasure of being entertained by a world of innocence and magic where good and evil are well- defined concepts.
The world in black and white is an impossible construct for a psychotherapist to contemplate, and I am always surprised at how easily people cling to such a world regardless of how many years they have spent on this mostly blue, ocean- covered earth.
My recent post about Ché and my work with Martín Guevara has upset many Pedro Pans and a few non Pedro Pan Cuban exiles. Their comments are not posted on the blog, but sent to my website email. I find that most people prefer that mode of communication rather than making public comments. Clearly, I welcome both. I am humbled by the amount of people that are reading my blog and are interested in our Cuban story, and I welcome all opinions, not only the ones that agree with my posts.
I have been accused of betraying my father’s memory by collaborating with a Guevara, and of comparing Ché to a Jesus Christ figure. “Saying anything positive about such a monster is wrong”, said one reader. “How could you see good in the man responsible for imprisoning your father?” said another. “You are either with us or against us, there is no room for a Pedro Pan who admires someone like Ché and mixes with someone like his nephew”, adds yet another.
One of the challenges I faced as a young girl was precisely the dissonance between the Ché I began to know and the assassin I knew him to be. It was perhaps one of my own first challenges to black and white thinking and to the painful conclusion that things in this world were seldom so simple. I say painful because life is so much easier when good and evil are on either side of a clear demarcation line and one’s spirit does not have to struggle with shades of gray. When one is able to walk the earth under the illusion of certainty and has not yet stepped into the Socratic truth of “I only know that I know nothing.”
I cannot offer a rational non- clinical explanation of how it was possible for a man who was indeed the murderer of many to also be an extremely charismatic human being capable of appearing near angelic in a personal encounter. This was not only my experience but also that of an old friend and of my cousin who also met him and were likewise affected by his countenance despite the pain he was responsible for causing in their own lives. It was precisely that dissonance that led me to ask his nephew Martín the question that eventually led to our collaboration. And I have to say that one of the rewards of our collaboration has been that both of us have discovered in depth the difference between the man and the myth.
I find it a very powerful statement for a Pedro Pan and a Guevara to collaborate on a book together. Our collaboration has required both of us to suspend disbelief, to listen to uncomfortable truths, to expand our knowledge of others and ourselves. It has united us in a common purpose about which we hope to speak together around the world: our commitment to human rights and peace. We are bound by the hope that if and when Cuba is free again, the same mistakes we made in the past will not be repeated. Neither of us wants to see a new blood bath begin the reign of a new regime, while we both recognize the necessity for justice.
Martin is a gift to Cubans, not a liability. He has had to free himself at no small cost from the black and white thinking that would have demanded his loyalty to his family, in order to tell his truth to the world. Yet all some see is that he was Ché’s nephew, and by virtue of the sins of his uncle he is sent to stand on the black side of that relentless demarcation line.
We Pedro Pans and Cuban exiles in general are drawn together by a common experience, but we are not all alike. Some were frozen in place in those metal wombs that bore us once again within the same existence, some remain so affected by the experience that viewing a picture of Fidel or Ché re-triggers their trauma. Some have managed to come to peace with their circumstances, some spend their lives in yearning, some in acceptance and joy. Our diversity is not a point of separation, in my view, but our different reactions to the same stressors yet another example that nothing is really black and white.
Narnia will forever be a place of wonderful escape. Respite from the relentless challenge of reality. It is a wonderful place to visit, a place in which to remember the magic that accompanies all of us mortals in our journey through our lives regardless of the colors that we see.
Website address: http://authoradriannemiller.com/