Thursday, 18 December 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful, part one.

Today, for the first time in a week, the sun appeared. Just after 7.30 local time I was able, while waiting for the toast to pop up, to stick my head out of the skylight and watch the sun rise. At this time of year — it’s almost the winter solstice — it pops up out of the Aegean from just behind the edge of Skyros, at about the place — I think it’s called Treis Boukes — where Rupert Brooke is buried. Well actually I think they found the ground too hard to dig a proper grave, so they just piled a lot of rocks onto his body. Brooke and some fellow officers had visited the spot from their British naval vessel, anchored offshore, a few days earlier, and he had said how much he liked the place.

But hang on, this is supposed to be cheerful. Oh, yes: while I was watching the sunrise and waiting for the toast, VOA news told me that Obama is taking the first steps towards lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Listening to international news on VOA or indeed BBC, DW, RFI etc. is like watching unruly children squabbling in the playground, and I’m not sure one can fairly congratulate the bully when, after years of persecuting one much smaller child, he decides one day it would be to his advantage to leave off, and concentrate more on his many other victims. Nevertheless, I for one, as a long-term admirer of Cuba, am pleased. If Obama manages to get this past Congress, where the really vicious Republicans will fight it tooth and nail, Cuba will perhaps feel less beleaguered, and its authorities might be more liberal in their treatment of internal dissent.
This picture was taken in Havana in 2003.

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