Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Tale of Two Singers in Cuba

Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty are launching a new campaign aimed at Police front-man Sting. In the 1980’s he was all about lecturing audiences on human rights, but for their reunion tour, the Police have accepted an invitation to play Havana this December. So much for the spirit of not playing Sun City. Evidently, Sting is not aware of, or has chosen to ignore, the wholesale rounding up and torturing of independent journalists and librarians, the invisible ones, practiced by Castro’s enforcers. BUCL’s campaign intends to raise that awareness of Cuba’s prisoners of conscience during the Miami leg of their tour. Learn how to support here.

Sting’s apparent ignorance of rampant human rights abuses is being contrasted with jazz singer Youman Wilder’s recent defiance of Cuban censors. During a performance in Cuba, Wilder departed from the state-approved set list, singing thematically charged songs like “We Shall Overcome” and “Freedom is At Your Door.” According to information forwarded to Babalu Blog:

“Mr. Wilder was woken up at 3 am and told to leave the country under heavy Cuban Militia.

Also Mr. Wilder was threatened with death and told he would be taken to a local jail.

Wilder was deported out of the country under a Cuban mandate that saw him and his group as enemies of The Revolution.

Also what was not said is that Wilder at Jose Marti International Airport, while being escorted out of the country by armed military sang “We Shall Overcome” as vacationers from The UK, Canada, and France looked on.”

Now that was quite a show. Actually though, I’m not ready to canonize Wilder yet. He did after all agree to play Cuba in the first place, and his past interviews have included some of the usual knee-jerk, brain-on-auto-pilot attacks on Pres. Bush and Fox News one expects from the celebrity left. However, he deserves real credit for figuring out the lay of the land once he arrived in Cuba, and for standing up to Castro’s thugs and censors. It’s a good lesson for Sting when he performs for the real King of Pain.