HomeCubaPlaque in honor of Martí will be unveiled on Mount Olympus

Plaque in honor of Martí will be unveiled on Mount Olympus

(taken from the Facebook of Oriol Marrero, counselor / consul Embacuba Grecia)
Athens. February 24, 2021. The day that marks the 126th anniversary of the restart of the wars for the independence of Cuba, of the necessary and “inevitable” war, as Martí called it, is a patriotic, libertarian and propitious date to express that -As soon as the weather conditions allow it-, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled on Mount Olympus, the highest point in Greece with almost three kilometers of altitude, in honor of the Cuban National Hero José Martí, soul and organizer of the War for the Independence of Cuba of 1895, who also as a great intellectual, writer and artist who was repeatedly mentioned Olympus in his brilliant and imperishable journalistic, literary and poetic work, his own work, highly recognized, universal, humanist, great and tangible.
Freedom first, first Free Cuba, as the Apostle himself sentenced in 1889:
“Nor what does the artist live on but on the feelings of the homeland?”
To better understand Marti’s sacred vocation to the homeland as the primary motive and obligation of all efforts, an anecdote about Martí written by Gonzalo de Quesada y Aróstegui (1868-1915), disciple, literary executor and friend, may be vividly interesting and illustrative. by Martí, in which on July 4, 1911 he recounted how he –Quesada– found himself among some old papers, and while Martí was still alive, the text of his novel, Fatal Friendship.
Quesada says that it was “a miracle” that this novel was not lost “like almost everything he wrote”, also because “it did not appear with the name of its author”, José Martí, but with the pseudonym “Adelaida Ral”. which would have made finding it even more difficult.
Then – and remember that Martí had been dead for 16 years – Gonzalo de Quesada recounted this extremely interesting personal conversation between him and Martí, which took place when the two of them were arranging some papers together:
“Fortunately,” says Quesada, “one day when we were sorting out papers in his modest work office, at 120 Front Street –converted, at that time, into the center of the Cuban Revolutionary Party and the editorial team and administration of Patria– I came across a few loose pages from The Latin American (El Latino Americano), here and there corrected by Martí, and I exclaimed when reviewing them: “What is this, Master?” “Nothing,” he replied affectionately, “memories of times of struggles and sadness; but save them for another time. At this time we should only think about the great work, the only one worthy; to achieve independence ”.
It is understood then why in his speech of November 26, 1891 at the Cuban Lyceum in Tampa, United States, known as “With everyone and for the good of all”, he expressed a wish:
“I want the first law of our Republic to be the cult of Cubans to the full dignity of man,” and as part of that dignity, his sentence is inseparable:
“Cuba must be taken as an altar, to offer our life to it, and not as a pedestal to stand on it.”
As the Cuban historian Eusebio Leal Spengler noted, “Spain was not willing to allow the independence of Cuba.” So José Martí saw the need to wage a “prompt, just, executive war that would prevent Spanish mobilization and North American intervention”, since “it is clear that for him the Spanish is already taken to the background, that the danger that appears in front is the military intervention of the United States, which is clear when he –Martí– meets with the North American journalist Eugenio Brison and he tells him:
“I come from Havana, and Martínez Campos – Spanish Captain General. Author’s note – he told me that before giving in to the Cubans, they made a pact with the Yankees “… And,” that is already terrible, “concludes Leal.
It is understandable, then, why in Martí’s concern for the future of his homeland there would also appear an independentist, libertarian and epic guiding thread, which would not cease to have a Latin Americanist, Our-American, Bolivarian and anti-imperialist mark, not because he was indigenously Cuban, such as also the inspiring imprint of Greece’s struggles for its national independence, as he evoked it, building a parallel between the struggles of Cuba and those of Greece, in his keynote address of November 30, 1889 at Harmann Hall, New York :
“And what about free America,” said Martí, “and all of Europe crowning itself with freedom, and Greece itself resurrecting, and Cuba, as beautiful as Greece, stretched out like this between iron, stain on the world, prison surrounded by water, drag on America? ? If there are not enough troops among the living Cubans for honor, what are the caracoles doing on the beach, who do not call the dead Indians to war? What are the palms doing, which moan sterile, instead of commanding? What do the mountains do, that do not join skirt to skirt, and do not block the way to those who persecute heroes? “, And sentence, and Apostle of independence:” On land he will fight, as long as there is a foot of land, and when there isn’t, he will still fight, standing in the sea. Leonidas from Thermopylae, from Rome Cato, point the way to the Cubans ”.
However, not only the struggles of the Spartan Leonidas during the 5th century BC against the occupiers of his homeland inspired Martí, particularly the historic Battle in the Thermopylae Gorge against the millennial invading Persian forces that had crossed the Hellespont in command. of Xerxes I, in the direction of Athens.
Personally immersed in the preparation of the aforementioned war of 1895 for the independence of Cuba against Spain, whose glorious beginning is commemorated on a day like today, José Martí was also inspired by the example of the heroic and fierce resistance of the Greek patriots in today’s Sacred City of Missolonghi, against the heavy sieges and Ottoman blockades, between 1821 and 1826.
In specifically praising this exceptional example of resistance, which has been immortalized by painters, poets and writers around the world, he will exclaim in 1892:
“We have for the fatherland, for our holy flame pure patriotism, for example, the deeds of our parents, of those sublime men who abandoned all the comforts and pleasures of the universe to show the world how a people dies who aspires to reach the steps of the augusto capitol de la libertad ”.
Consequently, he makes the following solemn oath in the face of Cuba’s struggles:
“We will work… without truce or rest; and if the enemy asks us to surrender, we will throw Cambrone’s phrase in his face; and if we fall, we will exclaim like the Greek patriot in Misolonghi: “Tyrant, here you will find the Cuban dead but not a slave. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori ”.
Along with thousands of Cubans, Martí resisted, fought, did not surrender, fell fighting, “but not a slave”! Because “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”.
On the plaque that will be placed “on Olympus” is inscribed, in “the language in which the poet Solomos has sung to freedom”:
“In memory of José Martí (1853-1895), National Hero of Cuba, eternal friend of Greece and” the Greek “, admirer of Olympus”. (Marti’s phrase): “It is a journey to Olympus, from which it becomes strong for the struggles of the earth, tempered on high anvils, made to Gods.” “Dedicated to the Greek people and Mount Olympus, on behalf of the people of Cuba.”
In pictures: Cuban flag in Athens; photos of child Martí (prisoner, doing forced labor in the San Lázaro Quarries), young Martí; the plaque that will be placed on Olympus, and an image from the exhibition of paintings 28 / UNO, created in Athens by the young Cuban painter Oniel Rodríguez, El Palmerito, with original works on the Apostle of Cuban independence, exhibited at the Embassy of Cuba in Greece, and in the cinema of Mariel, in Cuba.


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