It could have been me. But for a simple twist of fate, a decision made for me as a child, I could be dead. I might have suffered a lifetime of indignity: indoctrination, oppression, humiliation, hunger. I might have lived a life of fear: fear of intimidation, fear of repercussions for my actions, afraid to think freely, afraid to speak, afraid of my own thoughts. Had it not been for the wherewithal of my parents, I could have been Orlando Zapata Tamayo. And I'd be dead.
I don't know if I would have had Zapata Tamayo's courage. (One never really knows how he'll react in the belly of the beast.) I don't know if I would have had the determination to fight for my convictions like Zapata Tamayo. Or to sacrifice my well being, my life, for what I believed to be right and true and just. And it's easy for me, safeguarded here by freedom, to imagine myself so valiant, so tenacious and so selfless as Orlando Zapata Tamayo. The fact remains that I don't know if I could have endured the indignities with such fortitude, with such grace, with such resignation.
And, while I could have remained in Cuba and lived under such untold deprivation, I am no hero. I am no Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
But today, on the second anniversary of his murder at the hands of the castro regime, the spirit of Orlando Zapata Tamayo lives in me, and his sacrifice for Cuba and her 11 million children living in squalor and subjugated, will not be forgotten as long as liberty breathes.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo lives. Remember him today and every day, for he is the best in all of us and we must never let his sacrifice be in vain.