MARTIN GILBERT’S Shcharansky: Hero of Our Time contains one of the most memorable photographs I have seen.
On February 11, 1986, the Soviet Union released prisoner of conscience Natan Shcharansky. Hundreds of people gathered to greet him that evening at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.
Shcharansky saw an old friend after disembarking from the plane. The photograph of his reaction immortalizes the elation of a free man. A wide smile accompanies his extended arms, and wife Avital Shcharansky’s smile is even wider. (The Soviet regime had separated them since July 5, 1974.)
I look forward to the day when such a photograph will be taken of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet in Cuba.
Whereas Shcharansky’s desire was aliyah (immigration to Israel), Dr. Biscet considers Cuba his homeland. The regime pressured Biscet to leave Cuba before imprisoning him over two years ago; Fidel Castro wished to be rid of a black dissident and son of the Cuban Revolution (Biscet is 40) who highlights the vacuity of his propaganda.
Dr. Biscet refused to leave and demanded justice in Cuba. His patriotic indignation enraged the master class, and they have unsuccessfully tried to break him in prison.
If Dr. Biscet were released tomorrow, he would soon again be a prisoner of conscience. He will never tolerate Castro’s intolerable terrorism against his countrymen, and therefore Castro will never let him live in peace with his family.
Dr. Biscet, his family, and his countrymen will live in peace only after Cuba’s emancipation from the Cuban Revolution. There can be no peace while Castro muzzles and enslaves over 11 million people, waging war against the country he claims to defend.
The Passover Seder concludes with the prayer, "Next year in Jerusalem." As I conclude my fast in honor of Dr. Biscet, I hope to embrace him next year in Havana, in a free Cuba.