The Corner

Failure of Imagination, Cont’D

Derb, exactly.

My wife is Cuban, and after her father got the family out of the country, he turned over his house to a South American embassy, making it, technically, foreign territory, and therefore, by Latin diplomatic tradition, a place of sanctuary. The grounds of the house were soon crowded with Cubans seeking to escape Fidel’s regime. Whereupon some of Fidel’s soldiers drove up, mounted a machine gun on the back of a Jeep, and opened fire.

Here in Northern California, we have quite a few friends who think Fidel is just dandy–all that universal health care, don’t you know–and a couple of our acquaintances have even urged their children to visit Havana as social workers. When we tell them what took place at my father-in-law’s house just days after he himself escaped, they almost always look at us blankly for a moment, then change the subject. They simply cannot imagine it.

Which leads me to a question for our readers. Some famous person or other once said something like this: “Understanding what took place in the Soviet Union requires not only historical knowledge but an act of imagination.” Can anyone tell me who said that–and where I can find the actual quotation?

Please place “Imagination” in the subject heading.

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