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Carlos Eire in his video uploaded by Darien Library (2012) is addressing the Parag audience about the relationship between memory and history. The main characters in his book Learning to die are Charles (Carlos) and his brother, the two Jewish families to which the brothers were sent to receive foster care. Carlos Eire had given a speech about his and his brother’s lives as Cuban kids in exile, separated from their parents and sent to camps, following their destiny to a foster care with strangers. The life of an eleven year old child is surrounded by the innocence of childhood, which is then turned and twisted around in the midst of limbos and uncertainties.
This is the life of a refugee. A refugee is a person, who flees his country or place of residence due to unpredictable and severe fear of persecution, from an individual or groups of individuals who endanger that person. The autobiography of Carlos Eire portrays him as an eleven year old child, in 1962, in a refugee camp, where he was shunned under the Castro’s Government. When the kids arrive to the air lift, they were taken to the camp. Carlos and his brother ended up with different foster families, living around 20 blocks apart in Miami, to 2 wonderful, loving Jewish families. As Cuban kids, they were put into classroom, where the teacher’s entire day was devoted teaching us English. Real classrooms, as Carlos describes the strictness of the teachers and a showed them one step ahead in the practical world.
Chapter 9 of the “Learning to die in Miami” by Carlos Eire as mentioned in an article by Ligyaa Mishan (2011). Carlos as a little boy was named Charles in that book, and when American kids asked Carlos to teach them bad worlds in Spanish, he taught them words like berengas (egg plant); learning bad words in Spanish, and uttering bad words, was a sin, according to the First Commandment, as Charles thought. There was really nothing he could do about it, as the American kids used to tease him, fight with him, call him names, and if he would have refused, they would pester him, and make fun of his Spanish accent. Despite his difficulties, Charles was dealing with these kids, without imposing an adult’s guile or emotions. This demonstrates that Charles was a brave, voracious and a lively little boy, who wanted to experience his new life, in Miami, as an immigrant.
As an immigrant, Charles was faced with verbal discrimination. The real Americans forced Charles to go to church, as his 12th birthday was approaching. “My exile experience to my adult life”, said Carlos addressing the Parag in Czech Republic.
These were some memoirs of Carlos’ elementary school in Miami. Heaven and hell intersect all the time in Miami. According to Carlos in Parag speech,
In the midst of the bureaucratic error of Fidel Castro, many people have suffered exile in their own country which disowned them. Eire as Charles got separated from his mother during the missile crisis. Charles used to say, “English is a weapon he hopes will kill the Cuban in me” according to Ligaya Mishan (2011).
The two brothers were left stranded without their mother and were ill treated by the Jewish family. Charles character mainly reformed from his childhood to adulthood, when he addressed the Parag audience that entering into exile at the age of 10 was similar to have reincarnation and being born again. Carlos related the end of childhood as a death and then rebirth when entering into adulthood. Despite their difficult times, Charles had stayed steady and confident. According to Ligaya Mishan (2011), this book have seen turn around with numerous flashbacks, such as six years later, he got married and then divorced, and 18 years later, a get together with cousins, and 43 years later, his mother passed away in the Chicago hospital.
While discussing and relating his personal life to his past events and experiences, he was pretty jolly and happy about it. Today, he is a successful professor of history and religious university at the Yale University, writing about spiritual matters as explained by Ligaya Mishan (2011). He stood very successful in relating to the audience, and by telling every little detail of the two books, he was being very polite, very delightful and very excited. It seemed like; Carlos never wanted to grow older as he related adulthood as the ultimate eater of childhood. But, that is not always the case. He was such a courageous boy that he let the bullying of the American kids continue , which made him realize the real world for a child in exile; life is not that easy as he thought it would be for a refugee.
Jerry Bauer (2003) has stated in his article that in the Fidel Castro’s regime, Carlos Eire had to give up his idealistic and privileged childhood in Havana and move to the US. Carlo’s father had always dreamt about himself as King Louis XVI of France and was convinced that he(father) had been reincarnated only to be the King Louis XVI of France; according to Carlos, his mother had been dreaming about the angels, fine silk or flowers.
The family had been leading a fairly good life in Havana, Cuba where Carlos had always been a free bird; less worries and stress. However, when one morning, Carlo’s father read the news that a guy named Batista had fled out of Havana, due to the rebels’ atrocities, Carlos was shocked and did not believe him, but Carlo’s mother reassured him that was the reality and forbade him from stepping outside that very day.
One day, he saw a lizard, moving freely and happily all over the ceiling and walls. Jerry Bauer(2003)He envied them as he thought that there were no worries of country, war, atrocities, education, money or wisdom for them and that lizard’s abode was more secure than any human on earth.