36 years ago Michel Kaplan and Eduardo Padron refused to see Miami characterized as the city where you could just get a great tan and great bargains at department stores. It was then that they launched the first Miami Book Fair. Today, the event not only stands out among any event of its kind in the United States but has projected an image of Florida’s mecca as a city that has as defining attributes creativity and intellectual class.
Miami’s Book Fair encompasses a Street Fair; a series of lectures and panel presentations with authors and interested experts; a children’s read along and the series “An Evening With . . .” featuring the literary, entertainment or political celebrity of the moment. One such evening hosted Isabel Allende as protagonist. For me, attending that rendezvous was as inspiring, cleansing and clarifying as undertaking the Way to Santiago de Compostela.
First, Ms Allende revealed in full strength the transforming potential of the eternal feminine.
In what was a man’s world, she did not trade her femininity for a gross mock of a male writer. Ms Allende, walked, talked and dressed like a woman. She however was as competitive as any man when it came to negotiating her intellectual rights and launching marketing campaigns for her books. Without unruffling her eye lashes she would fight anyone who failed to believe in her talent.
Ms Allende made it very clear that she loves the United States deeply and that she would like this county to reach a new democratic consensus that would lead it to greater appropriation of the fruits of technology by those left behind because of level of education or obsolescent skills. But above all she would love to rescue them from the terrible influence of Donald Trump who is exploiting their misery.
Then there was the hidden aspect of Isabel Allende’s life: that of a constant lover. She masterfully described the many faces of love as people grow old and change the relative weight of experiences, events and possessions into their lifestyles. These changes impact the way you relate to the loved object but do not drain an individual’s love potential.
Finally, there was the wise woman who warned her audience about the fragility of democracy.
In her native country Chile democracy and civility had always reigned up and until there was the coup d’état against her uncle Salvador Allende. Overnight the country witnessed the proliferation of concentration camps, torturers and despotic leaders.
Most Chileans seemed to be astonished by these developments. Not Ms Allende. Because as she aptly put it “you unleash hatred and he invites violence and she invites death. Before you know it the country collapses under tribalism.” That seems to be what is happening in Venezuela. Let’s pray it never reaches the United States.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday November 20th, 2017