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José Martí, Cuban Apostle
with Cintio Vitier

José Martí, Cuban Apostle
Pub. Year

2013

Publisher

I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd

ISBN

978-1-84885-199-3

“All people possess in common the immense and majestic human spirit, vaster than the sky, bigger than the Earth, brighter than the stars, and broader than the sea.” declared José Martí (1853-95) poet, essayist and hero of the Cuban independence movement. This statement embodies the overarching belief shared by Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda in their wide-ranging dialogue exploring the life, work and influence of José Martí, also known as “the Cuban apostle.”

Dr. Cintio Vitier (1921-2009), celebrated Cuban poet, scholar and founding president of the Center for the Studies of José Martí, and Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, writer and leader of the Soka Gakkai International, found extensive common ground drawing on comparisons between Martí's ideals and Nichiren Buddhism as a source of unfailing hope, courage and belief in the unlimited potential of all people. Daisaku Ikeda believes that like Martí, the underlying driving force of both Shakyamuni and Nichiren’s spiritual struggle was their profound empathy to save suffering people and their unwavering belief in human beings. Ikeda further notes, “The unflagging passion displayed by Martí . . . was supported by his overflowing love of the ordinary people and his firm conviction that without roots in those people, nothing can be created.”

Ranging across a variety of topics, the authors explore Martí’s personal life, persecution, inspirations and poetry, but most significantly the lasting impact his passionate spirit and lofty ideals had on the people of Cuba and the world. Describing the life of José Martí, Vitier states, “His individual life came to coincide with the history of a nation and finally, as he attained self-acknowledgement, became a model for others. . . . Instead of ending with his death, his brilliant, optimistic vows stimulated enduring, historic, creative power in the Cuban people.” During the struggle for the independence of his homeland Cuba, for which he was a martyr, Martí declared all of humanity to be his homeland. As Ikeda further points out to Vitier, “You and I have shown that homeland and human nature—patriotism and love for humanity—are not mutually exclusive but are related by a dialectical tension. This has been one of the most important fruits of our talk together.” Vitier and Ikeda met on two occasions, once in Havana, Cuba, and once in Tokyo, Japan. Their dialogue was initially serialized in Ushio, a Japanese literary magazine, from June 1999 to April 2000. The Japanese edition of their discussions was compiled and published as a book in August 2001, and Diálogo sobre José Martí, el Apóstol de Cuba, the Spanish edition, was published in Cuba in October 2001 and in the Dominican Republic in May 2002.


CONTENTS

Foreword, by Dr Armando Hart Dávalos
Preface, by Daisaku Ikeda
An Expression of Gratitude, by Cintio Vitier

CHAPTER 1 PERSECUTION AND LIFE
  1. The Poetry of Justice
  2. Mentors and Friends
  3. Home Life
  4. Ceaseless Progress
  5. The Eternity of Life
CHAPTER 2 IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE
  1. The Apostle and the People
  2. Teacher of the People
  3. Standing Alone
  4. Nationalism in the Twenty-first Century
CHAPTER 3 THE POETIC SPIRIT
The Poetic Spirit
  • One with the Literary Giants
  • Father-to-Son Heritage

  • Glossary
    Notes
    Index