The old man and the sea
By: Cristiana Guevara Mena
The Old Man and the Sea is a story written by Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba, and published in 1952. The story is about a fisherman, an old man, with very little strength to continue his work. There was a young man who would always help him, even though his parents took him away because of the old man’s bad luck. However, he would always be willing to help, care for, and learn from the experience of the old man, even if his new employer obtained abundant fishing. Later on, the old man goes into the high seas by himself after 84 days without catching anything. Finally, he finds a huge fish, which would solve all of his problems, and that would restore the glory of his past. After a lot of struggle and suffering, he gets hold of the fish, which is even larger than the boat itself. During the trip back to land, the old man meets several sharks that are attracted by the blood and, little by little, devour the fish until it’s meatless. When the old man returns, the fish is completely unrecognizable; sharks have eaten all his bowels until there was nothing left, only the skeleton. Despite the apparent failure, the old man, thanks to his feat, regains the respect of his peers and reinforces the admiration of the young man who decides to fish back with him.
For too long, our Nicaraguan elderly people have had a "bad streak" of luck in search of their pension that is due to them. So far, they have been unable to get anything, just like the old fisherman in the story. These seniors, because of their advanced age, have very little strength to continue working, and deserve a worthy break. Unfortunately, given that their right to peace has been taken away from them in the fall and winter of their lives, they have heroically decided to go out to sea with all the risks involved, such as the strong winds and dangerous tides of their surroundings, in search of their huge fish in order to live peacefully during the time they have left.
The struggle of our senior citizens has been against storms, floods, and windstorms in order to fish the old age insurance that they have always deserved. Unfortunately, the great fish that assures their old age insurance has been devoured by sharks of the various governments during the past thirty years. There are also other sharks with large jaws and fangs, including the Army and some private enterprises, who have not paid what they owe to social security. We have seen how these beasts have torn the poor fish apart unscrupulously to fund their political propaganda, without any regard for the old man who has battled storms to get his fish. There is nothing left but a meager skeleton, leaving the old man to his fate with the solitude and anguish of the open sea.
Our elderly people, with their struggle for their rights to a decent life, have taught the young and all the people that the values of justice, labor and perseverance are lifelong. They teach us that consciences are not purchasable, and to settle in fear of dishonesty and abuse of authority is unacceptable. They are willing to battle for their beliefs and convictions until the end. We must recognize that they are a generation who will always remember the values of fair and honest work in order to continue living. These are values that in our time have been lost because of the corruption and lack of credible authority that are seen in every corner of the nation. This happens so frequently that we see it as something natural. Our elders, with their fight against injustice and fidelity to their memory and values, have given us citizens a life lesson and a model of conduct that is not purchasable even with all the gold in the world.
Even if our elders do not return from their fight in open sea with the big fish in their boat (it being very likely that the fish will be destroyed by sharks), they are already victorious in the eyes of our youth and people. We all need to be like the young man of the story that helped and learned from the old fisherman. Let us accompany them in their fight against the raging sea sharks and take their experience as life lessons that will last us forever. It’s with a fighting and firm spirit, like the old fisherman in the sea, that we can change our reality. Our seniors are leaving us a legacy of action and firm principles that are not seen anywhere. They have earned our respect and admiration. They are unquestionably our most precious treasure, and have fought and suffered enough. Let’s defend them against wind and storms, just like in the novel The Old Man and the Sea.