Exile Quotes (4 quotes)
If there is anything that can bind the heavenly mind of man to this dreary exile of our earthly home and can reconcile us with our fate so that one can enjoy living,—then it is verily the enjoyment of the mathematical sciences and astronomy.
My mother, my dad and I left Cuba when I was two [January, 1959]. Castro had taken control by then, and life for many ordinary people had become very difficult. My dad had worked [as a personal bodyguard for the wife of Cuban president Batista], so he was a marked man. We moved to Miami, which is about as close to Cuba as you can get without being there. Its a Cuba-centric society. I think a lot of Cubans moved to the US thinking everything would be perfect. Personally, I have to say that those early years were not particularly happy. A lot of people didnt want us around, and I can remember seeing signs that said: No children. No pets. No Cubans. Things were not made easier by the fact that Dad had begun working for the US government. At the time he couldnt really tell us what he was doing, because it was some sort of top-secret operation. He just said he wanted to fight against what was happening back at home. [Estefans father was one of the many Cuban exiles taking part in the ill-fated, anti-Castro Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow dictator Fidel Castro.] One night, Dad disappered. I think he was so worried about telling my mother he was going that he just left her a note. There were rumours something was happening back home, but we didnt really know where Dad had gone. It was a scary time for many Cubans. A lot of men were involvedlots of families were left without sons and fathers. By the time we found out what my dad had been doing, the attempted coup had taken place, on April 17, 1961. Intitially hed been training in Central America, but after the coup attempt he was captured and spent the next wo years as a political prisoner in Cuba. That was probably the worst time for my mother and me. Not knowing what was going to happen to Dad. I was only a kid, but I had worked out where my dad was. My mother was trying to keep it a secret, so she used to tell me Dad was on a farm. Of course, I thought that she didnt know what had really happened to him, so I used to keep up the pretence that Dad really was working on a farm. We used to do this whole pretending thing every day, trying to protect each other. Those two years had a terrible effect on my mother. She was very nervous, just going from church to church. Always carrying her rosary beads, praying her little heart out. She had her religion, and I had my music. Music was in our family. My mother was a singer, and on my fathers side there was a violinist and a pianist. My grandmother was a poet.
Two years ago 1 tried to appeal to Rockefellers conscience about the absurd method of allocating grants, unfortunately without success. Bohr has now gone to see him, in an attempt to persuade him to take some action on behalf of the exiled German scientists.
When the world is mad, a mathematician may find in mathematics an incomparable anodyne. For mathematics is, of all the arts and sciences, the most austere and the most remote, and a mathematician should be of all men the one who can most easily take refuge where, as Bertrand Russell says, one at least of our nobler impulses can best escape from the dreary exile of the actual world.