Domingo Pérez Minik, what's in a name


And it is logical that there is doubt because I have observed, throughout the critical journey that has already been favoring, in one sense or another, the trajectory of this book, that the author has maintained a curious behavior in the history of author-correspondence. critical. It is not very frequent, in fact, that whoever writes the criticized work comes to the fore to signify their displeasure, and in some cases their liking, in the face of the judgments made. But García Ramos has found this conduct so appropriate that he has expressed it often and generally, sometimes in the press, sometimes on his most frequented social network, Facebook.

Far from reproaching him for such waste, I thank him for doing so because he has allowed me, personally, to read his own thoughts about a book that began by being greeted as a chronicle (it still resonates, in recent writings by some purely journalistic reviewer, the character realistic that the work has) and now, more abundantly by the author himself, as a pure fiction even if it contains its own name.

I am not a literary critic, it is a task that exceeds my frustrated academic knowledge, but I am an enthusiastic journalist reviewer since my time as editor of the newspaper El Día. And I am an equally enthusiastic reader, who was led down this path by the man who gives figure and proper name to fiction, let's say fiction, that stars in the entire novel or chronicle or whatever he wants to call it by Juan-Manuel García Ramos. I am so grateful, therefore, to his own name, as to feel a logical pang when seeing that name, Domingo Pérez Minik, associated, in whatever way, reality or fiction, with a moral crime very difficult to wash, the of the denunciation. In this book, by the way, there is another protagonist, who tells the author his grievances with respect to the literary critic. I have wondered why, if the author feels that his confidant suffers from the serious circumstances evoked in the book, including the reading of a book by this signer, why would he not have granted him the favor of his own name, since his identity is very well marked, and I imagine that to the man of flesh and blood who remains in the book and, happily, in life, that gesture of recognition would be a natural element of redress.

Anyway. Domingo Pérez Minik is a proper name. I have not made the account (I am only a reviewer) of the number of Sundays that there are in the world, and not even talk about the Perez that there must be. But how many Domingos Pérez Minik will there be right now on the surface of the earth, and even underground? He was a singular man, of course, who did not presume to be one, he did not go around interested in himself, but encouraging many to be themselves, to read, to respect the human race, to stimulate them, to feel that they were part of a future that he would later say goodbye to, like a traveler who came and left a certain trail.

There is no formulation in any nomenclature equal to that adopted by Domingo Pérez as a pseudonym. Since ancient times it has been his own name, with him we knew him and we love him by calling himself that and we have respected him with all the composition of his words and letters. So if we see his name we smile, evoking it, but if we see it together with assumptions, even if they are within the framework of a fiction, it becomes clouded even when we read it, with consequences that would be easy for the author of the work to understand. It concerns us, if you wanted to put yourself in skins or souls that do not have to be like yours.

Like that man, literally, there has been no other than Domingo Pérez Minik. His friend Guillermo Cabrera Infante (who was a friend of his in Tenerife) has an ingenious article on the famous phrase of his namesake William Shakespeare. The article is titled like the beginning of Romeo and Juliet: “What's in a name?”, In which it is added: “What we call pink by any other name would smell the same”. For those of us who admired and loved Don Domingo, that was a very special rose, for his history, for his moral effort to overcome very serious setbacks thrown at his biography, and those of his companions, by fascism which, to our general misfortune, it continues to bite the heels of history and democracy until now.

"I am so grateful to him that I feel a logical pang to see him associated with a moral crime that is very difficult to wash away"


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What is in his name then? A job for which we have always expressed gratitude. When he died I wrote some articles about him; a bunch of people from Tenerife thought it appropriate to make fun of me personally because they believed, in their freedom to judge, that I had the claim to take charge of any of their symbolic inheritances. That campaign prospered as a mockery, and it was not for that reason, of course, that for years that man who according to some deserved so many honors, and some had in life, was impervious, for example, to the street even from the street from which they started his civil walks that distinguished him so much.

In his name there was much more, inside and outside the island. His vibrant literature, free when almost nothing could be said freely, is there to be consulted as an example that, from the ground, a literature can be made that requires no other endorsement than the feeling that you have said what you have said. He has given the real wish even if you have not studied as much as others.

There was a lot in his name. Seeing it now associated with a moral crime, even if it is fiction, even if it is a matter of supposed narrative, as the author of the aforementioned book also states in his last article, is very painful for many, as has been exposed in the articles that García Ramos has liquidated as a matter of "moralizing" or, in the most abundant of cases, as examples of simpleness ... However, he expresses gratitude to a fairly large number of other critics that he obviously considers correct.

In that list of gratitude to articles that, indeed, have been gratifying to him, and it is not uncommon, I have noticed an absence that perhaps he will correct in the future, or perhaps he does not consider it pertinent. And it is that I observe that in his list of good ones (the opposite of "simpletons", perhaps?) He does not mention one of the first and most enthusiastic reviews or criticisms or comments. And it is a text, published on a page of the Diario de Avisos, written by his friend Andrés Chaves. That article, very early, was published on March 12 of this year, shortly after the debated book appeared. There Chaves explains that García Ramos has explained the story as it was, and ends like this: “I have to celebrate that García Ramos has approached the subject with the brilliance of his steely pen and that he has turned his bad temper into the rigor of the facts, although there are feints so as not to hurt the strange society in which he, you and I live ”. From what happened later in the newspapers of the islands, in which García Ramos has now published his "defense", it is seen that these feints were not fully understood ... At the beginning of this article, Chaves summarized the purpose of the novelist and professor emeritus: " the narration of events unknown until now, immersed as we are in a conspiracy of local and cruel silence ”.

I once wrote an article in El País, after the death of my childhood friend Paco Afonso, civil governor of Tenerife in 1983, burned by fire on a mountain in La Gomera. Juan-Manuel García Ramos should not have liked my text, and he would surely be right, in some of its extremes because he immediately published a reply in El Día that he titled: “No to Juan Cruz Ruiz”. It was my name. I am not going to explain here what is in a name, although, as in my case, in the world there are, above or below, a million named the same. I am a journalist, I am neither an economist nor a businessman, I do not have outstanding qualities, but I do have a very dear personal glory, having met one day in the street of Castillo de Santa Cruz de Tenerife with that man who treated us all as if he wanted us to do well in life.

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