The King's decree in the battle for Elian

March 30, 2000|By Jim Ragsdale

THERE CAME before the King a 6-year-old boy named Elian Gonzalez, begat of Juan Gonzalez and Elizabeth Brotons, of Havana, Cuba.

"Es chevere, el mundo de Disney!" he said to the wise King, who looked perplexed.

"He says, `Disney World is cool!' " said one who spoke the boy's native tongue.

Then the line of Elian that dwells in the county of Dade, in the state of Florida, approached the court. They held signs and raised a great noise and their hearts were filled with injustices rendered unto them.

One of their number, who was possessed of a law degree and a fine, three-piece cloak, spoke unto the King.

"In the beginning, Elian washed up off Fort Lauderdale, on the Day of Thanksgiving," said the man, handing out small white cloaks imprinted with the boy's likeness that sold for a few pieces of silver. "Woe that his mother and 10 others drowned seeking freedom from the evil Castro. ... "

Upon saying the name, the line of Elian began weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth.

"Who is this Castro?" asked the wise King.

"He sits at the right hand of Beelzebub," said the lawyer. "Those of us who escaped from his kingdom give great sums of soft money unto those leaders who despise Castro. If you send back poor Elian unto this infidel, we will rend Miami Beach with our protests."

After much prancing and shouting, the line of Elian fell silent, and there came before the King an old, bearded man wearing a cloak of green military fatigues and making a great smoke from a Cohiba cigar.

"Soy el Castro," said the old man. "I am the Castro. I rule the green kingdom of Cuba, where we were pleased to welcome his holiness, the pope, except that Monica Lewinsky story took all the live coverage away ... "

"Dwells the boy's father, Juan Gonzalez, in your kingdom?" said the wise King, interrupting el Castro.

"Si, and his heart is heavy with grief, although, he dwells not in the darkness of illiteracy, nor liveth he without health care coverage, due to la revolucion. But we will walk in the shadow of death if Elian does not return and I cannot use him in the arena of world opinion."

"And now you, Elian. What say you, my boy?" asked the wise King.

"Es la hora de `Melrose Place,' " sayeth Elian.

"It's time for a television entertainment he observes every day at this hour," said the King's translator.

"Bring me a sword," spake the King, and it was done. "Divide the child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other."

And while the line of Elian and el Castro debated which side of Elian they should settle for, there arrived in the court a great and prominent sage whose visage was familiar to all.

"Larry King here, your lordship," said the sage, who spoke in a resonant rumble. "I have the father, Juan Gonzalez, on the court monitor LIVE! from Havana."

And the King heard the poor father's voice. "O my lord, give my son to the line of Elian, and by no means kill him," said the sobbing father.

So the King said, "Give the child to Juan Gonzalez, the father of Elian, and by no means divide him. Juan Gonzalez is the one who careth about the child above all others."

And all the kingdom heard the judgment which the King had rendered, and they feared the King, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

Yet Elian did not move from Miami back to Havana, where his father awaited. For even though the kingdom feared the King, they decided to appeal.

Jim Ragsdale is a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota.

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