Saturday, November 07, 2009
Fighting for the Freedom of Ideas in the Caribbean
It is dangerous to be a woman with ideas in the island patriarchy. Cuban womanish blogger Yoani Sanchez knows this. She was assaulted, detained and threatened by government agents on Friday in Havana and warned that she was going too far in her blog, Generation Y in her criticisms of Cuba. Her account of the assault is already up on her blog. This young woman was punched repeatedly, dragged into a car by her hair, fighting all the way, where they forcefully and violently continued to restrain her, and continued to beat her. She writes that as one man pinned her down with a knee to her chest until she almost couldn’t breath she managed to grab the offender by his testicles and sink her fingernails into him screaming, “Kill me now!” They let her breath after that. When the vicious beating was over they left Yoani and her companions lying in the street. Not long after she wrote and published her chilling story, never crying victim, only telling the truth, and ending her post with these powerful words: “I managed to see the degree of fright of our assailants, the fear of the new, of what they cannot destroy because they don’t understand, the blustering terror of he who knows that his days are numbered.” This Caribbean woman is, as we used to say, bad out there. She is fighting an epic battle for the freedom of her ideas, and her right to express them. She knows how powerful her words/ideas are, how powerful the internet is in her quest to be heard. (Her blog gets one million hits a month.) Apparently her adversaries know it too. But she is not deterred today, she is writing on, fighting on, changing the world by telling truth about her life, against all odds. That she can indeed change the world by writing and speaking her truth is Ms. Sanchez's most dangerous idea of all.