Hunger Strikes in Cuba and Blog Roundup
Ever since I started preparing our most recent issue on Cuba, I have been following Yoani Sánchez’s blog, Generation Y. The first time I read it, I was enchanted by Yoani’s voice—bitter, sardonic but laced with a fierce optimism that change is possible. At times, she’s incredibly funny. While waiting in line at the Ministry of the Interior, she vainly hopes a worker distracted by hunger and eager to grab lunch will hastily approve her travel request. Yoani wrote, “You know well the effect that melted cheese and tomato sauce can cause in a bureaucrat who looks at her watch at three in the afternoon.”
She posted this just days after the death of her friend Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died during a hunger strike while in prison. Held for contempt, public disorder, and disobedience, Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
Today I opened the blog and read this: “To report what hurts us, to write about what we have encountered, touched, suffered, transcends the journalistic experience to become a living testimony.” This opens Yoani’s heart-wrenching entry about Guillermo Fariñas, who began a hunger strike after Tomayo’s death and vows to continue until all prisoners of conscience with health problems are set free. It was through her blog that I learned Fariñas was hospitalized, an event initially not covered in the American press.
Blogs can offer their readers a street-level view of life under dictatorship—its tragedy, banality, and absurdity—that is at once intimate and informative.
Here are a few blogs from around the world that offer individual perspectives of life under political turmoil or instability. I don’t endorse everything the bloggers say, but what they offer is invaluable—singular voices stubbornly pushing against the grain of mainstream media.
Generation Y, Cuba
Adventures of Mr. Behi, Iran
Angry Chinese Blogger, China
An Arab Woman Blues, Iraq
Anas Qtiesh, Syria
Scarlett Lion, Liberia/Uganda
What an African Woman Thinks, Kenya
High Peaks Pure Earth, Tibet
The Devil’s Excrement, Venezuela
These are merely a selection of blogs I enjoy reading. Since I am an English speaker, they are all in English. Please feel free to add to the list using the comment section below. I’d enjoy seeing blogs in lots of languages!
Also check out Threatened Voices, a project of GlobalVoices advocacy. The site is mapping locations where bloggers have been threatened, arrested, or killed due to their work, and provides links if you wish to take action.
Click here to read Elizabeth’s bio.
Read issue 3 about Cuban Bloggers.