Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Somewhere, tucked in my papers from my undergrad years, is a quote about how being killed because you are a writer is "the ultimate expression of respect."

Or something like that.

It means, of course, that you are killed because you are good at your craft. Too good. You are killed because the people listen to you and because you have become a voice that powerful cowards cannot bear to hear.

This past weekend, Cuban bloggers Yoani Sanchez, Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo, and Ciro Díaz.were picked up by thugs, thrown into a van, beaten, and thrown onto the street. The bloggers' crimes? Blogging about Cuba as it is today under castro. Telling the truth.

Yoani was voted one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. You can find her blog here: Generacion Y. (Google offers a reasonable translation for those who aren't fluent in Spanish.)

Chantel's Yucababy blog provided a translation of Pardo's post, a recount of the experience:

Below, is my translation of an excerpt from Orlando Pardo's post at Penultimos Dias:

Within seconds, Yoani and I had our arms twisted in a car imported from our Stepmother Country: China

My head against the car's carpet, and Yoani with her feet in the air.I couldn't see her, identifying her only because she would not be quiet. I heard her scream with the vehemence of a being more free than the planet itself

She had a Cuban man's knee nailed against her chest, and still she rebuked him

From that energy I borrowed the strength to revive a bit my own voice.

They told me to tell Yoani to be quiet.

That phrase, pronounced by three unknowns in the name of the Cuban State, sums up the obsolescence and obscenity of this country.

Tell Yoani to be quiet.
Tell Yoani to be quiet.
Tell Yoani to be quiet.

Despotically, they deposited us in a corner that I confused with the patio of a barracks.
I was dizzy.I felt nauseous, felt like vomiting.
I could not move my neck.
I embraced Yoani (which I'd never done before).
She began to sob.

The greatest woman in Cuba seemed like an infant.

Because Yoani is such: the future of Cuba crystallized on a fragile and unstoppable body.

I kissed her head. Her hair pulled with such hate smelled like liberty.
Uncountable times I kissed her ageless head.

But I never told her to be quiet.
But I never told her to be quiet.
But I never told her to be quiet.

-- Orlando Luis Pardo

1 comment:

Chantel said...

Thanks for writing about this, Michelle. The more friends Yoani has beyond the Cuban community the better.