However, we work hard, with a lot of enthusiasm and hope, because we know that the political leaders of tomorrow stand among the thousands of Cubans who read us, and among the millions who will one day be free. Perhaps they may be cleaner and more self-assured, perhaps more laborious, but, above all, I'd like to think that the best of them will feel that politics is a profession of service to the whole Nation and not a mere stage to shine among the footlights. Miriam Celaya from the English translation of her blog, Without Evasion
Continuing my periodic posting of the work of my fellow bloggers, I am posting here today the most recent essay by Miriam Celaya, where she discusses the role of bloggers in the politics of Cuba today. Miriam is the winner of the award for Best Journalism Blog in the Virtual Island Blog Contest.
In Order to Avoid Confusion
by Miriam Celaya
In recent days, I received some unfortunate information: a leader of the opposition made statements indicating "bloggers have no link with society". This position is not new: since the blogger phenomenon started to become known, especially abroad, and later when it started to permeate sectors of society within the Island, a kind of uneasiness spread among many opponents -- not all -- who apparently felt threatened in their leadership niches.
The fact is doubly sad when you consider that the Cuban opposition has the unquestionable merit of demonstrating, in very difficult circumstances and long ago, (let's remember that the 90's were the peak period of growth of these movements) that government opposition movements did exist inside Cuba, and that the government was eventually forced to acknowledge the existence of internal dissent. Opponents also have shown signs of courage in dealing openly with the longest dictatorship in the Western world, even recognizing that it would not hesitate to apply repression -- as indeed it has -- against them, so it is inexplicable that some leaders are opting for the disqualification of a growing number of Cubans who have opted for the exercise of free speech and that, far from being a threat, they are humbly, but steadily, contributing to Cuba's independent civil society.
To my knowledge, bloggers are not a political party, nor does the exercise of opinion and discussion of criteria per se imply party militancy. The blogger phenomenon, however, is so varied and diverse that it does not exclude that some militant opposition member may also be a blogger, and may propose political platforms from their own blog.
However, to falsely rave against the efforts of others for petty fears of an imagined "competition" or because those "others" refuse to be spokespersons for the old opposition leaders is -- at the very least -- dishonest and replicates the government's behavior: "he who is not with me is against me." In any case, the work of the blogger supports the revival of civil society and propagates civic debates, even with the known communications limitations that exist on the Island. In a very short time, we have succeeded in filling a humble space that wasn't handed out to us and that any smart political leader should applaud, because, isn't in a free society where honest politicians earn their places? Isn't civil society the ideal breeding ground for the healthy development of the multiparty system that opponents claim to defend so much? Apparently, some "confused ones" just don't get it. It is not about digging personal trenches here and now, but about rebuilding broken bridges.
The most spontaneous, varied and steadily growing event that has taken place in recent times may be the blogger phenomenon. It isn't better or worse that the opposition movements. It simply is different. The blogger's link with Cuban society is undeniable, because our blogs are fueled by the popular beat: we walk the streets in direct contact with people, we establish links among diverse social sectors and are carriers of the feelings, concerns and dreams of many Cubans, without egging them on to wear political labels or to answer to any ideological program. The blogger phenomenon is not elitist but inclusive, and the fact that our technical support is the Internet has not prevented our efforts from becoming increasingly known and respected among Cubans inside and outside Cuba. However, we work hard, with a lot of enthusiasm and hope, because we know that the political leaders of tomorrow stand among the thousands of Cubans who read us, and among the millions who will one day be free. Perhaps they may be cleaner and more self-assured, perhaps more laborious, but, above all, I'd like to think that the best of them will feel that politics is a profession of service to the whole Nation and not a mere stage to shine among the footlights.
Follow Yoani Sanchez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/yoanifromcuba