02/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Laughing in the Teeth of My New "Minders": Two Security Agents who Follow me Everywhere

Victim? No. Responsible.


I could spend the day scared, hiding from the men stationed below. I might fill pages with the personal cost this blog has brought me and with the testimonies of those who have been "warned" that I am a dangerous person. It would be enough for me to decide that every one of my articles would be a long complaint or the accusing finger of one who always looks outside to find fault. But it happens that I don't feel myself a victim, but responsible.

I am conscious that I have been silent, that I have allowed a few to govern my island as if they were running a hacienda. I pretended, and accepted that others will make the decisions that touch us all, while I shielded myself behind the fact of being too young, too fragile. I am responsible for having donned my mask, for having used my son and my family as a reason not to dare. I applauded--like almost everyone--and left my country when I was fed up, telling myself that it was much easier to forget than to try to change something. I am also burdened with the debt of having let myself carry--sometimes--the rancor and suspicion with which they marked my life. I tolerated their inoculating me with paranoia and, in my teens, a raft in the middle of the sea was a frequently nurtured desire.

However, as I do not feel myself a victim, I raise my skirt a little and show my legs to the two men who follow me everywhere. There is nothing more paralyzing than a woman's calf flashing in the sun in the middle of the street. Nor am I wooden like a martyr, I try not to forget to smile, because giggles are hard stones in the teeth of the authoritarian. So I continue my life, without letting them turn me into a whiner, with only one regret. Ultimately, everything that I live today has also been the product of my silence, the direct fruit of my former passivity.

Yoani's blog in English translation is here.