Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goodbye to the Blog: The Digital Controversy

Goodbye to the Blog: The Digital Controversy / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

When a friend leaves… says a song performed by Alberto Cortez, it gets
the tears flowing in anyone. Well, that sorrow of goodbye referred to in
the song occurs not only when someone very close leaves. It also hurts
when we have to say goodbye to people we don't know physically, but with
whom we've shared the vast space of the Internet. People we have read
and followed on the web and with whom we've even had opposing positions
on many topics. This is the case with Elaine Diaz, who just announced
the end of her blog, The Digital Controversy. After five years of
publishing on that "most personal, subjective" site, the journalist has
decided to close it and devote herself to teaching and research. A loss
to the plurality of the blogosphere in Cuba.

Although she never responded to our invitations to exchange opinions
with the bloggers of Cuban Voices, this does not diminish my sympathy
for her. Nor did the snub of not accepting a special mention in the
Virtual Island competition take its toll on the respect many of us
profess for her writing. I didn't even stop reading her, and I defended
her against multiple detractors, when on more than one occasion she
launched the hackneyed barrage of official accusations against me. Much
less did I let her her dismal performance on State Security's television
program "Cuba's Reasons" cloud my enjoyment of her sincere, brave,
youthful posts. Because in Elaine Diaz I saw something of the
twenty-something Yoani Sanchez I was, with the illusion that the system
could be reformed from within. To approach her prose was to journey into
my own past.

Sadly, the blog The Digital Controversy has said goodbye to its readers.
And although the author's explanation refers to new professional paths,
it's hard to believe it's only about that. Elaine Diaz has transgressed
the limits of criticism permissible to anyone working in the official
media or in an academic center in Cuba. I remember, for example, her
denouncing the corruption in the high schools in the countryside (parts
I, II, III, IV and V ), where she touched on the strategic issue of
educational quality and the loss of values among teachers and students.
Also on this list is a magnificent report from her keyboard about the
social and environmental damage caused by generators in her village
(parts I, II, III and IV), where questions about the sacrosanct "Energy
Revolution" are posed directly to Fidel Castro. The final blow was
perhaps her Twitter call, under the hashtag #nolesvotes, to stop voters
from endorsing the members of the National Assembly who don't represent
the interests of the people.

The outcome was as expected. We can only hope that some day this young
woman will again have a virtual space, without limits, without fear of
approaching anyone to debate an idea; without having to make any
concessions to censorship. I think that to read Elaine Diaz at this time
is, for me, like a journey into the future.

23 August 2012

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