Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Resistance & Oppression

First, Resistance: The Ladies in White.

Heard of them? We hadn't until this past week.


an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing. The color white is chosen to symbolize peace.

WSJ's Mary Anastasia O'Grady suggests this small movement is shaking the regime at its core in her opinion article: Castro vs. the Ladies in White. We're equally hopeful.

Laura Pollan [pictured above], whose husband refused to take the offer of exile in Spain and was later released from prison, is a key member of the group. She and her cohorts have vowed to continue their activism as long as even one political prisoner remains jailed. Last week I spoke with her by phone in Havana, and she told me that when the regime agreed to release all of the 75, "it thought that the Ladies in White would disappear. Yet the opposite happened. Sympathizers have been joining up. There are now 82 ladies in Havana and 34 in Santiago de Cuba." She said that the paramilitary mobs have the goal of creating fear in order to keep the group from growing. But the movement is spreading to other parts of the country, places where every Sunday there are now marches.

This explains the terror that has rained down on the group in Santiago and surrounding suburbs on successive Sundays since July and on other members in Havana as recently as Aug. 18.

Last Tuesday, when four women dressed in black took to the steps of the capitol building in Havana chanting "freedom," a Castro bully tried to remove them. Amazingly, the large crowd watching shouted for him to leave them alone. Eventually uniformed agents carried them off. But the incident, caught on video, is evidence of a new chapter in Cuban history, and it is being written by women. How it ends may depend heavily on whether the international community supports them or simply shields its eyes from their torment.

Here is a strong message for our fellow tea partiers: Seven years of protests before getting the most sympathetic national journalist to take notice.

Conviction, courage, perseverance.

In related news, oppression:


China's state news agency called on Internet sites Tuesday to stop the "cancer" of online rumors, in the latest sign of official unease over the rising popularity of social networking sites.

The Xinhua news agency's call for an end to online "rumour-mongering" came days after a similar warning from a senior Communist Party official and reflects the government's growing disquiet at the rapid rise of China's micro-blogs.

"The Internet is an important carrier of social information, civilization and progress. Rumours will harm the network and are a dangerous cancer," Xinhua said in a commentary published only in Chinese.

And from Reuters at Yahoo:

China wants to cement in law police powers to hold dissidents and other suspects of state security crimes in secret locations without telling their families, under draft legislation released on Tuesday that has been decried by rights advocates.

The critics said the proposed amendments to China's Criminal Procedure Code could embolden authorities to go further with the kind of shadowy detentions that swept up human rights lawyers, veteran protesters and the prominent artist-dissident, Ai Weiwei, earlier this year.

Here is a photo we snapped outside the Democrat's convention in 2008. Her pose is forbidden in China.

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