Monday, March 12, 2007

Some People who have stood ( and are still standing...)

A cut&paste from an inspiring email from one of those who are willing to stand up........ vinaka Enuf Dictatorship....

Source: Mariane Pearl the widow of Danny Pearl, journalist who was
murdered in her writings on women around the world and
their work to help fellow citizens..such inspiring work

Global diary: Cuba

The women who dare defy a dictator
In Cuba, people have gone to prison for speaking out. Mariane Pearl
travels there and finds that the country's boldest activists are
women—and they make their point without saying a word. Watch the video
or see more Global Diary.

By Mariane Pearl

The silent march of the Ladies in White

On a bright Sunday morning in Havana, I watched as more than a dozen
women dressed in white, each carrying a pink gladiolus, marched along
Fifth Avenue, an elegant street lined with neatly trimmed shrubbery
and mansions painted in faded pastels. It was a highly unusual
occurrence in communist Cuba: a political protest, albeit a quiet one.
There were no slogans to be heard, no signs to be read. The women said
nothing, but their silence contained a significant cry for freedom.
They are known as the Ladies in White—the wives, mothers, sisters and
daughters of 75 political prisoners jailed in 2003 by Fidel Castro.
The women were demanding the release of these men from prison. You
could say they were staring down a dictator.

I visited Cuba in June—on the second stop in my journey around the
world for Glamour—just weeks before Castro fell ill and threw the
future of his regime into doubt. The protest I witnessed offered a
poignant snapshot of a Cuba closing in on a half-century of life under
communist rule. Ever since Castro came to power in the fifties, Cubans
had grown used to waiting for things—waiting in line to collect
rationed food, waiting to be reunited with loved ones who fled an
oppressive regime, waiting for the embargo imposed by the United
States to end. Waiting for history to turn this seemingly endless page
and move on. In that atmosphere, the Ladies in White represent the
rarest of breeds—Cubans who found a way to say, publicly: enough

The men they hoped to free were arrested for being peaceful activists
for democracy and human rights, according to their relatives. Some
were sentenced to up to 28 years. The government claimed the men were
dissidents whose actions undermined the Cuban regime. For three years,
the Ladies in White have marched on their behalf, almost every Sunday
after mass at the church of Saint Rita, the Roman Catholic patron
saint of lost causes. And they were still marching as of press time,
despite the political uncertainty in the country. Their gatherings
have come to embody the frustration of a people longing for freedom.

It felt odd yet reassuring to be back in Cuba on this trip. I have
family in Havana, and I have been visiting this island since I was a
child. My mother was born in Cuba, and she left in 1965. It seemed
that little had changed since then. People were warm and friendly,
quick to have a drink, dance and share jokes as if there were no
tomorrows to worry about, or simply no change in sight under Castro's

After watching the women march, I went to meet Laura Pollan, 54, a
Lady in White who is a teacher of Spanish literature, at her home. On
my way, I saw Dodges and Chryslers from the sixties, their paint
sun-bleached to pale blue and dusty red, and passed billboards bearing
slogans like "The Nation or Death" and "Capitalists, You Don't Scare

God bless Fiji!!

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