Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Generation Y

The blogosphere was here when I needed a friend.  It's time for me to repay the favor.  This is a new issue for me, and there may be pieces I'm not considering, but from what I've seen so far, it's pretty much a no-brainer.


Except for the piece about the Y's.... but I'll get to that later.


BlogHer is having a conference in San Diego next month.  There will be presentations and parties and performances and speeches and socializing and some bestowing of awards.  It's one of these awards which is prompting this post.


Seems that a recipient of the BlogHer International Activist Scholarship won't be able to attend.  Yoani Sanchez lives and writes in Cuba.  She's not that thrilled with the way things are going in the Caribbean Communist paradise, and she's not shy about sharing her thoughts.  Listen: 
The reality makes a mockery of the slogans.
Her subject matter in that post would be familiar to any American parent of a college-bound student: private tutoring for entrance exams.  


Somehow, I never thought of that as an issue in Cuba. Apparently,  I was missing the obvious.  Parents are parents the world over and each and every one of them will look for any edge possible to give that precious being, that child of their loins, that kid who didn't pay attention in class just a little bit of an advantage, a little help, a leg up in the application process.  


Here in the USofA, hiring a tutor is hardly antithetical to our national ethos.  If you have it there is no shame in spending it.  But in Cuba, where everyone is supposed to have what everyone else has, 
The reality makes a mockery of the slogans.
Yoani is a lyrical writer rather than a strident polemicist.  Leaving the visiting room at Combinado del Este prison, a scene of heartbreaking chaos, 
 I discover in this moment that something sad has established itself in me, like the weight of the bars which, since then, I carry everywhere.
She brings me along with her, she opens her soul to me, and she takes a personal risk with each keystroke.


The Cuban government is refusing to let Yoani Sanchez take a puddle-jumper-plane to San Diego in August to receive her Award in person.  There's not much that one small person can do about this, at least not while sitting at a computer trying to heal.  


But, BlogHer suggests that we blog her out of Cuba, and I'm all over it.  This is my first mention of her situation.  Why don't you click on over here to her site, and read her beautifully translated work.  I'm sure you could find it in the original Spanish if you are as talented as Niece, the Younger and would like to read it in its unadulterated form. 


The site is called Generation Y, which brings me back to the question I posed at the start of this post: what's with those Y's?  Yoani explains it in her blog's header, and once again I am stunned by how little I know of the realities of the countries closest to my own.  While we were busy with Jennifer's and Jessica's and Michael's and Christopher's, loyal Cubans seemed obsessed with Y's.  Listen:
Generation Y is a Blog inspired by people like me, with names that start with or contain a "Y". Born in Cuba in the '70s and '80s, marked by schools in the countryside, Russian cartoons, illegal emigration and frustration. So I invite, especially, Yanisleidi, Yoandri, Yusim√≠, Yuniesky and others who carry their "Y's" to read me and to write to me.
I would really like to meet her, to shake her hand, to ask more about those Y's. Too bad Raul Castro is standing in my way.
 

4 comments:

  1. It is terrible that she will not be allowed to receive her award in person. Perhaps they are afraid that coming to the U.S., she will decide to stay. Who could blame her?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good morning! Great post today.

    No idea if this will help, but I thought it might be worth a shot. You probably know (or at least suspect, ha) that Florida's got a significant Cuban population; it factors into many political calculations here at the state and federal levels. (And of course in Miami's Dade County.) I just sent an email to the Democratic US Senator from Florida, Bill Nelson, thinking he might be able to do something, y'know, back-channel(ish) with the Cuban government. We'll see.

    Here's the text of my email:

    Sen. Nelson, I'm not sure you can help. But you might be interested in this, anyhow.

    A Cuban blogger named Yoani Sanchez is fairly openly critical of the Cuban government. (Her blog is here: http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy/ )

    She has been named a winner of the 2011 BlogHer International Activist award, to be presented at the annual BlogHer meeting in San Diego CA in August. (See http://m.blogher.com/announcing-2011-international-activist-blogher-scholarship-recipients )

    Unfortunately, the Cuban government has apparently refused to grant her permission to board a plane to get there.

    I'm not sure what their objection is, or if there are international-travel restrictions that would prevent her making the trip. Still, I wondered if -- as Senator of a state with a large Cuban population -- you might be able to help.

    Thank you for giving it some thought, and thank you for continuing to represent us (your constituents) honorably in the US Senate!

    ReplyDelete
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