You are alive, you have to do it.
February 6, 2011 5:54 AM   Subscribe

I've never known of a single colleague who has been tortured, or who lives with the threat of death and persecution for their work, in such a confused state of mind that they believe that working in the defence of individual and collective freedoms is an act of heroism. We know full well that it is nothing more than an exercise in survival and shared dignity.

Mexican journalist, feminist and human rights activist Lydia Cacho on the motivations behind and costs of working under constant threat of death and torture.
posted by Ahab (10 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, what a wonderful piece- thank you, Ahab.
posted by pedmands at 6:31 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is irritation. It is being fed up. It is a strong sense of WTF and I'm not taking this constant bullshit. It is not being heroic and making a last stand on some lonely bloodied hill. Its the daily wherewithal to continue writing even in the face of interference and interruptions. It is not giving up. It is a choice between a soul death, trapping yourself in a tiny box and hoping no one will notice your existence or choosing your self, with its need to speak out and write about what you see and what you think when you see what you see. If choosing to exist means you will be kicked in the teeth, then so be it. For hiding yourself never did no one any good.

"Because we are all a little bit like you, and you remind us of it, when you refuse to give in, when you won't hold your tongue, and when you smile and tell us that the world is also ours." ~ Old woman to Lydia Cacho

Thank you, Ahab.
posted by infini at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Never give up on calling the good together."

"Inspire what is good so the good may inspire you."

Either or both of those may become my next tattoos. Thanks, man!
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 7:48 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks, ahab.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:26 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first I thought this was kind of self-aggrandizing, then I realized that I was wrong and was pretty off the mark.

I liked the second-to-last paragraph a lot:

Only the other day, as I was pushing my trolley along the supermarket aisle, two older women approached me and asked, "Are you the writer?" Timidly, I said, "Yes". One woman threw herself at me for a typically Mexican style embrace, informing me that her granddaughter wrote an essay at primary school on her chosen heroine. It was me. "Why did she choose me?" I asked, and she answered: "Because we are all a little bit like you, and you remind us of it, when you refuse to give in, when you won't hold your tongue, and when you smile and tell us that the world is also ours."

Great essay, great perspective, thanks Ahab.
posted by dubitable at 8:27 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, I guess that spoke to infini too...whoops! That particular line was what got me too infini.
posted by dubitable at 8:29 AM on February 6, 2011


It's hard to bear the thought that governments are embarrassed by their inability to deal with thugs; and thugs are insulted by the fair characterizations of their activities; that the two collude to silence those who reveal this. That is the nature of evil, and of cowardice.
posted by Xoebe at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks for introducing me to the works of Lydia Cacho.
Her wikpedia page, has a link to a 2007 Mother Jones interview Mexico's Most Wanted Journalist. This is a very good read as well. She is a very courageous woman.
posted by dougzilla at 10:46 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was my favorite quote:

Show them a good man, and they'll ask you to bring in a thousand more to prove that good truly exists; show them an evil man and they'll tell you he brings all human evil with him.

That's the voice of cynicism and corruption that has to be fought, constantly.
posted by emjaybee at 11:45 AM on February 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Beautiful piece, Ahab. /hippie dream start If only our foreign aid and domestic policies could help Mexico stabilize itself (also we are interconnected) /end hippie dream
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 5:04 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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