Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cuba's Ladies in White

In today's Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O'Grady tells the story of some courageous Cuban women who have risked all on behalf of the independent librarians and other pro-freedom advocates currently imprisoned in Fidel Castro's Gulag:

When Fidel Castro ordered the lockup of 75 journalists, librarians and democracy advocates in March 2003, he made a calculation that despite an outcry from abroad at the time, his captives, sentenced to prison terms as long as 28 years, would soon enough be forgotten.

International silence has been Fidel's best friend over five decades of state terror. At home he counted on the manner of the 2003 crackdown--a terrifying wave of jackboot repression--to weaken his critics, who were growing far too brazen for his taste.

What he didn't anticipate was the bravery and persistence of the Ladies in White--a band composed of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of his prisoners--and the voice they would find, both at home and abroad, without weapons or resources.

This week, Cuba's Ladies in White were awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize honoring freedom of thought, making them the international symbol of the Cuban cry for help. They share the prize with Reporters Without Borders, which fights for press freedom around the world, and Hauwa Ibrahim, a Nigerian human-rights advocate. Cuban dissident Oswaldo PayĆ”, who won the Sakharov Prize in 2002, summed up the accomplishment of the women: "They have publicly denied the fear of repression that is felt by so many."

Ladies in White

Just don't look for the Ladies in White to be honored by ALA Council anytime soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home