March 2, 2009

Shut up or else!

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Comment left on La Gringa's Blogicito:

.... "Ill make sure you have no more writting about our country, I promise you that.... "

Censorship and intimidation seem to be a popular way of dealing with the many problems of Honduras. Search the Honduran newspapers for references to attempts to censure the media and you'll find a great number during the current president's term, the latest being just last week. Attributing free speech by the media or individuals as a political or personal vendetta is another way that those with wealth and power try to convince the public that "it just ain't so."

Unfortunately for the commentor, internet censorship doesn't work, not even in China or Cuba. Where there is a will, there is a way, and attempts to censure only increase that will.

In the long run, it's really much better to deal with the problems or at least make some intelligent arguments against the things that you read that you believe are not valid rather than to try to shut people up. Most of the countries of the world have discovered that to be true.

I'm realistic enough to know that in Honduras, where freedom of expression and personal and human rights are NOT valued by those with power, shutting off internet access to my home would be an easy enough thing for any corrupto to have done. However, shutting off my ability to access the internet would be impossible.

media intimidation, HondurasOh, but maybe I misunderstood and this is a personal threat? Violence is another often used method in Honduras to ensure that crime and corruption prevail. I imagine that violence against a little housewife-blogger in La Ceiba might draw much more attention to the reality of Honduras than my Blogicito does.

Honduran journalism students
protesting censorship in Honduras
Photo: La Prensa, Honduras

Regardless of which manner that threat was intended, another thing that the commentor should think about is how potential volunteers or business owners might view such a reaction by Hondurans.

Will volunteers start wondering about their own safety or about serving in a country where freedom of expression results in retaliation? There are plenty of other worthy countries to go to. Will business owners who might help to improve the economy in Honduras think twice before moving to a country where they have to worry about the possibility of violence resulting from what they say or think?

By the way, the commentor's argument could be turned around. I see that the comment was made in New York, USA. If the US is such a terrible place as he says, why is he there? And if Honduras is such a great place, why isn't he living here and contributing to his own country instead of joining the million-plus Hondurans who have left it, most for the US, in the hope of finding a better, more just life?

Related articles:

In case anyone questions the veracity of what I say, as you should, here are some articles with links to several articles that have much more authority than I do:
Country report: Honduras

Reporter claims government persecution

Attack on freedom of expression in Honduras

A modern day heroine in Honduras (who risks her life to fight for justice and freedom of expression)

Uh-oh! We're on that slippery slope

Oh, boo hoo, everyone is against me

Cartoonist Dario Banegas

For an article which might help to understand why I write about some of the injustices in Honduras:

And, a Blogicito article that may be more to the commentor's liking:
La Gringa [censored]
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