October 22, 2011

My ripples will continue

How does an 'activist' blogger know when she's doing a good job? When people try to stop her or intimidate her.

censorshipReporters without Borders (RWOB) ranks Honduras as 143rd of 178 countries in their 2010 Press Freedom Ranking. While RWOB often sites government intimidation, many journalists and bloggers freely admit to self-censorship for various reasons, including personal safety, job security, business or organizational interests, and others.

I use the pseudonym 'La Gringa' for obvious reasons — and note that this is very different from an anonymous poster who could be one of millions of anonymous posters. 'La Gringa' is my internet persona and wherever you find me on the internet, you find the same person, with the same thoughts and beliefs. There is no intent to deceive, to abuse, or to pretend to be someone else.

speak no evilI may only be one grain of sand in the ocean but using a pseudonym allows me the freedom to speak more openly than I would otherwise. I won't bore you with stories of the attempts to intimidate or threaten me over the years. Suffice it say that those who don't agree with me but are intellectually unable to argue their own position often resort to vulgar language, name calling, intimidation, threats, and even impersonation in an effort to silence my voice.

I have had an account on Facebook for three more than four years, with almost 1,200 friends. After posting the first three articles of my Honduras crime series, someone filed a complaint about my user name which resulted in Facebook disabling my account. Although I don't have much hope that Facebook will reverse their decision, I have appealed with the message reprinted below.

Additionally, an online petition was started on my behalf to request that Facebook restore my account. I would appreciate it if you take the time to sign it. We can disagree with one another's opinions, but when we start interfering with other's right to speak their opinions, we are on a slippery slope.

I have several more articles in the crime series to post and I will post them. I hope that readers will share them on the various social services so that they get the widest possible audience.


To Facebook:

I would like to ask that a human being review this appeal of the unjust disablement of my Facebook account.

I am a serious, long-time blogger (since 2006) who lives in the most dangerous city in the most dangerous country in the world according to the United Nations - Honduras, where 17 journalists have been murdered in the past 2 years, and where many reporters are afraid to write about organized crime or political matters.

I use a pseudonym, as many authors do, not to deceive, but because it is the only way that I can exercise my freedom of speech without fear of serious reprisals. My articles have been published all over the internet under that pseudonym.

This week I started writing a series of blog articles about crime and narcotrafficking in Honduras — and that is likely what prompted the complaint about my account, just as postings of my political articles were blocked by Facebook for a time last year and the year before because of false complaints.


My history on Facebook should show that I am not a "fake" or a spammer. I have almost 1,200 Facebook friends (most of them for 2 years or more) under the only name by which I am known in Honduras, the US, Canada and Central America. My FB friends and 1,400 blog followers understand the reasons why I must use a pseudonym.

By asking for a copy of my ID, Facebook is asking me to put my life in danger. By disabling my account, Facebook is silencing one of the few internet voices in English in Honduras.

I hope that you will take a serious look at my account and consider reinstating it.


Please sign the online petition here. Your name can be hidden from pubic view if you desire that.


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