Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unarmed, and Unafraid

With apologies to "The Matrix" this is what came into my head when I started seeing all the hysteria coming out of the right after they lost the battle over health care reform. Their threats of violence and mob mentality are meant to intimidate progressives. Knowing now that the current administration and congress can actually get an agenda passed despite road blocks and delay tactics, the far right are now left to show their true selves.

Being a big Matrix fan, I immediately went to the speech by the character "Morpheus" who spoke to his people ahead of a major battle with the machines who were coming to invade their home: Below is the video of the speech:

I've re-written it to make it more relevant to what's going on now...

"(Progressives) hear me! It is true what many of you have heard. The (right wing) have gathered an army (of Teabaggers) and as I speak that army is drawing nearer to our home.

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us but if we are to be prepared for it we must first shed our fear of it.

I stand here before you now truthfully unafraid!

Because I believe something you do not?

I stand here without fear because I remember.

I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me.. but because of the path that lies behind me!

I remember that for one hundred years we have fought these (right wingers)!

I remember that for one-hundred years they have sent their (mobs) to destroy us and after a century of (struggling for civil and human rights), I remember that which matters most! We are still here!

Tonight let us send a message to those (Teabaggers)! Let us shake this cave! Tonight let us tremble these walls of earth, steel and stone! Let us be heard from red core to black sky!

Tonight let us make them remember this is (America), and we are not afraid!
America is not afraid of the right or the Teabag mob because history tells us progress is continual and inevitable. The end to slavery, the suffrage movements, civil rights, medicare - all the major movements toward political, economic or health equality have been met with strong opposition and threats, if not acts of violence. These movements are now part of what makes this country great.

And while the right brandish their guns, throw bricks, send threatening faxes and try to intimidate us into compliance with the status quo, they show how deep they have swallowed the lies and misinformation of those in power, who are using them to defend their interests.

There will be no similar reaction from progressives. We shall remain unarmed, and unafraid. And we will keep working for change. Health care reform, immigration reform, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell, financial reform, and environmental protection. Because that is what a government of the people, for the people does. And it is why the majority of Americans voted for the current president and gave him majorities in both houses. This is democracy in action.

As for those who would try to stop progress through violence or threats of violence, I leave with the following Chinese proverb:

"He who strikes the first blow admits he's lost the argument."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mainstream Media Turns Blind Eye as Reporter Survives Assasination Attempt and Another Dies

2010-03-05-hondurascabrera.latribuna.jpgTwo nights ago, Mega News Nocturno, Spanish language Mega TV's nightly newscast, (where I fully disclose my wife works), reported a shocking story that stopped me in my tracks. On Monday, March 1st, Honduran reporter Karol Cabrera, host of various TV and radio news and commentary programs, was shot at close range numerous times by assassins who succeeded in murdering her driving companion and fellow journalist Joseph Ochoa. Amazingly, the whole event was recorded because Cabrera had been calling into a live radio show at the time.

The audio is bone chilling as the sounds of over 30 gunshots are heard while Cabrera's gasps and pleas for help are broadcast for all to hear.

According to reports, Ms. Cabrera had been claiming for some time to be the victim of numerous threats because of her comments against the leftist ex-president Manuel Zelaya who was forcefully removed from office in 2009. She is a supporter of Roberto Micheletti, the former national council president who was given control after the coup. On December 15th of 2009, Ms. Cabrera's 16 yr old pregnant daughter was murdered on the very same street the reporter was shot. Luckily, the unborn child survived.

What's even more incredible is that this type of violence against journalists has become all too common in Honduras. Reporters without Borders states that three journalists were murdered in 2009, and two others were kidnapped and tortured just this January after an arson attack on a community radio station.

Hearing this story, I quickly turned to the other networks to see their angle. I was deeply disappointed by the the complete lack of coverage of this tragic story in any of the American mainstream media channels.

Reporter's deaths are usually big news, and as we saw with the deaths of Daniel Pearl and David Bloom who were both killed in war zones, the media takes special care to tell stories of their fellow fallen.

So why didn't the attempted assassination of a reporter, captured in graphic detail, with a back story of murder and harassment not even make the international sections? Searching for "Karol Cabrera" on the web pages of The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, Foxnews, and The Huffington Post returned no articles written by staff or the Associated Press. Regardless of Ms. Cabrera's political stance, the attempted silencing of her voice by violent means is unconscionable, and it is equally reprehensible that the American main stream media seems uninterested.

Filling the information gap has been American Spanish language and Latino media. See below as the anchor Fernando Del Rincon interviews the reporter via phone as she recovers in the hospital just two days after the shooting. Here she states that she will have to flee the country to save her life. You can also hear the recorded audio of the assassination attempt:

MegaNews Nocturno 03.03.2010 Seg 1

Mega TV | MySpace Music Videos

While Journalism advocacy sites like Reporters without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists have written about this incident, it is not enough. Main stream media needs to step up to the plate and expose these injustices. When journalists of any country are murdered or harassed into silence, it is a threat to freedom and democracy everywhere.