Forbidden Voices


She asked only to have the same rights enjoyed by a man in her country. She took the loudspeaker to expose laws that in Iran left her defenseless and at a disadvantage against men. Blogger and feminist, Farnaz Seifi went into exile in Germany after having been arrested and threatened many times in the land of her birth. With her family victimized by growing coercion, she had to write under a pseudonym. The drama she is living is an ancient one, but she knows that the absurdity could end one day, could be over in a moment. This small hope has led her to refuse to give in, and she has joined the Change for Equality movement, created by some twenty activists. She uses her keyboard to stop the scourge, and social networks as a way to denounce the outrages many women don’t dare to speak of.

For her part, Zeng Jinyan holds on to love. That affection that joins her with Hu Jia, the famous defender of human rights in China. Her husband has systematically denounced the mistreatment of people with AIDS and the environmental damage in a country where a single party promotes a single version of reality. Through the Internet, Zeng has related her most difficult moments in recent years, the detention and imprisonment of her husband, the long days of house arrest she and her baby have been subjected to, and the tender embrace of her husband when he was freed. Technology brings curious paradoxes; it prevented her from leaving home, and yet cyberspace shortened the distance between her and her readers.

I have been placed alongside these two wonderful women in a documentary that examines the use of new communications media as a weapon against censorship. Under the title “Forbidden Voices,” the Swiss director Barbara Miller has collected images, interviews and domestic scenes that show the human being behind a Twitter account, the person whose virtual presence is much freer than her real one. So this is an accurate story of four women, three of them eager to find respect and space in their respective societies, and a fourth, the author of the film, making use of her lens and great patience to express visually her own rebellion.

59 thoughts on “Forbidden Voices

  1. I wonder if it’ll go through this time…

    I am ignoring id***s like the post 29 and 30, who were told about their own st***ty by one of their own in post 48 !!!

    Always fun to se how they themselves NEVER stop to think before writing or talking, but are ALWAYS FIRST to tell ME that:

    Anónimo
    Junio 19th, 2012 at 19:43

    The names on the fake posts are GRAY rather than BLACK.

    So, if theyse losers were NOT stu**d, they would have noticed that and realised that the “friendly” impostor…, sorry, translator…

    C O U L D

    distinguish her own posts from mine.

    Just by looking at them.

    And, of course, I also told her what the difference is, so why are these posts still up?

    Oh, I know !!!

    She must have BLOCKED herself!!!

    Fair punishment.

  2. Yo creo muy importante que otras voces hablen, pero que se acerquren a la realidad de los cubanos, con lo bueno, lo malo y lo regular. No decir lo que los oidos de los que no viven en Cuba quieren escuchar, No se porque tantos premios a alguien, que por las razones que sea no es leida por los cubanos, que como es sabido no acceden a Internet. Para quien entonces escribe ella.

  3. To :”friendly translator”:

    You are a liar and a hypocrite.

    The posts from an impostor using my name are still not deleted.

    I gather they are yours. Just as are the posts from “anonimo”, “bluey”, “help” and similar “loudspeakers”.

    When I’m right, and that’s always when the opposition is of wrong wing calibre, I’m just right.

    Aren’t I.

  4. SORRY! BUT VERY FLATTERED THAT COMMENT #66 IS NOT LITTLE OLD CALIFORNIA QUEEN ME!! JE JE JE!

  5. “A Cuban official said Wednesday that the country has strict controls to avoid money laundering ”

    I think he meant “strict controls to hide money laundering”

    So if I understand recent news:

    1) US banks, which Marxist nutjobs tell us is against Castro, helps Castro launder money and only get a slap on the hands when they get caught.

    2) For decades Castro’s agents in the US have been defrauding the US medicare system out of millions of dollars and sending the money to Cuba.

    I want to make a bet: none of this is going to stop. Any takers?

  6. LETS NOT FORGET HOW GOOD THE CASTROFASCIST WORD IS AS WELL AS THE RECENT SCANDAL ABOUT THE ING BANK BI-PASSING “EMBARGO” RESTRICTIONS!

    SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: Cuba defends its banks amid Medicare fraud case -PETER ORSI

    HAVANA (AP) — A Cuban official said Wednesday that the country has strict controls to avoid money laundering and works closely with banks to detect and deter fraudulent transactions, responding to allegations by U.S. prosecutors that millions of dollars defrauded from Medicare were routed to the island’s financial system.

    The statement from Johana Tablada, deputy director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, came in response to a request from The Associated Press after a Cuban-American man in South Florida was ordered held in the case this week.

    “Foreign commercial banks that maintain accounts in Cuban banks are obliged to operate in strict compliance with international and Cuban rules and must guarantee the reliability of their transactions and the correct use of their accounts,” read the statement emailed to the AP on Wednesday.

    Tablada did not directly address whether any money from the alleged Medicare scam has been deposited in Cuban banks. She said that while Cuba works with foreign banks to fight money laundering, Washington’s 50-year-old economic embargo prevents it from doing the same with American banks.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Cuba-defends-its-banks-amid-Medicare-fraud-case-3649316.php

    (Reuters) – ING Bank NV (ING.AS) agreed to pay $619 million to settle U.S. government allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and other countries. It was the biggest ever fine against a bank for sanctions violations, officials said.

    U.S. authorities said ING moved $1.6 billion illegally through banks in the United States from the early 1990s through 2007 by concealing the nature of the transactions.

    ING eliminated payment data that would have revealed the involvement of sanctioned countries and entities, according to authorities. The bank also told clients how to evade computer filters designed to prevent sanctioned entities from gaining access to the U.S. banking system. And it provided U.S. finance services to sanctioned entities through shell companies and misuse of an internal ING account.

    Amsterdam-based ING said in a statement its banking unit took a provision in the first quarter to cover the penalty, and that it had taken steps to improve its compliance. It closed its representative office in Cuba in 2007 and terminated its relationships with sanctioned banks.

  7. Damir post my IP address. You’ve claimed that you can find out about other debaters Ip addresses. Come on show us hot smart you are.

  8. THE CASTROFASCISTS SURE HAVE A “CARA DURA”!! THEY ARE CYNICS AND HYPOCRITES, TALKING ABOUT BEING THE VICTIMS OF CENSORSHIP! THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA HAS A HUGE HISTORY OF CENSORSHIP AGAINST ANYONE WHO STRAYS FROM THEIR PARTY LINE!

    AFP: Citing sanctions, Google blocks Analytics tool in Cuba

    Cuba on Tuesday accused Google of “outrageous censorship” after the US Internet giant blocked access to a web traffic analysis tool to comply with US sanctions against Havana.

    Google Analytics, a free tool allowing website operators to see when people visit and from where, stopped working in Cuba after a software update that brought it in line with US restrictions.

    “As a US company, we comply with US export controls and trade sanctions that limit us from offering certain services in certain countries,” Google said in an emailed reply to an AFP inquiry.

    “In order to abide by these laws, our terms of service have always prohibited the use of Google Analytics in sanctioned countries,” it said. “There’s now a technical block in place as well.”

    The list of countries where Google products or services face sanctions included Cuba, Burma, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea.

    Efforts to access Google Analytics in Cuba on Tuesday were met with a message referring people to a website for the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control, according to state-run media website Cubadebate.cu.

    Cubadebate branded the move by Google as “outrageous censorship” and slammed the “injustice” of being unable to access other Google services such as maps and search engines.

    US sanctions have been in place against Cuba since 1962.

    Limited political debate in the Communist-ruled island nation is carried out on blogs and social networking websites, but opposition to the ruling party is banned and the media is under state control.

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?section=technology&xfile=/data/technology/2012/June/technology_June24.xml

  9. In reply to Yoani’s tweet in case she can read these comments, it is being widely reported (and confirmed by the Caribbean Basketball Confederation) that 5 Cuban players have defected from the men’s basketball team in Puerto Rico. Someone may wish to tweet Yoani with the news.

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