Guillermo Fariñas Hernandez
Mr. Hernandez is dieing and it may already be too late. I am not an expert on physiology but I know that the human body is not able to go on indefinitely under extreme deprivation. For all I know his organs and tissues may be undergoing irreversible damage.
Some people may think he is insane. He is undergoing a hunger strike because of his desire to have unfiltered e-mail access to the outside world. How can a journalist, living in Cuba, possibly think that Castro would care? Certainly any educated person would see that this is hopeless. What makes him think that his death will change anything? Did he think that the media outside of Cuba would care; that the press of the free world would be moved and champion his cause? If he thought so he has gravely miscalculated.
Why does he not just stop? Why not save his own life; live to use his gifts against the regime. What is he thinking?
I think I know what he is thinking. He is thinking that there comes a time when a stand must be taken; when all hope to avoid such a stand and still be successful is false hope. There comes a time when you realize that there are things worth more than your own wellbeing or even life itself and that the success or failure of your struggle is less important than the struggle itself.
In the history of civilization there have been many like him. Most have died quietly or have been put to death by the powers of the day. They have been imprisoned, exiled, tortured, crucified, beheaded, burned alive, disposed off, or have wasted away in anonymity. They have inspired the brave and provided a cautionary example to the cowardly. Some of them have catalyzed important social and political reforms - the events upon which our civilization has been built. Most went unnoticed into obscurity.
The reason people do this is to send a message. If the message only goes as far as one's friends and family then at least the message was given. It is a simple statement; one that says "I did all that I could." Not for themselves but for everyone else. Those whose minds are enslaved by fear will say, "He did all he could and it got him nothing." They don't get the message but it is not really meant for them. Those who see something beyond their own lives as important will say "he did all he could - we owe him for that."
It is because people understand that they owe men like Mr. Hernandez a debt that they have been unwilling to accept the apathy of western journalists to his plight. They are blogging his story, hoping against hope to save his life and making sure that if he dies, the thirty second obituary that I expect most broadcasters will afford him will not be all he is remembered by.
In a time where people are considered to be freedom fighters for blowing up their countrymen and for firing mortars at people who line up to express their democratic rights. There are real freedom fighters who have integrity and honor and are ignored as not newsworthy. They are not only newsworthy, they are an inspiration and a precious reminder of what humans are capable of when they try.