I grew up with many dark years inside and outside of myself, bloomed out of abuse in more ways than I have the gumption to ever discuss. I wore silence like a second skin because it is what was safe. Although sometimes silence eats away at your spirit and leaves behind a shell of fear. It took me many years to find my voice again, to feel as if I deserved a voice and to train my mind to not listen to the fear that my voice didn’t matter. Once I had finally found my voice and the bravery to express what was in my heart, no one could ever take that away from me.
However, I live in a country where I have the freedom to express myself. I often wonder what it would have been like if I had been through similar circumstances and yet lived in a country where I had no right to my own expression. That even the music I listened to could imprison me.
Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights activist, is currently serving time for posting anti-government comments on Twitter and participating in peaceful gatherings that are considered illegal by the Bahraini government. He is in prison for expressing himself.
Marcos Máiquel Lima Cruz, is jailed in Cuba simply for dancing to a hip-hop song that had lyrics that criticized the lack of freedom of expression in Cuba. He is in prison for dancing to a song about freedom.
What does it cost us to use our voices, voices that are Free, to stand up for those that aren’t allowed to have them? Nothing. However, standing up and saying NO MAS! and signing the Petition for their Freedom offers them the chance to have their lives back.
The average Twitter user posts 4 tweets a day (although I’m sure we all tweet more than that) and they have the Freedom to say anything. You and I, we have the Freedom to listen to the most ridiculous music and dance our hearts out to music that speaks out for Freedom, but what if you couldn’t?
Do something to end the Silence. Share their stories, Sign the Petition and don’t let ANYONE ever take your voice away. We all feel at one point in time in our lives that what we have to say seems so insignificant, but the enormity of what our voices can do (no matter how small we feel them) is insurmountable.
Every Monday in February at 11am PST, encourage your community to join @TakePart for a live Twitter chat with celebrities, experts and activists as they explore the issue of free speech. Follow @TakePart at and use #NoMas to ask your questions.
February 25th is the last day we can all get together on Twitter during the live chat with celebrities, experts and activists that are there to explore the issue of free speech and what we can do to help @TakePart.
You have a voice. Use It.
Thanks to Participant Media for sponsoring today’s discussion. This topic is very important to me, to us here on inRandom and to our country. I hope that you assist us on getting the word out! The opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.