Friday, July 18, 2008

That Which Will Not Be Named

I wasn't going to post about this but I can't get it off my mind. I wasn't going to get into this as it may bring upon me exactly what I don't want it to and I know this will be a tricky entry to write. What the heck are you getting at Canucka, you say? Fear, free speech and self censorship, that's what I am getting at.

It is not unusual for me to receive emails from readers with "warnings" or gentle reminders that I might be at risk with some of the things I write about. When this first started happening, I kind of "pshawed" at them, but the more I read, the more I wrote and the more emails I received, I realized there is some truth to the matter. I, as a foreigner in Mexico, do not have the freedom to write about everything I would like to. If I say anything negative about politics or the government or the country and it comes to the attention of the wrong people, there is a chance that I could be in danger of deportation (or worse).

This realization makes me fearful, sad and angry. The realization that I censor myself on a regular basis makes me ashamed. If you know me "in real life", you know that I don't hold back, I let it all fly, the good, the bad and the ugly, so I feel like my fingers have been bound when I find myself not sharing what I really want to share. I haven't stopped posting news items entirely, but I am very careful of how much I do write and how much of my own opinion slips into the blog. I suppose that's how a journalist has to be. I do not consider myself a journalist though, I am a blogger. A blogger should get their facts straight and cite their sources, but a good blogger adds their own spice, their own feelings on what they are writing.

I have so many unwritten entries in my head, so many things that I would like to share with my readers, but I have been tamed. I have a lot of things to say about (insert hot Mexican topic here) but I have to keep quiet. I know the warnings come from somewhere real, I know of situations where more than warnings (threats) have been sent and I know enough not to spout off. But that doesn't make me happy about it.

(CC hopes this post doesn't get her in trouble)


Anonymous said...

Sad that you can't say what is the truth. I'm happy that you keep us informed of the happenings in Cancun, but your safety is the most important. You do a great job.
KW from Michigan

Islagringo said...

welcome to my world kiddo.

Anonymous said...

I kept a blog on myspace when I was doing Mahahual hurricane relief, which was relatively secure, viewable only by friends. When I switched to wordpress and went public, some of those blogs definitely didn't make the cut. And generally I stick to the light stuff.

I don't blame you one bit.

Jonna said...

You are right to be concerned, that's the unfortunate truth. I think all of us censor what we say for many reasons. From the fear of real danger to the fear that your mom will read it :)

I read some blogs that are anonymous, mainly they are about their lives, loves and jobs. There is no reason though that they couldn't also be about politics and scandal.

What I find interesting is that in anonymous blogs, there is a lot more harsh, in your face reality. Of course, there is also the potential for a lot more BS and bias.

In these days of free hosting and anonymizers, it would not be difficult I think to establish many anonymous blogs. If the link is sent to regular posters and commenters, or if the name of the blog made it easy to find in a search for the area, who is to know who wrote them?

It would frustrate the official lurkers, perhaps be good in that some vital information got out. I'd suggest hosting it in a 3rd country, not this one, not the one you are from and perhaps not one that is even close by.

Fned said...

Hi Canucka,

I know how you feel even though I am not in the same situation at all. I'm sorry you feel you can't write what you'd like and that you often have to censor your posts.

I agree with Jonna when she says that a lot of times us bloggers censor ourselves even if we are writing from a country that respects freedom of speech. For example, even though I sometimes feel it would make an interesting topic of conversation, I intentionally avoid blogging about race or arab/jewish issues even though I am constantly being bombarded by such topics living here.

In a way, I guess I do this because I prefer Fned's Blog to stay neutral and avoid any direct confrontation. I don't mind doing tackling these sort of subjects in real person, where I usually tend to stand my ground and be able to argue a viewpoint, but doing it in writing, not knowing who exactly is reading out there... I guess it's a lame gutless excuse.

I truly admire your courage for trying to write up more interesting posts than the average "today I went to the supermarket and bought bananas" post.

Maybe you should write to newspapers like La Jornada and offer to blog on their website! That would definitely give you the "legitimacy" to say what you want (or almost!).


Brice said...

Your safety has to come first. Say what you need to say, but do it carefully. Or email to a friend who can say it for you...

Anonymous said...

I think all of us blogging in Mexico have to censor ourselves to some extent. At least you shouldn't write about the crap with the Cuban-American mafia, those people are dangerous.

I've gotten a couple of death threats and more than a couple of "fuck off and die you stupid bitch" emails. But after what I've lived through here my attitude now is "prove it or shut up".

Alex said...

They can't deport you, can they?? I mean that is just wrong!!! I could see why some people might raise they eyebrows just because there are square minded people everywhere but to go any further and send you emails and all.. ugh that is such an embarrassing thing to do... (and lots of spare time I might say)

As a Mexican, it bugs me when I read people taking nonsenses about my country, criticizing just for the sake of it, but as far as I've read your blog, you give both sides of the story, the good and the bad and THAT is the right thing to do.

I think if you want to blog about certain topics and don't feel comfortable doing it here, try Fned's suggestion!

Jorge said...



This sucks but it is a reality.
We don't want you to be in danger or leave us here frijolera.
Freedom of expression should be universal.

Love you and keep blogging!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Yup, that is why my blog is of the today I went and bought bananas variety. Actually, it's not in my personality to be controversial so it may be easier for me.

Kathy said...

I don't think I've ever disagreed with Jonna and have always been so impressed with her wisdom. She is so spot on - as is Wayne. :)

I totally censor myself but I was censoring long before we came to Mexico. I don't blog about Jamie (unless it is particularly benign, like his lousy (he doesn't know I post here and DON'T YOU TELL HIM JONNA) driving and I don't blog about the kids except in a general way. Pikey will veto any pictures he is in that he does not want uploaded but the others don't seem to care so much.

I learned a good lesson when I blogged about a friend who was traveling with us (not knowing he knew of the blogs existence).

Since I pretty much just write for my immediate family (and for a travel record and record for the kids) I try to keep the content away from intentional or unintentional injury.

Now lets get back to the real news. Ninety-four EL. (those Meridianos have no idea what I'm talking about)

Kathy said...

Hey, how is your energy level?

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Hey! Us Meridianos watch the weather too!

CancunCanuck said...

A note to all, I have not forgotten about responding to comments, I promise to come back later and address everyone! I appreciate everyone's feedback but I know sitting down to write individual replies is going to take some time and thought and I only have a second here. Just wanted to let you all know that it's on my "to do" list and I won't leave you hanging much longer.

Kathy said...

(blushing face icon)

Sorry, Theresa. :)

CancunCanuck said...

Ok, finally have a quiet minute to sit down with this one for some reply comments. My brow still furrows to think about the subject, but I will plow on with a positive attitude as best I can!

KW- I try to keep folks informed as best I can without sharing negative opinions. This is not always easy and therefore a lot of topics I won't touch with a ten foot pole. I am happy to answer emails if anyone stumbles on a news story that they would like to know more about or get a translation of or a local's perspective, but I do feel as though I have to limit my thoughts and opinions on the blog. Reporting is one thing, saying how I feel about it is a different matter.

IslaGringo- I'm with you. Since we've chatted about this off the blog, we'll leave it at that, si? :)

Heather- I totally get why you keep it light and usually I try to do the same, but something just can't stop my fingers from typing when I see something that strikes a chord in the news, especially if it is going to affect tourists coming here. But that is the problem, "they" don't want the tourists to know what's up, they just want the picture postcard views out there. I'm happy to provide that as well, I love the area and Mexico blah blah blah, but I feel this compulsion to write "the other stuff" too.

Jonna- LOL, yes, a lot of personal stuff doesn't get on here for the fear of family reading it. I'm thinking about an anonymous blog, but I am not sure if I would be able to keep my identity any great secret. Changing my name and blog name are one thing, but trying to hide a writing style or photographic style or even basic info "foreign woman in Cancun with kid" would make me fear that my attempts at being anonymous would be seen through. IP addresses are easy to track, though Hacker Hubby says he can hide that for me. It's under consideration.

Fned- I had an offer to write for a website (and be paid, gasp!) but I actually declined. I was still THAT nervous about writing about the Mexican news and that's what this site wanted. Real news, with an opinion, they were looking to stir things up and get a lot of commenters. I do try to avoid confrontation and after checking out this site (which would have paid, lol), I chose not to enter into the fray. (La Jornada, maybe, but they'd have to pay for my Spanish lessons!)

Brice- Not a bad idea on emailing a friend to do a "surrogate post". My safety and that of my family does come first so I am watching my back.

Anon- I agree, all of us are censoring, if we weren't I know we would see a lot more stories about the government and the problems it's having. Sorry to hear you've received threats, though I am not surprised (not because I know you or what you write, but because of the nature of where and what we are writing about). I'd still be careful, I understand the frustration and the need to say "Prove it", I just hope you can keep yourself safe as you are doing that! Rock on anonymous Mexican blogger!

Ale- Yes, they can deport me, for no reason at all actually. (See Jorge's comment with the quote from the constitution). I love Mexico and I believe this blog is heavily on the positive side of things, but some things just must be said and they are not being addressed. I am not a critical person by nature, but I am curious and interested in politics and therefore some criticism is going to come out, but never criticism for the sake of criticism. I try to be balanced and fair and when I do attempt to tackle a sticky subject, I try only to report the facts as presented by other news sources and keep my opinion to myself. Unfortunately, opinions can be read between the lines, but as long as I don't outright say something critical, I feel like I am a bit protected.

Jorge (Hubby)- Mua, thanks sweetie, I don't wanna go either! I know my blogging makes you nervous, but I hope you can see that it is a positive thing.

Theresa- You are such a kind and gentle soul, I can't see you "bitching" about anything! Your blog is very representative of your nature, a lovely, peaceful yet fun read. I love to hear about your bananas. :)

Harvestmoon- Censoring yourself about family stuff, I get that! I am super careful not to blog about friends either, I know there are lots of lurkers who live here who read and discuss with others so I would never really get into stuff I wouldn't want my friends to read or know about. I don't post friend pictures, not without permission anyway. The censoring of the "Mexico stuff" is what hurts sometimes, but I am trying to meditate my frustrations away, oooohhhhhmmmmmmmmm. (The energy is picking up a little, I started taking Vit B plus iron, see if that helps at all).

Thanks to all who commented. This is a tricky subject and one we must be careful of talking about. Funny, we have to be careful about talking about being careful. Sigh. And life goes on.....

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