"Oh, my big mouth."
"He sure did stick his foot in his mouth."
"I'm eating my words."
Sometimes expression can come at a price. Mostly, it's benign--a social faux pas that becomes water under the bridge. But expression is still risky, in whatever form it may take. There's a chance that one might offend, and then what will the offended do? Navigating formal and informal conjugations in Spanish-speaking cultures is a familiar expressive minefield for anyone deciding on how to address a person. Tú or Usted? What is the price if I slip? Again, those social situations can be readily smoothed out and rectified. Expression may have its pitfalls, but they often turn out rather insignificant.
But expression can come at a much bigger price, especially for those whose statements reach an important audience, with a message carrying controversy's potential. In Mexico alone, nine journalists paid the price of their lives in 2006 for speaking out about drug-trafficking and social violence. Others are missing. Some are burdened by accusations and threats. Lydia Cacho, having published Devils in Eden and subsequently exposing the involvement of powerful social and governmental figures in a ring of child pornography and prostitution, was arrested without a subpoena, sued for defamation, and threatened to be thrown in jail to be beaten and silenced by some of the very people about whom she had written.
Fortunately for artists, the risks in this country are much less severe, or perhaps they are only less documented. Freedom of expression has flourished considerably since Fox took office in 2000, but the dangers of freely speaking will likely never disappear.
And so it is in too many other countries, to much more worrisome degrees. Fortunately, organizations exist and continue to form with the determination to foster both free speech and safe lives for the speakers. And I'm speaking out for them, directing you over to this page's left-hand column. Beneath the quotes is a heading entitled "Network for Good," and a link to "My Charity Badge." By clicking that link, you'll be directed to freeDimensional's badge, a vehicle for donating to four charities that work toward expression at less-costly price. The opportunity for supporting these organizations is priceless, however, and I encourage you to investigate and choose to donate to their cause. Being connected more personally to freeDimensional Inc., it would be fantastic to see it's support grow.
And the badges that raise the most funds before the end of March will receive matching funds of up to $10,000 from Six Degrees.
It seems that Network for Good is allowing better freedom of expression to come at a monetary price, too. It's worth it. And pass the word on--it can do a world of good.