A Memorable Evening / Miriam Celaya

Yoani junto a un grupo de amigos. Ceremonia de premiación del 7 de enero de 2011
Yoani with a group of friends. Prize ceremony of January 7, 2011

Last Friday, January 7, in a simple and warm ceremony attended by her friends and family, Yoani Sánchez received the Prince Claus Award from Mr. Ronald Muijzert, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After the words of Ambassador and his reading of the opinion of the jury that awarded the valued prize to our noted blogger, Yoani read her brief speech. It was an electric, vibrant address that permeated deeply into everyone’s hearts. Far from corny and trite, far from complacency and self-pity, the words of this “little blogger” — as she is often called — were also a prize for those gathered there, dedicated to also recognizing the support received from her traveling companions, and calling us together in our differences, in the new challenges we face, this year and in the near future.

When I hugged her, shortly afterward, she was trembling. Nervous, emotional, and happy, with the joy of one who has received compensation for the many days of work, dedication and dreams. She has a head full of projects, a bright outlook, and a soul full of confidence. At least that is the spirit transmitted to me by this young friend, an untiring girl who almost doesn’t sleep, a girl who seems moved by an energy greater than her fragile figure.

And so I think it was precisely her speech that was the memorable touch of the evening, because from my personal experience I know that every one of Yoani’s dreams is usually quickly converted into a kind of “Utopia realized” followed immediately by another and another; because her words find an echo in those of us who have hopes and who are convinced that the Cuban we want will our own achievement: this exercise of faith that allows us to get up every morning and take on the demons of disinformation, the lies, exclusions, isolation and the fear, in pursuit of a freedom long-awaited.

Listening to Yoani on this pleasant celebration of January 7, also evoked the recent past, when we were just a handful of six or seven friends, I was still “Eva González” and the blog Generation Y was beautiful creature, recently born. So many experiences since then, so many friends, so many emotions, so many hopes! Just over three years have passes, but I always remember like a gift to my spirit, that question with which Yoani — perhaps naively, perhaps with mischievous intention — infected me with the blogger virus: “So why doesn’t Eva open a blog?” That day, between doubts and enthusiasm, I answered that I would; but now, when my humble blog is reaching its third birthday, I would like to dedicate to Yoani another word that rises from my heart: Thank you!

January 11 2011