Group sitting at cafe overlooking the White House

Os novos inimigos da esfera pública

NOVA IORQUE – Antes dos ataques terroristas de Novembro em Paris, era lícito realizar uma manifestação numa praça pública da cidade. Agora não o é. No Uganda, embora os cidadãos que faziam campanha contra a corrupção ou a favor dos direitos dos homossexuais fossem muitas vezes confrontados com um público hostil, nunca foram presos por se manifestarem. No entanto, ao abrigo de uma nova lei assustadoramente vaga, agora poderão enfrentar penas de prisão. Recentemente, no Egipto, as autoridades governamentais invadiram e encerraram instituições culturais proeminentes (uma galeria de arte, um teatro e uma editora) que outrora serviam de local de reunião de artistas e activistas.

Parece que em todo o mundo se erguem muros em torno do espaço de que as pessoas necessitam para se reunir, associar, expressar livremente e manifestar a dissidência. Embora a Internet e as tecnologias da comunicação tenham tornado a expressão pública mais fácil do que nunca, a omnipresente vigilância estatal e comercial garante que o direito de expressão, associação e protesto se mantenha condicionado. Em síntese, "levantar a voz" nunca exigiu tanta coragem.

No meu caso, esta alteração atingiu-me em cheio. Em Novembro, a Open Society Foundations (a organização de filantropia mundial de George Soros que dirijo) foi a segunda organização a ser integrada na lista negra no âmbito de uma lei russa promulgada em Maio que autoriza o procurador-geral do país a proibir as organizações estrangeiras e a suspender o seu apoio financeiro a activistas locais. Uma vez que qualquer pessoa que se envolva connosco está sujeita a ser eventualmente jugada e detida, não tivemos outra alternativa senão cortar relações com dezenas de cidadãos russos a quem apoiávamos nos esforços envidados para preservar alguma réstia de democracia no seu país.

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