Democracy needs voices, not silence

Capital Times
by Maya Fairchild

12/19/06

By 5 years old, living in the former Yugoslavia, I understood without question that I was never to speak to anyone about my beliefs. To do so would endanger my family. At the very least my father could lose his job or, worse, end up in prison. ... My father ... sought illegal and dangerous ways to escape the tyranny of a dictatorship. And he succeeded and brought the family to the United States. ... I was falling in love with my new country and appreciating the core values of its democracy. I understood what being free meant. But, sadly, starting in 2000 my country began to change. ... When the invasion of Iraq began I started to protest and express my opinion that the war was a huge mistake. My friends dissuaded me from speaking and asked me to support our president and our country at the time of war. The forced and dishonest smile of my childhood was back...

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