Monday, February 17, 2014

Do you know who YOUR comrades are? Find out tomorrow night at the NYC New America Foundation!

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, February 18, 2014, here in NYC at the New America Foundation (RSVP here), the intrepid tech journalist Emily Parker will launch her eminently readable new book on the struggle for Internet freedom in China, Cuba, and Russia.

Entitled, Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground (Sarah Crichton Books, 2014), Parker's subtitle really highlights the unique contribution her book makes - she tells the stories and shares the actual voices of bloggers, cyber-activists, and techies in each of the three countries who are struggling on the front lines of the "Internet Underground."

Another unique thing about the book is that Parker's familiarity with and shoe-leather reporting in each of the three countries - combined with her inviable language skills and sustained friendships with many leading bloggers in each place - enable her to paint a rare comparative portrait of the unique challenges faced by cyber-activists in each country.

In short, while there is much overlap, she highlights a key obstacle or challenge in each country that characterizes the uniqueness of its own struggle for Internet freedom: Isolation in China, Fear in Cuba, and Apathy in Russia.  In fact, in her introduction she throws down the proverbial gauntlet, writing:

"Isolation, fear, and apathy keep authoritarian regimes in power.  So what happens when people overcome these feelings?"

Read the book to find out some of her answers and to meet some of the impressive activists in each country, such as Michael "Anti" in China, Laritza Diversent, Yaremis Flores, and Reinaldo Escobar in Cuba, and Alexey Navalny in Russia.

Emily Parker (left) will appear together with leading tech author Clay Shirky (right) on Tuesday, February 18, at the New York HQ of the New America Foundation.

If you can't make it to the NAF, Parker will be appearing all across the eastern seaboard this spring, including a stop at Books & Books in Coral Gables on March 6.  I imagine that she'll be there together with Laritza Diversent and Yaremis Flores - both prominently featured in her book - given that they are spending the spring semester studying at Miami Dade College!

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