Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Social Networking Spurs Activism Against Repression

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the freedom-of-poke dept.

Social Networks 303

The New York Times Magazine is running a story about the rise in political activism in Egypt through sites like Facebook, which allow citizens to gather and share ideas in ways they otherwise aren't allowed. A state-of-emergency law has been active in Egypt since 1981, which, among other things, "allows the government to ban political organizations and makes it illegal for more than five people to gather without a license from the government." As affordable internet access has spread throughout the country, the government is having a much harder time keeping wraps on the ideas of dissidents. Blocking access to the sites isn't a good solution for the government, because many non-dissidents use it for mundane communications. As Harvard's Ethan Zuckerman puts it, "...doing so would alert a large group of people who they can't afford to radicalize."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That gets a lot done (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599487)

Maybe in Egypt, sure. Ever seen those 'Official Petition to Facebook to blankety blankety blank' groups? Yeah, they get a lot done. We're still stuck with the new and still much-hated format.

Re:That gets a lot done (0, Flamebait)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599569)

Unfortunately, the internet is also a splendid tool for radical groups to communicate and share techniques for murdering people. The Islamist terror sites are a case in point. MEMRI [memri.org] monitors a lot of these sites and provides translations of some of their materials. The ideas they espouse are disgusting, and yet they manage to obtain web hosting services in the United States.

If political activism is allowed in Egypt, it may unfortunately mean a conversion from a relatively secular government to an Islamic government which will be even less tolerant toward the Coptic Christian minority [wikipedia.org] . Already, they are not allowed to build new churches and are kept out of government positions. Many in Egypt fear that if free elections were allowed, the Muslim Brotherhood would quickly achieve a dominant position in their legislature. The MB is opposed to the peace treaty with Israel and their rise would probably lead to a major new war or, at minimum, new Egyptian support for Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas, which is an offshoot of the MB.

No, I fear that freedom of expression on the internet is a luxury that only the stable Western democracies and a few non-Islamic dictatorships can afford. Places like China and most of the Muslim world have very low tolerance for online organizing. Probably China could survive a democratic revolution and would emerge as an ally of the West if it did, but the Muslim world appears unready to put such power in the hands of the people.

Re:That gets a lot done (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599621)

Translation:

The people living there, if given the freedom to decide their own fate might decide to do do something I don't approve of.
Hence only I deserve such rights.

Re:That gets a lot done (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599705)

as a Vet of Iwo jima once told me. His words We fought for your right to make a choice even if I don't approve of it.

Re:That gets a lot done (1, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599845)

The problem is that they would use force against minorities, against everyone including themselves.

By your reasoning Hitler was the "rightful ruler" of Germany, and could not be opposed on the basis of what he did to his people, after all, he got their permission once.

By your reasoning Iran, even with nuclear power, is carrying out the will of it's people during it's genocidal cleansings of various minorities inside it's borders. But they chose once to start this. Now they'd chose, in a heartbeat, to end it, but they can't.

Muslims think mohamed was a good guy, THE example of a leader. Read his biography once and you'll see the problem with that. Hitler and Stalin were but cute poodles, sweet and innocent, compared to him.

If the muslim brotherhood gets control over the state of Egypt, world war III starts. It's that simple. And if Iran isn't contained soon, the same will happen.

But of course, if a few people "choose" this fate (for me and you), surely such a decision would be democratic, right ?

Re:That gets a lot done (2, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599903)

Where did I say a group couldn't be opposed later?
I'm as willing to write code to help people sidestep censorship after they've elected the nutjobs and decided it was a bad idea as I am willing to write code to help those who don't like the other kinds of repression.
If genocide becomes likely then the UN should step in, they're too slow to be much use but that's another problem.

Re:That gets a lot done (2, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599849)

Better Translation:

The people living there, if given the freedom to decide their own fate, will almost certainly call for more violence between Israelis and Muslims, leading to decades of war, in which tens of thousands of innocent people will die. Hence, they should be deprived of such rights, just as I would be, if I openly supported the murder of innocents.

You ought to learn a thing or two about that part of the world before saying that everyone should have the right to freedom of speech and expression. If the Egyptian government collapses, things between Israel and Gaza will get really bad, really fast. Sometimes it's more important to save the lives of thousands of people, rather than let thousands of other people yell hate speech.

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599937)

And to further this all talk in american media of how egyptions should have basic rights like freedom of speach should be banned since it can only inflame things further.
Sure it would hurt some americans rights but that's a small price to pay!

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599965)

...will almost certainly call for more violence between Israelis and Muslims...

Place the blame where it belongs, on those who heed the call.

No tyrant thrives when every subject says no. -- cloakable (885764)

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600085)

Translation to English:

People, if given power, will create a mob rule that will ultimately kill anyone who is any way unique or different.

See:Genocide

Re:That gets a lot done (5, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599639)

The ideas they espouse are disgusting, and yet they manage to obtain web hosting services in the United States.

Of course, it would be even more disgusting if they were not allowed to get a website BECAUSE of their ideas.

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599905)

Not at all. Get your priorities in line, man. It is MORE important that people survive than that they're free.

If they would execute their ideas, that would be much, much more disgusting than even appointing Marx himself president and congress of the united states, with Hitler as his right hand man. They do not reason, they do not even want to survive themselves. They just want death (like a certain prophet), theirs and others. Nothing more.

You just act all righteous because you don't live anywhere near them. That you don't have to live with the consequences of their "innocent little websites".

Re:That gets a lot done (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600047)

plus they hate us for our freedom!!!

Perhaps if we required everyone to wear shock collars which stunned them whenever they had a violent impulse... it would reduce their freedom but people who would otherwise be murdered would survive!
Life before freedom!

Liberty, life and property (5, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600225)

Not at all. Get your priorities in line, man. It is MORE important that people survive than that they're free.

"They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom".

Or in the South Park version:

"Gobble, gobble gobble gobble, gobble gobble gobble gobble, gobble, gobble gobble, GOBBLE!!!"

And I seem to recall a gang of rebels, oh-when-was-that-around-1776-I-think, who'd rather die at the hand of their oppressors than pay taxes if they didn't have seats in the government.

And I'm sure you can find other historic examples of people willing to die for freedom.

Just something to consider...

Re:That gets a lot done (2, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600285)

Not at all. Get your priorities in line, man. It is MORE important that people survive than that they're free.

New Hampshire State Motto:
Live Free or Die.

Not everyone would agree with you.

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600361)

Not at all. Get your priorities in line, man. It is MORE important that people survive than that they're free.

Neither is categorically more important. Sometimes it worth giving up freedom to save lives and sometimes its worth sacrificing lives to save freedom.

Re:That gets a lot done (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599761)

You may not be able to see the connection, but attitudes like yours led directly to the rise of the Taliban.

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599879)

Many in Egypt fear that if free elections were allowed, the Muslim Brotherhood would quickly achieve a dominant position in their legislature.

So freedom is great as long as it's only used to promote ideas that you think are morally OK?

Re:That gets a lot done (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600011)

So freedom is great as long as it's only used to promote ideas that you think are morally OK?

If I know full well in advance, I will never grant someone the freedom to take mine away.

For better or for worse, actions always have consequences.

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600069)

And so I must not allow them to have the same rights and freedoms that I have since if they did they might not want me to have the same rights and freedoms that they had.

Re:That gets a lot done (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600119)

And so I must not allow them to have the same rights and freedoms that I have since if they did they might not want me to have the same rights and freedoms that they had.

I said "If I know full well in advance", not that they may or might. Words DO have meaning. You should re-read what I said.

Let me give you an example. Say you have a prisoner behind bars. They do not have the same freedom that you have. However, this same prisoner has stated he will kill you just for self gratification. Knowing this, would you still grant him freedom from prison?

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600289)

Has he done anything to be in prison? If has he serves his sentence?

Re:That gets a lot done (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600005)

Militant groups? Yeah lets talk about the IDF targetting children, destroying hospitals and aid convoys. Lets talk about Israels use of WMDs. Lets talk about Hamas -the democratically elected government of Palestine and lets talk about Hamas trying to pick up the pieces and repair the grotesque acts of devastation carried out by Israels murderous armies.
 
Jesus. MEMRI? Seriously? Got a real source of information instead of an Israeli propaganda arm?

Price of freedom (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600103)

That's the price of freedom. EVERYBODY gets to speak, and there's no such thing as absolute safety. Besides, the genie's out of the bottle. Interpersonal communication will never be the same again. Attempts to try to control the Net fail time and time again. Only time can tell what will happen...

Re:That gets a lot done (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600237)

the Muslim world appears unready to put such power in the hands of the people.

Yeah, we can't let those brown people get uppity. Good thing there's a dictatorship there to keep them in line.

Doublethink (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600261)

No, I fear that freedom of expression on the internet is a luxury that only the stable Western democracies and a few non-Islamic dictatorships can afford.

Dictatorships do not like freedom of expression. Duh! Dictatorships are bad. Freedom of expression is good. How much doublethinking have you been doing to have such a twisted worldview?

Re:That gets a lot done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600291)

No, I fear that freedom of expression on the internet is a luxury that only the stable Western democracies and a few non-Islamic dictatorships can afford

Since you obviously have such great insight into what makes the vast array of cultures in the world tick, how do you propose those not "stable enough" for freedom grow into such stability?

Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599589)

Make the Social Sites the enemies. [slashdot.org]

Since you've got state-run everything, force an ungodly amount of unreasonable requests on these foreign companies, like demanding $1 Million per user from your country (or whatever worthless paper currency your country has issued).

Report to your citizens - the people you "cannot afford to radicalize" - that they (the social networks) are being unfair and stealing taxpayer money, the main cause of child rape, or some other such bullshit. Twist, lie, and contort until it fits within your cultures limits of reason.

Since the companies cannot comply with your requests, they have to block access from your country. Now, since you've gone and made them the enemy in the eyes of the people, you can make laws banning their use, blocking access to their content on a government filter, or other such nonsense. You win, because you can then limit the people to use a government sponsored social site (ie, more monitoring of radicalization), and the true radicals will be forced to use technology that will make them stand out.

It's a lose-lose situation, the perfect scenario for any overly authoritarian government.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600293)

Or they refuse to pay. If some country did that to a web company I owned I would just laugh at them.

Not all repression is bad repression (2, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599535)

To the extent that the ban of the Muslim Brotherhood (a theocratic group pushing for stricter religious rule) in Egypt is effective, I say "Bravo!". When people complain about political, religious, or other repression from a government, it's generally a good idea to find out what kind of group exactly is being repressed.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599559)

So you think that justifies the requirement of a license for a gathering of more than five people?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599561)

they should still be given the right to express thier views, stand to be elected, etc. sure monitor them invade thier privacy to prevent terrorist acts (if you must), but by forcing your opinions on them you are no better than they are.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599627)

Hitler rose to power through legal means. Also, have you not heard of the "tyranny of the majority"? Today they may be fringe groups, but under the right circumstances, given enough time, and left unchecked, who knows what could happen.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599665)

By god you're right!
Democracy and freedom of speach must be done away with!
Especially in the most heavily armed countries like the US since they would pose the greatest risk to the rest of the world if this happened.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599695)

"The screwdriver is a nuanced tool that's not right in every circumstance and should not be the only or even the primary tool in our toolbox" != "throw away all screwdrivers because they're not perfect".

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599731)

Ah I see.
So it's more like
"The screwdriver can be used to stab someone in the face, hence only I and people I like and trust should be allowed own screwdrivers"
Closer?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599813)

No, more like "we'd like to have democracy, but if you're pushing religious rule, genocide, or similar you can't come to the party, and if there are enough of you like that, the party's cancelled until things change".

These are people who have their hands out for a screwdriver that have publicised their intent to face-stab not long after they get it.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599981)

To paraphrase Churchill, free speech is the worst form of public discourse, except for all the others that have been tried.

Look, if we could censor only those people who advocate "religious rule, genocide, or similar," that would be great ... but who gets to decide what falls into those categories? You? Me? Glorious Leader? No, that's too personal. How about a committee of anonymous bureaucrats? Hey, I like that idea -- we could give it a catchy name, like, say, "The Committee for Public Safety," or maybe, "The Committee for State Security." Because that always works out so well.

There is no one person, and no group of people, good and wise enough to be entrusted with that kind of power. Good people, with the best of intentions, given the authority to decide what kind of political speech is and is not acceptable, will inevitably turn that power to evil. One day they're locking up the obvious loons, the next day they're locking up the maybe-loons, and by the third day it's anyone who disagrees with censors in the slightest. Because how can you disagree with us? We're Good! Good people don't do Bad things! If you disagree, you must be Bad!

Free speech is messy. It's often unpleasant. Sometimes it's actively dangerous. But the alternative is worse.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600139)

I disagree. Permitting people to stand for election who would commit atrocities when it's likely they would win seems far worse to me. You're right that it's hard to decide what the limits should be, who should enforce them, etc. I don't think saying there should be no such limits is sensible either though - there are limits on all democracies even in broadly democratic societies. These do not always end in disaster - holocaust denial is illegal throughout much of Europe, and no great disaster has befallen them because of that. The Supreme Court of the United States has a very delayed connection to democratic structure (intentionally) and there is a minimum age needed to become president here, regardless of popular support. Not all limits on democracy or free expression result in horrors.

In contrast to political rhetoric, in real life it's quite possible to build a good home on what looks like, from the point of theory, to be a "slippery slope".

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600309)

Many European countries have laws banning political speech that advocates fascism or the overthrow of democracy. The US doesn't have such laws, but still has laws dealing with libel, restrictions on "adult" content, and gems like the DMCA.

You seem to be saying that any attempt to restrict free speech leads to dictatorship. But in practice, there has never been a country with 100% unrestricted free speech. So where does that leave us?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (4, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600023)

Well I think people who are pro-abortion should be banned from running for office too! a genocides worth of children are killed every year thanks to them!!!
(I'm pro choice but this is as valid as your argument)
And people who think it's alright to murder other humans by running electricity though them after nothing more than a handful of others have decided that they've probably done something bad! People who support those things shouldn't be allowed run for office either!
And those communists! They want to take away my property! they shouldn't be allowed run for office either!

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600153)

we'd like to have democracy, but if you're pushing these views I don't like, you can't come to the party

Is that really what you want to say?

I agree with you in that I don't like genocide or theocracy either. However, if you truly believe that you cannot argue effectively against them in a world of free speech, I think that says more about the weakness of your own views than about how "dangerous" those views are.

And, indeed, if you're suggesting that views you don't like, or views you consider dangerous, should be silenced, how is that better than a theocracy, in which religions other than the state religion are silenced?

If someone is actually proving to be a danger -- if they are actually participating in genocide (or even a single murder), then yes, we can say they can't come to the party, mostly because we'll lock them away.

But talking about these things is not the same as doing them. Not even close.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600279)

It's closer than you'd think - we're talking about parties that say "We will institute Sharia if elected". I suggest you read about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Our tradition of debate to settle matters would not work everywhere - when you have a number of deeply religious, radicalised members of a genocidal or theocratic party, there's very little you can say to them to get many of them to change their mind. Their ideas are not usually inconsistent - you're not going to poke holes in them. They're likely to not even listen to debates anyhow - they'll listen to their media and show up on ballot day but otherwise you won't even be able to engage them. They live in a different mental world than you do - different notions of justice, of how people should relate, different norms, and they watch different news. I don't believe my views are weak, because mine are consistent too and if I had followers and were comfortable spoon-feeding them a reality I cooked up, I could. Free speech will not solve the problem of separate mental worlds though when people spend from cradle to grave in their own societies and mental worlds completely disjoint from one's own.

I used to do a lot of debates - generally when you have two sufficiently intelligent debaters with reasonably consistent positions and a debate format that prevents/discourages soundbytes, most debates boil down to differences in values, which is the limit to intelligent discussion. At that point, nobody wins by logic - at best you might sway a few people by aesthetics of your position.

On the comparison to theology, I would not say that it's necessarily better in the practice you mention of disqualifying others - I would hope it's better because of its other content though. I am not suggesting forcing politics to be deeply convergent to avoid disqualification anyhow - a society would generally want to have a pretty decent room for democratic consideration even if it doesn't allow anything. If we look at Iran, we see that their parliament and legal system have space reserved for some non-muslims even in the framework of an Islamic Republic. The Ottoman Empire was in some ways similar.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599843)

Oh, so democracy is fine as long as everyone agrees with you?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599979)

No - disagreement within certain bounds is fine (healthy in most cases). It permits exploration of various approaches to problems, provides means to limit the overambitious and corrupt, and generally makes people more satisfied with the state. Democracy has many benefits, and when possible a state would be wise to incorporate it in some form into its various institutions.

There are things that are pretty much outside the realm of democratic deliberation, and some that at least require more stringent requirements than simple majority (declaring laws unconstitutional and the greater effort needed to amend the constitution are a framework that meets this purpose).

Democracy is a nuanced, often-useful tool. It's not the "one true tool", nor is it our faith.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599999)

No - disagreement within certain bounds is fine

Right, within the bounds you are comfortable with.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600179)

disagreement within certain bounds is fine?
great! I think murder is outside those bounds and so anyone who is pro-abortion should not be allowed disagree with me and try to get murder made legal!

Or alternatively
I think forcing women to endure the degredation of being little more than an incubator is outside the bounds!
Anyone who disagrees with me should not be allowed into public office where they might make it illegal to choose to not incubate a ball of cells.

Are you getting the point here?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600197)

No - disagreement within certain bounds is fine (healthy in most cases).

Who sets those bounds?

There are things that are pretty much outside the realm of democratic deliberation

What things are outside that realm, and how do you decide?

Democracy is a nuanced, often-useful tool. It's not the "one true tool", nor is it our faith.

In fact, it is the worst system of government that has ever been tried, except for all the others. (Apologies to Churchill.)

Read your own sig. Censorship is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. Free speech, even speech you don't like, even "dangerous", disruptive speech, is difficult, messy, and right.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599661)

I disagree. I think anyone intending to create religious rule should be disqualified from being elected.

Political liberty is less important than personal liberty. Given a choice between living under a strict Sharia-enforcing government, democratically elected, and a more libertene western government with the political form of an autocracy, I'd pick the latter every time. I believe most people would if they understood the contrast. In practice, it's doable to have a democracy-with-limits.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599687)

If the world was made up of clones of you that would be great.
Why should you get to dictate what sort of leader I'm allowed want?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599713)

Why should you be allowed to elect a leader that puts an imam in my bedroom?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599763)

why should you be allowed elect a leader who doesn't let my child wear a cross to school and so damns them to hell?
(note I'm not religious in the slightest but this line of argument is just to wrong )

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599891)

Consider the alternative. Think about what it'd be like to live in a state where naming a teddy bear after Mohammad or disrespecting the Bible gets an angry mob calling for your death.

This is not the society we live in in the United States (well, not so much - some unfortunates like Matthew Shepard have found a few people willing to kill him, but their acts are at least broadly condemned, and if we look in the past, we see some pretty horrific things like witch trials that had broad-enough support to work in public).

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599983)

Or living in a state where merely walking around naked or taking pictures of yourself can get you labled as a sex offender for life!
In such places people do not deserve the right to free speach!!!

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599831)

Lets try this on other moral issues?
Why should you be allowed elect a leader who would make it a crime for me to save another human life?(anti abortionists who consider stopping an abortion akin to saving someone from being stabbed)
Why should you be allowed to elect a leader who believes me to be little more than an incubator? (other side)

Why should you be allowed to elect a leader who would make me do anything that I don't want to do?

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600345)

For the same reason you are allowed to elect a leader that doesn't.

He get to vote for the guy that puts the Iman in your bedroom, you get to vote for the guy that makes Christianity the state religion and I get to vote for the guy that outlaws religion altogether.

Although we don't have 'a leader' (I'm assuming you are talking about the president here) so it's more balanced, all of these ideas meet and somewhere a representation of all the layers of society emerges when everyone tries too find a solution that allows their group too live the way they want.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599847)

Because your leader doesn't solely belong to you. One of the central tenets of liberty is that the rights of the minority are protected against the tyranny of the majority. Of course thats a bit abstract and in practice a balancing act, but someone who says that nobody should be allowed to eat pork or drink beer is obviously violating the rights of us beer swilling bacon eaters. And of course the opposite is true, anyone who forces someone to eat pork and/or drink beer(outside of Germany of course :P) is a tyrant and should be deposed.

Plus, in my opinion the depth of your faith is inversely proportional to how much you try to push it on others. If you are really confident that your faith is the true faith, why would you need to force others to follow you? Shouldn't the fact that you can live a peaceful productive life with your faith be enough to convince others that it is the right faith? After all, if your God(s) truly are blessing the pious, then you will be rewarded in spades.
On the other hand, if you are forcing others to adopt your faith, you obviously don't believe that is the right faith but instead just want others to suffer with you.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600341)

Because your leader doesn't solely belong to you. One of the central tenets of liberty is that the rights of the minority are protected against the tyranny of the majority.

Ok.
The I'm overusing the abortion topic but why should you be allowed elect a leader who forces me to be little more than an incubator?
Or why should you be allowed elect a leader who forces me to stand idley by while murder is commited?
tyranny of the majority!!!

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (0)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599841)

I think anyone intending to create religious rule should be disqualified from being elected.

So you're saying we have to ban the Republican Party?

Oh, sorry, we're talking about Egyptian politics, not American. Never mind. Carry on.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600235)

anyone intending to create religious rule should be disqualified from being elected.

Good idea.

And while we're at it, let's ban anyone intending to restrict gay marriage. Or should we ban anyone intending to promote gay marriage?

And we should ban people who support torture, or the death penalty.

And maybe people who support raising taxes on the poor. After all, the poor need that money -- it would be torture to tax them...

I've got it! How about we ban people who want to destroy our core rights? Rights like freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of the press...

Sorry, you're disqualified from being elected. Depending on which of your posts I'm reading, perhaps you're disqualified from speaking, too.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599941)

Bad idea. Would you approve of an openly pro-NAMBLA campaign in the US? One that would include lots of photographs of NAMBlA-sactioned activities showing how decent and wonderful it can be for your son to develop a sexual relationship with an older man? OK, thought not.

How about a church sect that uses the Bible to "prove" the superiority of whites over blacks and wants to use cable public access time to preach their message? With their charitable works getting lots of mainstream coverage about all the good they are doing for the (white) community. Maybe a charity fundraiser where they auction off some black people.

A little closer to what is going on in Egypt would be if new political party came out with an clearly religious platform that included banning all religions that did not include homosexuals. With the message that by not including homosexuals these other religons were "bad for the country and must be eradicated". Burn down a few Catholic churches and Islamic mosques as a symbol of the "new order". Start a movement to teach the benefits of homosexual relations (no pregnancy!!!) in high schools. Start a movement to criminalize anything that could be called "homophobic" with mandatory psych hospitalizations until the offender was "cured".

The latter isn't that far off of what the moderate leadership in Egypt is fighting against. If they lose to the extremists, they lose the country to the 12th century. Non-Muslims will be tortured, expelled or killed. And so-called moderate Muslims will quickly find that they can either go along to get along or join the non-believers.

Why not? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600029)

Bad idea. Would you approve of an openly pro-NAMBLA campaign in the US? One that would include lots of photographs of NAMBlA-sactioned activities showing how decent and wonderful it can be for your son to develop a sexual relationship with an older man? OK, thought not.

You thought wrong. As long as the pictures did not run afoul of pornography laws. It's like making the FBI's job that much easier. The pedophiles are self identifying themselves and announcing their meetings. Let them run!

How about a church sect that uses the Bible to "prove" the superiority of whites over blacks and wants to use cable public access time to preach their message? With their charitable works getting lots of mainstream coverage about all the good they are doing for the (white) community. Maybe a charity fundraiser where they auction off some black people.

And exactly how are they going to do that without running afoul of anti-slavery laws?

Just because you are a political group does NOT mean that you get to re-write the existing laws.

And you might want to look up David Duke and his campaign.

A little closer to what is going on in Egypt would be if new political party came out with an clearly religious platform that included banning all religions that did not include homosexuals. With the message that by not including homosexuals these other religons were "bad for the country and must be eradicated". Burn down a few Catholic churches and Islamic mosques as a symbol of the "new order".

Seriously. You need to learn about this thing we call "law". Just because you are a political party does NOT mean that you get to ignore existing laws. IF you get elected (because a MAJORITY of the voters feel the SAME WAY YOU DO) only THEN can you start re-writing laws.

Until then, you can advocate whatever you want ... but you still have to obey the same laws that everyone else does.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600311)

Would you approve of an openly pro-NAMBLA campaign in the US?

Approve of what they're selling? No, absolutely not. But I would approve of their right to try.

How about a church sect that uses the Bible to "prove" the superiority of whites over blacks and wants to use cable public access time to preach their message?

There has been a supreme court case about this -- someone tried to get a show canceled on Kansas City Public Access TV. It was called, "Klansas City Kable."

A little closer to what is going on in Egypt would be if new political party came out with an clearly religious platform that included banning all religions that did not include homosexuals. With the message that by not including homosexuals these other religons were "bad for the country and must be eradicated".

Yep. Go ahead. Still just talking -- I absolutely do not agree with the message, but I'll fight to let it be told.

Burn down a few Catholic churches and Islamic mosques as a symbol of the "new order".

And this is the moment when it becomes not OK. Because this is no longer speech, it's actual vandalism, maybe violence.

Anyone actually doing this should be stopped, and punished.

But that does not remove the right of others, who are not actually burning churches and mosques, to continue spreading their message.

Free speech is messy. The alternative is worse -- your "losing the country to the 12th century" would be, largely, a loss of free speech.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (2, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599585)

Oh sure, it's fine when it's a group you don't like but

First they came for the Communists...

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599857)

First they came for the Communists...

The Communists have their own track record with repression. It isn't very pretty.

In the end, Communism collapsed on its own. There was no "them" that had any significant effect. For example, in spite of the Reagan/Thatcher claims, Communism in Poland was killed off mainly due to the efforts of a shipyard electrician [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600221)

I was expecting people to get the reference but I guess I hoped too much...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came [wikipedia.org] ...
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599699)

To the extent that the ban of the Muslim Brotherhood (a theocratic group pushing for stricter religious rule) in Egypt is effective, I say "Bravo!". When people complain about political, religious, or other repression from a government, it's generally a good idea to find out what kind of group exactly is being repressed.

They'd do better to publicize and marginalize the loony ideas of radical Islam - except then the Arab governments wouldn't be able to pick and choose the worst of the Islamic ideals in order to control their populations:

"It's all the Jews fault!"

As if it's the Jews fault that you can count the Islamic recipients of Nobel prizes on the fingers of a Thalidomide baby...

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599775)

The problem is that a number of people don't think these ideas are loony. These are not western societies where we can take for granted that enough people will be incredibly hostile to the idea of Bible or Quran specifying to great detail the shape of society that that will never happen. These are societies where such ideas could easily take hold, and in many cases, it's taken strong leaders to prevent that.

These strong leaders have not all been saints - they range from people as great as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to people as unlikable as Saddam Hussein or Gadaffi. Not all of them were adamantly anti-religious, although they stood/stand against a type of populist theocracy that's far more repressive than what they provide. Mubarak is somewhere between.

Most strong Arab governments (largely non-democratic) are quite hostile to their more radical elements, even if their own form is not particularly great. Democracy in such states would lead to disaster.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599787)

To the extent that the ban of ... a theocratic group pushing for stricter religious rule) ... is effective, I say "Bravo!".

We've got quite a problem with that in the USA but what has worked, so far, is to allow judges to "legislate from the bench". That is, you have some things (e.g. the "rights" of the individual) that are not up for a democratic vote.

When people complain about political, religious, or other repression from a government, it's generally a good idea to find out what kind of group exactly is being repressed.

In the USA, even the religious groups that are pushing hard to impose their beliefs on others also have others things that they do. Rather than "repressing" the entire group and everything they do, IMHO the better solution is to just not let them legislate their religion onto other people.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599851)

Why? I probably don't support their agenda (though I know nothing about it other than what you described), nor would I support any violence on their part to achieve it. I do support their right to say it, however, and if they can convince people to go along with it then I say the people get what they deserve. Some people are going to find that a particularly harsh viewpoint, but I hold the same one about the United States: If we vote for idiots and criminals to run our government, we deserve it when we get them. If they sweep tyrants into power, they deserve it when they get them.

I've posted this quote over and over again, but it remains relevant:

The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.

We either believe in free speech and free association or we do not, particularly when we're talking about political or religious speech. "I do, unless you say something I don't like" is, well, cowardly.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600063)

It's not fundamentalist about liberty, and it's different than the way you consider these things, but I don't understand the "cowardly" claim. I am simply moderate about democracy - I don't think it's a death pact. I acknowledge it's benefits and its flaws, and, like fire, consider it very useful in some circumstances, properly framed and used for the public good. I would rather us not think in terms of people deserving punishment because of their choices - that seems cruel to me, when we have alternatives.

Coming up with a formulation about something where you can be very binary about it "we either do or we do not" and ignore the complex interactions between things we value seems to me like it'd lead you to either an oversimplistic or confused philosophy - you can't aim to maximally satisfy many values while claiming each value is satisfied fully. Comprimise and nuance are necessarily part of any political philosophy.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600257)

And in conclusion this is why these other humans do not deserve the same rights I have.

Re:Not all repression is bad repression (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599855)

And yet, that group already knows how to get around all the restrictions. So who does it hurt? Just regular civilians.

Principle (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600061)

You've just reinforced an idea that is the reason the United States and the west in general are despised by Muslims worldwide. We have been propping up dictatorships in that area for decades, including countries like Saudi Arabia, where non-Muslims cannot testify in court, children are married off to forty year olds, and public beheadings are commonplace.

If you don't have any principles, that's fine, and at least I'm glad you admit it. But until the end of our military sponsorships of repressive governments, including the billions of dollars we've given Egypt, America and it's allies will remain the largest recipient of terror from the Middle East. If you wouldn't suffer Iran or China or Mexico propping up a dictatorship over you, why do you expect them to lay down their arms and allow you to tread on them?

According to the Declaration of Independence, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

It doesn't say anything about oppressing other nations under the pretense of security. What another country does with it's own system of governance is frankly none of our business.

Re:Principle (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600351)

I have principles. They differ from yours.

We have a choice between several options, and we should choose the one that's least bad, even if it's still not great. That's still a principled stance.

I don't believe the Declaration of Independence is the best work of political philosophy written. It was the prelude to a failed government (said government was later replaced by the constitution), but it was interesting in its ideals and effects. None of us are constrained to agree with it.

The harm to the welfare of the region from the United States is not from people acting in a principled way for our notion of the good of the world. Historically it's been from European and Americans seeking access to raw resources and other profitable things. American and British intervention in Iran (and India) was claimed to be for the good of the people, but there was very little in that claim but PR.

Hiding in the noise (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599549)

One good point about the net, once enough data is being moved around you can hide a hell of a lot in the noise without any real chance of getting caught.
building a group is where all the risk is. talking to each other can be achieved extremely covertly.

Simple Solution (1, Redundant)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599557)

Make the Social Sites the enemies.

Since you've got state-run everything, force an ungodly amount of unreasonable requests on these foreign companies, like demanding $1 Million per user from your country (or whatever worthless paper currency your country has issued).

Report to your citizens - the people you "cannot afford to radicalize" - that they (the social networks) are being unfair and stealing taxpayer money, the main cause of child rape, or some other such bullshit. Twist, lie, and contort until it fits within your cultures limits of reason.

Since the companies cannot comply with your requests, they have to block access from your country. Now, since you've gone and made them the enemy in the eyes of the people, you can make laws banning their use, blocking access to their content on a government filter, or other such nonsense. You win, because you can then limit the people to use a government sponsored social site (ie, more monitoring of radicalization), and the true radicals will be forced to use technology that will make them stand out.

It's a lose-lose situation, the perfect scenario for any overly authoritarian government.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

WraithCube (1391567) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599729)

While an interesting idea, you seem to be overlooking the fact that foreign companies with websites hosted in a different nation are under no obligation to comply with the requests. They would have no reason to block access since there would be no consequences for not blocking access. It would fall to the country and ISPs to block it without even a response from the website thus laying the blame still on the government.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599749)

Since the companies cannot comply with your requests, they have to block access from your country.

I was following you up until then. Why would Facebook (as one example) "have to block access from [their] country?" Maaaaybe if the social networking company had an office in the country we're talking about, but the vast majority of them will not -- and even if one did, that wouldn't stop all those pesky rebels from hopping on the sites that don't instead.

If I were in charge of a social networking site and some country tried that, I wouldn't be helping them out. I'd laugh my ass off. I certainly wouldn't block anybody from my site for them; if they want to control their people and disallow accessing my site, that's their problem. Not only am I not obligated to help them, it's actually against my economic (not to mention moral) interests to do so.

So far as the "main cause of child rape" thing, yeah, that's usually how governments manage censorship: They claim they're protecting you. Whether or not the people actually buy that story I'm not sure. Obviously it would depend on what the story was, who the people were and what country we're talking about. They'd have to be pretty convincing though; taking away something people care about is tricky business, particularly if the government is scared of pissing those same people off to begin with.

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599833)

Whomever marked this 'redundant' did not notice the timestamp. This post preceded the same AC comment above by four minutes. The AC should be redundant.

Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599657)

In this case, the Egyptian government wants to bring peace to the Middle East, whereas the activists want more violence. The Egyptian government has long been instrumental in coordinating peace efforts between the Israelis and Palestinians. The majority of the activists coordinating through Facebook are doing so to express their hatred of Israel, and their desire for its destruction.

There was an interesting interview with a Hamas leader on Al Jazeera not long ago. Essentially, he said that the leaders know that violence won't lead anywhere. The reason the violence keeps going is because the common people on both sides keep calling for it, and leaders who don't acquiesce are thrown out. If the same thing starts happening in Egypt, then it will just lead to more war, and more death.

We, people from more peaceful parts of the world, generally assume that more democracy is always good. We fail to realize that at times, the majority is wrong. The majority wants to kill the other side, because they were harmed, and then the majority on the other side wants to kill the first. It's self-perpetuating, tit for tat. The only way to break out is with strong leaders on both sides who are willing to step up and refuse to fight. Giving the vengeful mob tools to undermine that is not a good thing.

There is no easy solution in the Middle East, but any solution would need to start with strong leaders in both Israel and Gaza who refuse to resort to violence, not with grassroots movements calling for each other's destruction. We need to recognize that, and stop applying our own values to their situation.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599681)

Little phrasing quibble - we're still applying our own values - what we need to do is stop applying the value-conclusions that are common and more suitable for our particular situations in areas where they would actually serve our values very badly.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599751)

Yes.

I would go further and say that while the people and leaders of Israel are not above reproach, it is difficult to criticize the actions of the Israelis when faced with an enemy on their doorstep that openly calls for their extermination. If you had a neigobor you didn't like you could learn to get along, but when your neighbor starts every day by putting up a sign calling for your death it is difficult to imagine how you can "just get along".

Regardless of leadership, the people on the street in Gaza and West Bank have been exposed to an unending stream of propaganda since 1948. Why are rocket launchers in schools, hospitals and mosques? Because the average person on the street allows it. What do they really believe? Who knows? What is important is by allowing war and violence in their midst they are dooming their children to a short, brutal life.

I would say the Hamas leader is correct - violence and warfare isn't going to get the Palestinian people anywhere but if this course is not pursued the people will find a leader that will pursue it. For 60 years they have been giving guns and bombs to children and teaching them to kill Jews. I cannot imagine a solution that does not involve supervision and containment.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600037)

...the Israelis when faced with an enemy on their doorstep that openly calls for their extermination.

There are undoubtedly a small number of Palestinians in favor of "extermination" of all Israelis (and there are undoubtedly a small number of Israelis in favor of "extermination" of all Palestinians).

The much more view among the Palestinians is essentially the mirror image of the common view among the Israelis: the disagreement is whether the country located in that part of the world should be called "Israel" or "Palestine" and whether it should declare itself to be the homeland of the Jews or the Palestinians.

The obvious solution, of course, is neither. There should be one country with an ethnically neutral name that welcomes all individuals without regard to race or religion or ethnicity or culture. The problem, though, is that most people still want to live in a world of segregation and discrimination - as they say in the ancient Chinese curse: "May you get everything you want."

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599799)

I have no mod points, but this is one of the more insightful things that I have ever seen posted on slashdot.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (2, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599821)

I'm not convinced.

I still say that allowing people to speak freely is the only way to ensure peace.

Shutting people up when they spout hate only makes their cause seem righteous. By censoring them, you make them look like the good guys.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (2, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599871)

Can you give an example? We don't let the KKK spout their hate so freely any more, and it has worked wonders in diminishing their presence. It sure as hell hasn't made them look like the good guys.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600229)

Correlation isn't causation. How do you know it did anything?

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600365)

Look up the Southern Poverty Law Center [wikipedia.org] . They have launched many law suits against the KKK for hate speech leading to violence. As a result, several branches of the KKK have lost their compounds, and all of their funds. With no place to assemble, and no money to pay for advertising, their influence diminishes. It is absolutely a cause-and-effect relationship.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600243)

Actually, it was Superman. And Stetson Kennedy. Using their free speech.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600321)

We don't let them make active threats against black people, but we haven't otherwise repressed their rights to free speech. There was a KKK march near where my in-laws live around Halloween. They were granted the permits and everything with no fuss.

The local news made fun of them, though.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599989)

If a people want to go to war, then let them go to war. If they are ultimately destroyed, it will be their own fault. We place far to much blame on leaders and are far too forgiving of the followers that enabled them. It is a form of scapegoating that ironically keeps those leaders in power. It is to their advantage that a population be considered blameless, because it enables their personal wars to be made in much the same way that corporate liability emboldens unethical business practices. The rank and file have no fear of reprisal if they believe they aren't personally responsible.

Re:Unfortunately, activism isn't always good (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600135)

That'd be all well and good if the only casualties in a war were the people who called for it. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

neither is getting bombed .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600053)

"In this case, the Egyptian government wants to bring peace to the Middle East, whereas the activists want more violence"

Not at all, all the activists want is the ability to get rid of the government, like we do. And the activists in the far east wouldn't be so violent if they didn't keep geting bombed with US made phosphorus bombs [bbc.co.uk] .

the eleventh commandment: thou shalt not criticize Israel

welcome to prison planet .. (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599873)

Luckily we live the the most democratic [slashdot.org] place on the planet. Where free speech and freedom to public protect are enshrined in the constitution. Except [indymedia.org.uk] outside Parliament Square and American military bases and drug testing labs and .. anywhere else for that matter. You also risk getting arrested if you try and talk to any of the protesters. Try it if you don't believe me. One other method of intimidation is the mass photographing of protectors by the Police Forward Intelligence Team [pressgazette.co.uk] and ironically the seizure [wordpress.com] of photographs by legitimate journalists.

--

"Freedom of speech without freedom of response is meaningless"

"Without privacy, there cannot be freedom. And without freedom, there cannot be personal or social growth"

Re:welcome to prison planet .. (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600117)

One other method of intimidation is the mass photographing of protectors by the Police Forward Intelligence Team

Unfortunately that was going on before 1984 in the city where I live. There used to be an annual "peace march" which was fully authorized and had city permits. It went over a bridge to the city core and the police would be up on the roof of a building beside the bridge trying to videotape every single face in the crowd (over 100,000 people one year).

ho80 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26599951)

when IDC 8ecently flaws in the BSD

For repression proper look elsewhere (3, Interesting)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 4 years ago | (#26599957)

It isn't that there's something magical about teh intarwebs or facebook that enables these activists, the regime in Egypt is also taking a somewhat lenient approach to the whole affair. There's precious little internet censorship in Egypt (matter of fact, can't think of any real examples, not as blatant as for example thepiratebay.org getting blocked in Italy and Denmark for example).

The worst internet censorship I saw (haven't been to all the countries in the area, mind) was actually in Tunisia where bogus MSIE error pages would be thrown back at me. In firefox. Not too long after the WSIS conference in fact, to ladle the irony on. Even sites like BoingBoing was blocked, but then I can kind of understand that :) Consider also, if facebook and social networking internet-style was so effective at fostering political opposition, there's be more successful grass-roots opposition in for example Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, etc.

There's been some arrests of bloggers in Egypt, but if you watch the Egyptian blogging community it's pretty clear they can get away with far more than many other countries. Wasn't there legislation being written in Italy that bloggers were to be held up against the same laws as journos?

In any case, with internet penetration being what it is in Egypt, even a very successful digital opposition campaign will only have limited effect on a national aggregate. I wonder if the traditional coffee shop networks or SMS for that matter (if you really want something technological to tout) as a vehicle for collective social action isn't orders of magnitude more effective.

Not to rant too hard (the blogging community there sprang from the LUG I helped set up, so I got to observe in a sense), but as an experiment in citizen media the Egyptian blogging community has at the very least outdone traditional media in one respect: sensationalising. I'd be careful where I dish out my kudos, Mr. New York Times. :)

State of Emergency Laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26600059)

Jeez, the laws cited by the poster are no different to what we have in the UK to allegedly protect us from 'extremists' and 'terrorists'.

"Freedom" of assembly (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#26600333)

We have that in the US, except for when the government says you can't.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?