Thursday, March 12, 2009

MommaBean Stands Against Cyber Censorship

For 143 days in 2007/2008, Fouad Al-Farhan was imprisoned without charges in Saudi Arabia. What was his crime? It was unspecified, nebulous, blogging related. In short he said something that someone didn't want him to. For 143 days, Fouad's wife worried and cried, Fouad's children missed their father and wondered when he would be coming home. For 143 days, we all wondered what had happened, was happening, would happen. For 143 days, we were each reminded of the knife edge that is blogging. Bloggers who shine light on those things we would prefer to keep hidden risk many things. They risk being shunned by family and friends, they risk being ostracized by their community, and in some places they risk being imprisoned.

Today is World Day against Cyber Censorship. Fouad's story is a visceral reminder of why cyber censorship is such a danger. As Nas blogged about today, in Jordan writers rarely risk imprisonment (lawsuits maybe, but...). However, we still self-censor. That knife-edge is still too sharp. I self-censor. There are some topics I leave alone that I would dearly love to blog about. There are some topics that I wait and see what others have to say. But, the reality is that even if I choose to self-censor, I still have the ability to say the things. So, today, I hope you'll join me in condemning cyber censorship, particularly that practiced by repressive regimes world-wide.

My hope is that these regimes will come to realize that it isn't the people who openly criticize that should worry you, it's those who do it in the back alleys and dark passageways with malicious intent whom you should fear. Airing concerns, issues, and criticisms through blogging is much like airing an infected finger. It may not be pretty, but keeping it under wraps breeds an environment ripe for spread and putrefaction of the infection. Perhaps one day everyone will be able to talk without fear of state repercussions. After all, being able to say everything doesn't mean we will...

Happy uncensored speech!

2 Comments:

At 8:57 AM , Anonymous kinzi said...

"My hope is that these regimes will come to realize that it isn't the people who openly criticize that should worry you, it's those who do it in the back alleys and dark passageways with malicious intent whom you should fear."

AMEN! well said, MB!!

 
At 10:33 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Thanks. Here's to hoping!

 

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