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Crushing of dissent
January 11, 2004 10:19 AM   Subscribe

The Internet is now basically banned and controlled for all but the elite in Cuba. In Iran, an unelected body has eliminated hundreds of reformist candidates from the general elections. That's what stiffling of dissent looks like. Stare it in the face, and ask your politicians and NGOs and friends to raise their voices against it as loud as they did against the war in Iraq. Promote freedom for people just like you around the world in a nonviolent way. (And I'm not talking about writing Bush to ask for Regime Change)
posted by swerdloff (19 comments total)

 
Police Raid China Newspaper That Reported New SARS Case
posted by homunculus at 10:59 AM on January 11, 2004


Cuba's repression of the Internet certainly bothers me, in that I've seen lots of Chinese and Iranian websites and blogs but very little out of Cuba. Reading Chinese blogs (examples) I get the impression that at least China is acting somewhat progressively in terms of the Internet.

As for U.S.-Cuba realtions, the U.S. is already so hostile to Cuba I don't see what good further criticism from the U.S. would do. Perhaps criticism from Canada or Venezuela would be more effective. Chavez certainly benefitted from the Internet in that it helped the coup against him fail, Castro should keep this in mind.
posted by bobo123 at 11:30 AM on January 11, 2004


Metafilter is a trans-national site. I was hoping to reach people in other countries (i.e. Canada, the EU, Venezuela, etc.) Right on, Bobo123.
posted by swerdloff at 12:19 PM on January 11, 2004


While "containment" of Cuba seems to have worked well, in that its ability to influence its neighbors has dwindled to almost nothing, it seems to have done little to increase the voice and power of the dissenters. What short of an invasion (costly, deadly, quite possibly impossible given commitments elsewhere) can be done to increase the voice of the voiceless?
posted by Ptrin at 2:33 PM on January 11, 2004


Strange that these two places are mentioned since they are regions where the U.S. has actively encouraged and taken part in assasination attempts on their leaders. There's no real justification for the sort of oppression that exists in these places, but it does have its causes.

In the case of Cuba, maybe if the sanctions were lessened, the country would be able to prosper and would have little need to clamp down on internet access.
posted by destro at 2:52 PM on January 11, 2004


The irony is hilarious. But also sad, like a crying clown.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:13 PM on January 11, 2004


What the hell is sad about a dying clown?

Oh, crying.

Never mind.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:33 PM on January 11, 2004


The Internet is now basically banned and controlled for all but the elite in Cuba.

Don't worry. The USA is quickly catching up. Go RIAA go!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:41 PM on January 11, 2004


Iran could easily be a democracy in every sense of the word if it weren't for those damn fundamentalists!
Every where you look fundies are screwing things up. Even to the point of implementing steps to encourage "armageddon."
"Smoke 'em while you can boys!"
posted by nofundy at 3:41 PM on January 11, 2004


This post is an interesting example of a rhetorical technique. I am too lazy find the actual name of the strategy but I tend to think of it as the "Never mind what you are talking about, look over there!" technique. Now the post is no doubt well intentioned and the rhetoric may be just a stylistic thing but it seems like a distraction technique.

It is also coupled with an implied criteria for being a 'good protestor'. The issue of freedom is important everywhere but I don't really think that protestors have the implied obligation, logically or morally, to ensure that they protest everything with equal vigor (or vigor appropriately weighted by some sort of calculus).

"You protested against the war so you must protest just as much against X"

Simply isn't true.

Not only that but Peace and Freedom are two very different things.
posted by srboisvert at 4:35 PM on January 11, 2004


Aggressive, confrontational front page posts poorly serve any point. It's as if the poster reckons he's the first to have ever considered this arrived-at position. Let the content of the links speak for themselves and say it, don't spray it. This post seems like an excuse to bully.
posted by squirrel at 5:30 PM on January 11, 2004


That's what stifling of dissent looks like.

So anything less is NOT stifling dissent, swerdloff? Like prosecuting a man for holding up a "No War for Oil" sign? That's not stifling dissent because why, again?
posted by squirrel at 5:41 PM on January 11, 2004


Waitwaitwait. criticizing a post about brutal repression because you think it's challenging your views on Bush? I haven't looked up swerdloff's posting record because frankly, I don't give a shit.

What short of an invasion ... can be done to increase the voice of the voiceless?

Lots of things. In the soviet bloc, where the U.S. dared not intervene militarily, there were huge and ultimately successful campaigns to foster free speech -- encouraging clandestine printing presses, that kind of thing. On a smaller scale, organizations like Amnesty International rescue political prisoners with words alone. Dictators may not be accountable to elections, but they can be pressured in other ways; toward the end of world war II, open civil disobedience freed something like 200 Germans bound for the gas chambers. (Hitler was somewhat distracted by that point, but still.)

Defeatism sucks. Where are the protests against Aung San Suu Kyi's imprisonment (for example)?
posted by Tlogmer at 8:18 PM on January 11, 2004


Every time you mention Iranian repression, Zarathustra kills a kitten.
posted by boaz at 10:05 PM on January 11, 2004


Waitwaitwait. criticizing a post about brutal repression because you think it's challenging your views on Bush? I haven't looked up swerdloff's posting record because frankly, I don't give a shit.

Tlogmer, I can't make much sense of your first paragraph, but I assume it's aimed at me. Just to clarify, I think it's a good idea to post threads about repression of dissent wherever it appears. It's a bad idea to load it with strawman logic intended to cast a comparatively favorable light on the Bush administration's repression of dissent, (a la "you think Bush is tyrant, look at THIS"). If you don't give a shit, why speak up? And if you are going to speak up, frankly clarify yourself.
posted by squirrel at 12:20 AM on January 12, 2004


Don't give a shit about swerdloff's political orientation, I meant. The best thing to do is take his suggestion at face value, simultaneously diffusing it's snarkiness.
posted by Tlogmer at 12:32 AM on January 12, 2004


If only I had your cool heart, Tlogmer. I have a peeve for straw man laziness, which makes diffusing hard in such cases. But you're right.
posted by squirrel at 12:40 AM on January 12, 2004


Well, I have to say that when I was in Cuba we could get access through a local provider.

It was expensive ($5 for 30 minutes - average wage $15/month) and it was sluggish, but there was no obvious restriction on content. I'll rephrase that - I visited fark a few times and some of it's more... interesting links with no problems.

I'd say money was the main reason Cuba isn't full of bloggers.
posted by twine42 at 6:07 AM on January 12, 2004


China Authorities Battle Hard to Tighten the Web
posted by homunculus at 7:27 PM on January 13, 2004


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