A Poem of the Very Buoyant Russian Black Sea Fleet in Belbek

Tension at Belbek, the crisis of Crimea
There is talk of freedoms and sanctions
It’s all out there like a great big tidal wave
that is held together by a thin layer of glass
Reddit LIVE feed, Reuters –Bang bang
I turn my head to Google,
Death by Canadian Rye and images of Sandra Bullock,
Russian President Vladimir Putin is making a statement
Twelve hundred hours and thirty-five minute dregs
What is defiance? What is revolution?
And where is the change?
The Russian Black Sea Fleet floats around by Belbek
–Ukraine remains defiant

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Issues with Anti-Transparency and a certain Enemy of the Body Politic

English: Demonstration in front of Sydney Town...

English: Demonstration in front of Sydney Town Hall in support of Julian Assange, 2010, December 10 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it wrong, or morally objectionable to bring out information that clearly brings to light the complicity of a nation? Recently Julian Assange has been made the enemy of the state by the United States of America, which means that he is now in the same caste as tyrants, killers, and other human rights violators. With pundits already calling out for his assassination back in 2010, now with the current turn of events it has become close to legal to shoot the man on sight. And if not that, then he still has a worldwide arrest warrant set by Interpol.

Julian Assange is trapped by allegations of cyber terrorism and molestation –both as flimsy in origin. In any legal matter the case should be studied and a fair trial had, and I do believe that Assange should face a court. Sadly, the political climate around him doesn’t allow for much fairness, and one can be left guessing the validity of the accusations.

Whistleblowers are seen as a nuisance by governments or businesses, so it would be expected that Julian Assange’s cause would be accepted with open arms by the big man. Julian Assange has been made into a figurehead of merciless transparency of governmental action, he has allowed the common man to find out about the hidden corruption and backroom deals with the help of individuals and organizations. This makes him and those closest to him within Wikileaks great targets when fighting against the ideal carried by freedom of information.

The governments that accept Julian Assange’s current status are making a clear statement against freedom of expression and the freedom of knowledge, both that are essential for a democratic government. This kind of inaction should be regarded with great contempt.

There were those who decided to show comradeship as the enemy of the state status was placed on Assange. There were tens of thousands of people boldly stating that they are themselves enemies of the state. Even now there still are some who keep doing that, but the fad has passed.

Call me cynical, even though the sign of e-solidarity to the speech Assange gave to the UN a few days ago is admirable to say the least, but do those statements amount to anything else except idle talk. It reminded me of the mindlessness of the people who decide to drop out of the rut and be a stone in the clockwork of some capitalistic Babylon. Yet what could one do to something like a westernized version of fatwa?

I believe one of the strongest arguments against this political insanity was within the speech addressed to the UN by Julian Assange. As he brings out quite clearly the point of Wikileak’s extreme call for transparency, he points out:

This is better than the alternative – to drift into irrelevance as the world moves on.

We must be clear here.

The United States is not the enemy.

Its government is not uniform. In some cases good people in the United States supported the forces of change. And perhaps Barack Obama personally was one of them.

But in others, and en masse, early on, it actively opposed them.

This is a matter of historical record.

And it is not fair and it is not appropriate for the President to distort that record for political gain, or for the sake of uttering fine words.

Credit should be given where it is due, but it should be withheld where it is not.

-Julian Assange’s Address to the UN on Human Rights
September 26th, 2012

It is clear, Julian Assange is not the enemy of the United States and he doesn’t do his work to attack the States. The witch hunt should end and the government should look into ways to reform their system, but perhaps this is merely idealistic to hope. But this unethical war against people who demand transparency must come to an end.

The United States government has placed freedom on the line by trying to stomp out the message of a person like Julian Assange. One shouldn’t feel comfort during his persecution. For if nothing is done and we gladly give our right to access information, then we shall find strength within ignorance.

Though most of the spotlights are on Julian Assange for now, somehow the public eye has swallowed the situation of Bradley Manning. The leak he allowed and made possible, should have caused governmental introspection. The allegations of “aiding the enemy” are nothing more than signs of the lack of self-analysis. Who are the good guys again, because I am starting to doubt they exist.

While the internet being a powerful, hypersensitive media outlet and fads controlling most of the outbursts, there are those certain issues that shouldn’t be let go due to minute’s fancy. I wouldn’t want this to feel like an obituary of transparency at a later date. That would be regrettable and beyond acceptable.

 

 

 

There is no lighter side in dissent -or is there?

English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading the New York Times and I read an article about the most ridiculous form of activism. When I say ridiculous I do not mean to undermine the action, but to show my mere bafflement at the courageous act done by a few Swedish pilots over the “tightly” controlled airspace of Belarus. These pilots flew over Minsk and opened their cargo doors to drop teddy bears carrying pamphlets on July 4th.

I can’t explain how I gagged a few times while reading the article, which seemed to recount Mission Impossible if it were a comedy. It must have been very embarrassing for President Lukashenko, who subsequently fired some of his military personnel, mainly the head of the border service and the head of the air force.

Despite this rather cuddly activism with a punch to the gut,  I would say there is no lighter side to this work. This is just a success story, where everything went according to plan. The article reminds the reader that in 1995 a pair Americans in a hot-air balloon drifted into Belarus airspace by accident. Then they were shot down and killed by a missile from a military gunship.

These hot-air balloonists weren’t activists, but unlucky tourists, and just the same way the teddy bears could have been set aflame thousands of feet off the ground. One might think that the smallest forms of protest done by independent parties are safe and harmless, yet they sort of even are here in countries where there is free speech and freedom to protest between 10AM to 10PM with a legal contract from the authorities. Elsewhere things are different, like in Belarus as the article states. One can end up in jail for gathering plush toys onto a plaza.

Can there be, any, comedic value in dissent? I doubt it, even when one might see comedic value in a witty satire made of the authorities. Those who truly want to change something around them must take themselves seriously if they are protesting against something truly macabre, as the authorities will take them seriously even when they are just joking and could punish them in even more serious manners.

It is easy to be a sole crackpot living in a country where apathy reigns supreme over its people, as there is comfort for everyone. The dreary atmosphere of the city streets filled with alcoholics who receive their dole in the form of per mille. I have found myself in many tables where young people talk about other countries than their home country. Home is always right in these tables, everything is alright at home. The people who see a need for improvement are laughed at like comedians and despised for not being thankful.

Free speech has become the freedom to complain, and that is good enough for most. If the park with the president’s name is ugly or the statue of the forefathers is bent, you are free to say it: “This is ugly, I hate it.” or “It’s not good enough, but it’s alright.”
These both are read as, it’s okay, I do not like it yet it’s alright. It sure is nice to breathe fresh air in a comfortable country where self-deprecation is the norm.

This is the first world, free speech, freedom of opinion induced apathy. The utter apathy and weakness of oneself that follows. For example in Finland most people feel they do not have the power to change things around in their community, they feel their free opinions are void in the public eye. People do not innovate and band together, they do not make tightly knit and open communities. Most surrender their fate to the government which is nearly as lost in the world as they are.

I would like to request everyone who read this to correspond with their community on the issues they have, promote collaboration and friendship. You might not be a dissenter of any form of living, but do not have dissent against yourselves. Do not be a stranger to your neighbors and be positively active with your friends and relatives. You do not need to pull off a stunt like the one done over the skies of Belarus, but remember that the little things matter as well.