Cyber Censorship

Against Cyber Censorship

I’ve just found out that March 12th was the World day against cyber censorship.

I wasn’t too shocked to find out that countries such as Iran, Burma and North Korea were marked on the World Map as ‘Enemies of the Internet.’ After all they hardly stand out as places to go to be free and wax lyrical from a sturdy soap box. But to discover that France and Australia are marked as Cyber Censors flaws me. Why? What on earth has either of them to fear from freedom of speech?

Wordle – neat! The world – sad.

A wordled 'Spring of Teal'

I’ve been very remiss with my post an image a day idea – though I might, if I ever stump up the inclination, go back and insert entries for the missing days … or not.

Anyway, yesterday I discovered a neat website called Wordle. Wordle has been around for a while and though I’m not early to their bandwagon I have to admit I’ve fallen in lust with it! It’s so much fun and so time wasteful – how could I not? The image above is the Wordlefied lyrics to a song called ‘Spring of Teal’ Try it. Go on, you know you want to!

In other news … the powers that be are now heavily interfering in yet another oil rich Middle Eastern country. Not that I think Gadaffi, who admittedly has a very interesting personal image, should be in charge. It’s just that we’re all broke and need the money at home. Besides, if my tax pounds are going anywhere overseas I’d like to see them helping the really needy, and not spent on bombs for the benefit of  multinationals who are overcharging me to gas up my rusty, though beautiful, Citroen Berlingo [snort].

Japan seems to have fallen off the radar, somewhat. Not that we’re completely unaware – how could we be with radioactive iodine now present in the air we’re breathing? However, gawping at truly appalling footage for a couple of weeks has almost completely inured us to their continuing misery.

Cynical and jaded I might well be, but I can’t think of what I should be doing to help. Frankly, if I don’t win the lottery PDQ I’ll be camped out in the local village hall, too.

The only recent bright spot was the first race of the Formula One season, last weekend, and even that didn’t live up to my expectations. That the seven times world champion, Michael Schumacher, is now looking well past it – at 42 – is really, really depressing. [sigh]


Earthrise from the moon (taken by Apollo 8)

I am not sure where to start with this blog post, though I know what I want to say. We’re in trouble: big trouble.

See that little blue and white thing surrounded by black? Good, because that’s where I live. And so do you. We all live on it, and we have nowhere else to go if we fuck it up. And, without a shadow of a doubt we are doing just that. Big time.

There’s a large gap in this blog and the reason for it is that I’ve been shellshocked by everything that’s going on. First there was the Egyptian freedom campaign – that worked! They did it! Then everyone else leapt on the bandwagon, thinking, I’m sure, that if the Egyptians could do it so could they. With some countries it worked. With others, not so much.

Then came the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Like everyone else I was (and still am) glued to the news on television. It’s horrifying … yet, because it’s on TV we’re slowly becoming inured to it. It’s awful and we know it, but somehow it seems unreal … filmic … almost, dare I say it, viceral entertainment. Certainly the news reporters don’t treat it that way. They report with long faces and suitable gravitas. But their producers are fighting each other for the best stories: to be the first crew to report from ‘X’ about the ghastly loss of life. To be the first to walk through some poors dead families destroyed house … to pick watersoaked photos up off partially demolished study floors and tell us ‘they are still missing.’ The long soul destroying panning shots; the overturned cars; the phonecam footage, all meshes together to turn our brains to mush and make us truly thankful we’re not there. But with all it comes a distinct sense of the surreal – and I haven’t started on the nuclear problem.

Yet it’s all happening on that little blue and white thing floating in the cold and dark of space….

We’re bankrupt in the United Kingdom: the government tells us so and yet we’re embarking on yet another war. True: this time it’s legal. This time it’s Libya.

Don’t get me wrong. I depsise Gaddafi. He’s a despot and needs to go. But if they were going to get into shit-kicking mode they should have done it a week ago when they were asked by the Arab nations. Now it’s very close to too late.

What’s my point? So sorry if you think I’m rambling. In actuality I should finish writing this, edit it and then post the result. It would probably be more cogent. But the fact of the matter is I’m a lazy git. C’est la vie. Now you know me a little bit better.

My point, and it is valid, is that we all live on the same planet and it’s too late to continue with the way we’ve all been trundling on. If we are to survive, in my humble opinon, we have to do the following:

  1. Become one people living together on our one world.
  2. Bring together the 1st, 2nd and 3rd worlds
  3. Stop reproducing. Yes, sex is nice, but not the millions of unwanted children (or children created to garner social security payments in the 1st world), especially until we have a stable planet.
  4. Take care of our planet. Earth, Gaia or call her what you will. She’s the only place we can call home.

The thing is … we need a visionary to do it. One person who we can all believe in. I suppose that’s what Religion is for, but all the different flavours aren’t working at present.

We need a visionary leading a planet wide push to sort humanity out before it is too late – if it’s not already too late.

Off his chump?

a man who has completely lost the plot

I suppose the question that will eventually be asked is: “was he sane to begin with?” which is debatable. He had the power, an entire people under his thumb. Yet to date the international community has done nothing. They went in fast enough when Saddam Hussein rattled their cage; and yet with blatant human rights abuses and after two of his pilots defected rather than bomb their own country … they’ve frozen a few of his assets. It’s not enough and if they’re not careful it’ll be too late and a lot more will die.

Gadaffi is saying ‘There is no trouble, my people love me”. I suppose it’s possible he’s been kept in the dark and knows nothing of what’s going on … but, methinks, highly unlikely.

Gaddafi’s world stage

Gaddafi's brief 'Top Gear' moment

Muammar al-Gaddafi, made a brief appearance (pictured) and later made a long rambling speech that was almost as odd as his son’s. There is no doubt that he is a true eccentric and presently as dangerous as a well prodded rattle snake.

From what I can see – and honestly, from my couch in East sussex, I’m hardly in a postition to comment – Gaddafi is not going to do a ‘Mubarak’. No, he’s going to go down will all guns (probably gold plated) blazing.

Libyan genocide

Libyan Genocide

The Middle East is exploding with the desire for democracy. Watching Egyptians of all ages in Tahrir Square demanding their democratic rights and the final resignation of Mubarak was heart warming, but Libya!

I can’t believe that in 2011 this kind of genocide is happening – is allowed, by the international community, to happen.

A lot of it is still rumour, but I’ve heard on the BBC a man describing the bombing of civilians by Libyan war planes. That mercenaries have been employed by Gaddafi to shoot demonstrators. That the army is killing civilians too.

It’s fact that two Libyan fighter pilots who were told to bomb civilians flew their planes to malta and asked for political asylum.

It’s a fact that the Libyan delegation at the UN have disowned the regime and the Libyan justice minister has resigned.

As I write they’re saying that Gaddafi is about to make a speech on TV, but others say he has gone and is on his way to Venezuela.

It has to stop. Now.


Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 18 pt II

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

18:43 :-
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon salutes a “historic moment” in Egypt. “I respect what must have been a difficult decision taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people,” he says. “I reiterate my call, made as recently as last night, for a transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, and includes free, fair, and credible elections leading to the early establishment of civilian rule.”

18:46 :-
More from Ban Ki-moon: “The voice of the Egyptian people – particularly the youth – has been heard and it is for them to determine the future of their country. I commend the people of Egypt for the peaceful, courageous and orderly manner, in which they have exercised their legitimate rights. I call on all parties to continue in the same sprit.”

Day 18 – As it happened (from the BBC)

  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after more than two weeks of growing protests against him across the country. The news was greeted with a massive outburst of joy and riotous celebration by hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
  • Mr Mubarak’s powers will be taken over by the Higher Council of the Armed Forces. It said it understood the people’s demand for radical change.
  • The opposition figure, Mohammed ElBaradei, described the resignation of Mr Mubarak as the greatest day of his life, while a Muslim Brotherhood leader said Egyptians had made history.
  • US President Barack Obama said Mr Mubarak’s resignation was just the start of Egypt’s transformation. He called on the military to lift the state of emergency and prepare for free and fair elections.

And so it happened and all is well … or is it? Hopefully, provided the military keeps its promise, doen’t try to turn itself into the new regime, and it isn’t a manoeuver … which it can’t be.

The problem I see, from my couch in Sussex, is an inevitable, if transient, power vacuum in the Middle East. A dictator Mubarak undoubtably was, but for all that he was a prop against all sorts of unpleasantness.

But what do I know? Good on them, I say!

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 18!!!

16:12 - Vice-President Suleiman announces Mubarak has stepped down.

Finally Mubarak has gone! Yet again the world changes, which is fantastic for all those in Tahrir Square, all over Egypt and the world, who have peacefully demonstrated and finally got what they wanted. Sadly many died for their beliefs.

This is a global change, but how profound the change is going to be has yet to be realised.

16:12 :-
Full statement from Vice-President Suleiman: “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.”

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 17 -2

Omar Suleiman backs Mubarak

The next 24 hours will be crucial.

Some are saying the crowd is marching on the State Television building and some say they are marching on the palace which is some 20 Km away from Tahrir Square.

The sound from Tahrir Square sounds like an angry wasp nest.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 17

Mubarak to go? No.

Either Mubarak has been badly advised, is blissfully unaware, or he is a complete despot.

Everyone was waiting for his speech and everyone was expecting him to resign, but he hasn’t. He has agreed to go in September – as he’s said before – but that was not what those in Tahrir Square were demanding or expecting.

There is disappointment and a lot of anger.