Friday, June 09, 2006

The truth

Sorry I haven't made much of an appearance this week . . . my achy breaky back has been giving me grief all week, and most things (like laundry, vacuuming, blogging, and working outside) have fallen by the wayside. But I'm determined to get better soon--preferably before I run out of clean laundry and things start growing in the carpet.

But enough about me . . . let's talk about the Internet. :)

I guess it was all too good to be true--the unbounded freedom of speech with the power to reach the masses. At some point, somebody would try--really, really hard--to lock down and censor the Internet. I've known for a while that the Internet the Chinese people see is not the same as the one delivered to my browser each day, and there are certain websites they'll never be able to see.

But somehow, this was the last straw for me. I think it's because I don't know how I would live or think without Google--it always delivers just what I need to know (and of course, lots that I don't need to know) just when I need it. You have to sort through it, but the truth is out there, and Google makes it easy to do that.

I know everybody's mad at Google for giving in to to their wallets and turning a blind eye to intense Chinese censorship, and I guess it makes me mad to a certain extent, but maybe I don't expect companies to live so much on values--last time I checked, companies' actions were mostly dictated by supply and demand. And boy, is there demand for a censored Internet.

And it's this demand that infuriates me. Injustice covers our planet like kudzu in the Southeast, choking out life and forming thick screens so that as far as you can see, injustice is just about the only thing in sight. And I know many people blame greed and prejudice--and certainly, they are fuel for war and inequality.

But I think the worst kind of injustice comes from being deceived about the truth. When Chinese people don't have access to information about Tiananmen Square, that's wrong--and they may never know the truth.

I don't know who to blame for this (The media? My upbringing? I don't know.) but there was a time when I was completely unaware of the fact that Saddam Hussein had massacred thousands of his people. Growing up during the Gulf War, you'd think I would have known, but it wasn't talked about, because everyone had decided the war was about oil and profit, and who knows what else. And maybe it was. But when everyone was debating the war then (and later, the war in Iraq) I never heard anyone mention the tyranny of the Iraqi people. And believe what you may about Saddam and the wars, don't you think it's helpful to know whether or not he was a mass murderer? You can still choose not to go to war against him, but you still need to tell the truth about him.

The Chinese government knows that if its people knew the complete truth, they would revolt. So they lie, censor, and cover things up. I know that, as humans, we have rights to certain standards of treatment. And I'm wondering why truth isn't one of our rights. Don't we have the right to know the truth? Deception and censorship can truly be just as inhumane as torture and abuse; they allow powerful people to use those below them as misinformed pawns in their mighty games of control. Even if I were living under a tyrannical government structure, and had absolutely no power to escape or overthrow it, I would expect to know the truth.

Because ultimately, the truth will set you free.


brannabee said...

hey you. dulci? dulcimer hope? are you there? *bink bink* hello? remember me? i miss you. a lot even. :)

Dulcimer said...

Yes, yes, I'm here! :)