Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mind the Gap

Canada's culture is not that of Iran. At worst, we have similar leanings among some people in positions of power. Below is what Iranians face on a daily basis. In Canada there is the same to a far lesser extent. But the gap is narrowing daily-- against us.

High profile cases like those of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant sort of make the papers and the mainstream media in the country. Others, less famous, more like the usual blogger, don't often see the light of publicity. No one is actually going to execute a blogger in Canada with state sanction. Rather, the state uses its formidable resources to destroy individuals most people don't know and wouldn't care about if they did. Unfortunately, that usual nobody could be any one of us. Here's what we're moving toward as the Left becomes further unhinged and as the Muslim intelligentsia leads the way to the paths of glory.

Iranian bloggers under fire

Internet usage is about to become even riskier in Iran. Iran's parliament, the majles, is reportedly <> considering a new law to greatly expand penalties on what the regime deems inappropriate uses of the web. The bill, which parliamentarians say is designed to "toughen punishment for harming mental security in society," would make offenses such as "establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy" a crime punishable by death.

The legislative effort is part of an expanding offensive by Iran's government. Since taking office in 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched what some experts term a "cultural revolution," clamping down on Iran's already-endangered free media and expanding governmental interference in social and cultural matters. The Internet has been a major casualty of the effort. Through a series of new regulations, pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and monthly official bans on scores of new websites, the Islamic Republic has systematically set out to constrict its population's access to the digital world.

All of which provides a telling glimpse of what Iran's leaders really fear. With more than 10 percent of its population of 70 million now using the Internet, Iran is one of the most wired nations in the greater Middle East. And its online community is growing at an exponential rate, expanding 2,900 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the authoritative OpenNet Initiative < profiles/iran>.

So is the number of Iranian weblogs. In 2005, the online Blog Herald estimated that some 700,000 Farsi-language "blogs" existed worldwide, with between 40,000 and 110,000 active blogs within the Islamic Republic itself. Today – bolstered by popular discontent over Iran's internal economic situation and fears of the consequences of the regime's nuclear quest – that number is undoubtedly higher.

Iran's regime has reason to worry. With its growing scope and reach, the Iranian "blogosphere" can give the international community a unique window into the nature of the Islamic Republic, a damning chronicle of its repressive human rights practices, and – perhaps most importantly – insights into its intrinsic social, economic and political vulnerabilities.

[Original link]

A local Vancouver blog has covered the on-going stories of Bill Simpson and Rachel Davis for well over a year, stories of official abuse of human rights that would have the average fair-minded person in a fit of outrage had the media continued to look into this official abuse of citizens and their rights. No, it's not Iranian in its intensity. It is the face of the future for Canadians, though. One person at a time hounded and banned from public facilities, set upon by City lawyers, pushed and bullied by the state in the name of conformity to the Left agenda of general infantalistion. We can't fight every battle. We can support some, though, and we can do perhaps as much as a lot by supporting the struggle for democracy at the local level by adding our voices to the growing crowd condemning the City of Vancouver's campaign of abuse against Bill Simpson and Rachel Davis. Next it could be me. But it could be you. Or it could be the whole nation under a pall of fear, one just short of Iranian.

Every story is local at some point. We don't have to go to Iran to find ours.


Walker across Worlds said...

I find this a disturbing trend in our culture as well.

Our potential as a nation is chilling, when you think of the steps that we are taking away from democracy.

And really, us bloggers get the brunt of it, don't we? At least most political writers get a li'l recognition. We toil in obscurity, but in the end, the blogosphere is still targeted for censorship, and even personal danger for the bloggers involved.

I just wrote a blog post on that, actually, or along the same vein of thought. In Russia, there was a fellow who was jailed for speaking harshly about police, calling for them to be burned in piles, that sort of thing.

In Iran, there is this new option of killing outright anyone who steps out of virtual line.

I'm sure China's no peach, either.

And with folks like those in Canada, and throughout the Western and free nations, who are promoting this self-censorship of our culture, like I said, our potential is chilling.


Findalis said...

It may become that bloggers will be the only truly free speakers left in the world. How can you silence that which can start up in a second?

Blazing Cat Fur said...

I just stumbled across this blog last night: Iran Watch Canada

Eowyn said...

Before I saw this post, I found one at The Macho Response that correctly pointed out how dangerous and stupid apologists for Iran are.

Here's the link --

Walker says: "We toil in obscurity, but in the end, the blogosphere is still targeted for censorship, and even personal danger for the bloggers involved."

True -- but we have power in numbers and in voice. We're like Glenn Reynolds' "Army of Davids" ( No fear!

Walker across Worlds said...

oh totally.

What we lack in power, we more than make up for with moxie.

Dag said...

When I was a teenager I used to think "the 60s" was the greatest time in human history, one of endless freedom and creativity, a time of grand fulfillment of the human telos. Whoa, was I a teenager at the time!

I love Diana West's version of the story: that it is a time of an uninterrupted temper tantrum on the part of spoiled adults who refuse to grow up. Yes, I see too the self-indulgent, sentimental, self-absorbed hedonists and narcissists who are happily and self-righteously plunging the world into a nightmare of violence as well as into slavery to unrestrained passions and debauchery. Like, yuck. Not creative, not free, not cool at all.

We have a culture in the West that is stuck on silly and vibrating on ugly. It's possible it'll get far worse in the coming few years, especially should Osama Barak become our president. A greater self-indulgence I cannot imagine being committed by the people. Yes, it might feel good to have the first "Black" president. But what a creature he is in the person of Osama Barak. But maybe as bad as his possible presidency is his failure to win.

We could face years of unleashed hatred from those who didn't get their own way. A tantrum, perhaps, that will shock our world deeply. I don't look forward to this either way, sort of. A further orgy of self-indulgence or a further temper-tantrum of hatred and violence. And too, there is our Iranian enemy looming on the horizon. We could face the world of our own Left, people incensed at a war against the Shi'ites, our own turning against all Reason in hatred of Israel and everything decent there is today because they didn't get their own wish come true.

Imagine if the worst of our own are so upset that their favorites are not in power, that the worst fools of our collective lot are shut out from absolute rule, that small compromises and rational actors take charge and compromise their ways to normalcy. That if we have a Republican-led war against Iran and the Muslim terror while the hope of dreams on the Left come to naught and instead Reason prevails, we might face a hysterical Left of outright crazed people living only for hatred.

But, honestly, that seems to me to be a good thing if it comes. I look at a rock in a sling, turning and turning in place, picking up speed, and by leverage, when it's loosed, it will soar to heights and distance we cannot imagine. Think how disgusted our grandchildren will be with our failure to act responsibly. They, looking at the havoc of our time, might march onward to a world that we can't begin to think of, they simply leaving our worst aspects in disgust and moving on to a time when the average citizen would feel at home with and equal to Marcus Aurelius. Yes, all the terrible nonsense of our time today could be a negative lesson that will propel the future to greatness.

We can go wrong seemingly endlessly: but it's not forever. If we finally see it for what it is, the 60s as a time of outrageous bad behaviour, then perhaps we can make it possible for the generations to come to leap from it like one would flee from any repulsive thing.

It'll be up to us to prepare the leap to the future. We have to prepare our next generations for greater things. We can see the gap closing today between ourselves and our worst fears, but we can also be the germinators of a gap between this time and a great future. There might be a gap between us and our grandchildren that would bring us all to tears of joy.

I look forward to the struggle to come, even if it's going to be hard and unhappy. I think, in fact, that we are blessed to have a place in such a serious struggle. I think we are smiled upon in being given this chance to sacrifice. What a great thing we are given to do. Blessed.