Betray Friends’ Privacy to Comment?
I was ready to “Login with Facebook” over on TED’s website, when their privacy invading app told me they were taking my email address and other info – including my friend’s info and video information. And I stopped.
Who gives them the right to stick these data mining marketing tricks into their message board?
Fuck you, TED. We live in an invasive, privacy destroying Brave New World of aggressive marketing yuppies with no scruples. Rudeness is being normalized. You can’t even have a conversation with a human for more than two minutes without them pulling out some tappy tappy device in the middle of it. The humans are resembling cyborgs more and more, slaves to the devices.
Anyway, I wanted to comment on Maajid Nawaz’s talk about extremism allegedly running rampant across the globe far and ahead of democracy. Some of his claims make more sense in particular Arab countries than they apply to the rest of the globe. Some of his thinking is constrained and limited in scope, and that is the point I wish to make. The talk, and the world view behind it, are completely missing the larger picture of empire, global hegemony by the US and friends. Behind the scenes the real exercise of power grinds on to coopt and derail popular movements, to benefit extremists when convenient, to fund and arm military dictators, which is very often convenient, to protect brutal human rights abusers when they provide strategic benefit, and etcetera. This is not a new or novel understanding.
The Arab world in particular should know well the machinations of Uncle Sam in propping up oil dictators and overthrowing the disobedient ones. Iran’s actual democracy was destroyed in 1953 by the CIA, and even admitted to. This is not covered up today. Nawaz focuses a lot on Egypt, without mention of US support of Mubarek right up until his ouster by one of their torturer friends in the Egyptian military. The Egyptian military receives more than a billion dollars in so-called military “aid” every year, $1.3Bn as of 2010. What are they purchasing with this graft? Pakistan has also received much. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain receive quite shockingly positive media when their people rise up demanding democracy – and are brutalized, tortured and imprisoned for their efforts. US leaders smile and change the subject. To fail to mention any of this obvious undemocratic imperial meddling is a credibility killer, in my view.
Nawaz himself is a former “extremist,” already taken in by one set of dogmas. One wonder if this new prevailing democracy myth he ascribes to is similarly processed in extremist fashion? As far as fighting for democracy and against Islamic militant extremism, we again must examine the facts on the ground. In 1979 the Mujahadeen, the precursor to “Al Qaeda,” were created, armed, trained and imported into Afghanistan to overthrow the pro-Soviet government. Decades of horror and destruction followed, which persists to this day. That particular US supporting of extremism was launched under Jimmy Carter of all people. Today, the Al Nusra Brigades in Syria are doing the empire’s dirty work. These absolute extremists, with a blood drenched record of terrorism that exceeds Al Qaeda’s record already, are part of the current imperial strategy to topple dominoes. Al Nusra is supported directly and unequivocally by US client regimes Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are hosted and given free passage on NATO state Turkey’s territory to invade Syria next door. US CIA are also on the other Syrian border in Jordan, arming and training fighters.
How does any of this fit into the picture that Nawaz paints during his talk? His is a sin of omission. The myth prevails rather than the reality. I’m all for democracy and promoting it, but let’s not close our eyes and play fools.
And TED, you can go to hell for daring to demand personal contacts from people commenting on your website. Have some shame and some tact, basic etiquette. To talk to you in the street you first demand my mother’s Facebook posts, and which videos she watches? And my sister’s dog photos? Can I say my comment then?