This morning I watched a chilling report on BBC World about how websites and the Internet are used to promote and recruit for global Islamic terror networks. Just writing about this topic makes me nervous because we’re such a networked world and the search engines pick up and connect every word, which is why I’ll avoid using any organization names or provide any web site locations. The power of the Internet to bring good into people’s lives has always been the focus of my attention, so much so that I neglected to think much about how the web was being used for evil.
Recently I watched (again) one of my favorite movies; “The Motorcycle Diaries” which is based on the true adventures of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara or El Che, he was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, political figure, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas. I enjoy the movie both because of the wonderful scenery but also because of the great portrayal of a compassionate, sensitive young man, learning and understanding about the inequities of life in South America.
The first time I watched the movie I wasn’t aware that it was about Che Guevara, then realized that I really didn’t know that much about this famous iconic leader, so I read about his life, read some of his speeches and have since begun to get more of a sense of what he stood for, what he fought for and what he believed in. There are hundreds of websites related to this man, he also left behind a printed legacy in books, papers, and speeches, one of the most famous was delivered to the United Nations.
I agree with some of Che Guevara’s belief’s, especially the concern of an American Imperialism threatening to overwhelm the world with it’s pervasive systems and ideals but I would never agree to taking up arms outside of my own home to go some where else and fight against armies that are under orders, and for that matter indoctrination in some cases, that they’re defending the homeland, or even liberating the country from tyranny or oppression. Sure I would take up arms to defend my health, home and hearth but only as a last resort and it would need to be dire circumstances. You can call me a pacificist but I prefer to think of myself as an intellect because I’d always rather use my mind to overcome difficult problems but then I’ve never had tanks roll through my street or soldiers kick-in my doors, so I’m not really qualified to know how I might have turned out growing up in a conflict zone.
Imagine how Che Guevara could have empowered legions of dissenters had be been able to publish his ideas on the web? This man was an inspirational leader during a time, and in a place, where only world of mouth could get new recruits. I wonder if he would be supporting the new holy war, as it’s often called? From what I’ve read of him I’m sure he’d be living in a cave somewhere to save his own life, if he were still alive. Probably his writings are being used to incite more hatred and bolster the courage of insurgents and other radicals. What a shame he and all these other hate mongers could not find a peaceful means of protest but again I’m not qualified to know (for sure) how I might behave if my family were bombed or worse.
It’s all such a fine line, a couple of days ago I posted a quote from the Vice President of Iraq, from his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland “Iraq was put under occupation, which was an idiot decision,” – I appreciate that freedom of speech allows me to publish that comment, and I agree with the statement, however I don’t plan to start publishing manuals about how to get revenge, or video of people getting beheaded. Sure if it were my city under siege I might use Internet tools and my skills to mount a resistance, probably intellectual in nature but that’s where the legal argument begins. Where is the line of between being a supporter/participant and that of an objective blogger/reporter? It would seem that what’s happening is radicals are using the Internet and web sites to attract marginal dissenters and then inciting hatred and recruiting young people from outside the local conflict to sacrifice their lives, partly by professing the glory of martyrdom, for a cause that they’ve been able to convince them is also their own.
Unfortunately, I think that some of the web will need to be censored, it saddens me to say but unless there’s some league of vigilante super heroes that would go around the world and fight this kind of rotten propaganda it’ll continue to incite hatred, which breeds more hatred. I’m not saying that anyone is right or anyone is wrong but rather; two wrongs do not make a right.
The only useful (good) thing about web sites that publish hate material is that the second the web page goes live, someone, somewhere, is responsible for that information and just like child pornography they must know that there are people, often paid professionals, sometimes just concerned citizens, who have just started seeking them out. The Internet belongs to the entire world and for those who defile it, spam it, infect it with viruses, or foul it with filth, they will one day meet with the karmic fate of their actions, because what goes around, comes around.