The geopolitics of Facebook by kellena93

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           COMMENT                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A FRESH LOOK AT OUR CHANGING WORLD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               August 20 - September 2, 2009




The geopolitics of Facebook                                                                                                                                                  JOSEPH EID/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Health as bridge to
                                                                                                                                                                                                             peace in Middle East
BY JOHN FEFFER




Y
         OUNG people who want
         to receive phone calls but                                                                                                                                                                          BY DR CÉSAR CHELALA                         Israelis and Palestinians.



                                                                                                                                                                                                             F
         don’t want their teachers                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Under the leadership of Dr Mary-
         or parents to catch on can                                                                                                                                                                                   OR over two decades sever-         Claire King, who identified the first
download high-frequency “mos-                                                                                                                                                                                         al projects have been carried      breast cancer gene, scientists from Tel
quito” ringtones. After a certain                                                                                                                                                                                     out between conflicting sides      Aviv, Bethlehem and Seattle teamed
age, the older set loses its ability                                                                                                                                                                                  in several regions around the      up to find the cause of deafness, and
to hear these higher frequency                                                                                                                                                                               world that have improved public health      have found several genes responsible
tones. In this way, older people                                                                                                                                                                             as a common denominator in the              for hearing loss. They were able to do
literally become tone deaf to the                                                                                                                                                                            search for peace. Although these ini-       that despite the obstacles posed by the
way younger people communi-                                                                                                                                                                                  tiatives will not by themselves achieve     shutting down of university facili-
cate. Talk about resonant meta-                                                                                                                                                                              peace, they are significant points of       ties, blocked shipments, and other
phors.                                                                                                                                                                                                       contact between conflicting parties.        inconveniences.
    The world is a-twitter over                                                                                                                                                                              They have benefited thousands of                Those are just a few examples
the revolutionary implications                                                                                                                                                                               people and increased understanding          of what, up to now, is a very active
of new technologies that young                                                                                                                                                                               between them, and showed that sus-          collaboration between Palestinian
people almost instinctively                                                                                                                                                                                  tained co-operation can be achieved         and Israeli doctors and health workers.
understand and older people just                                                                                                                                                                             despite violent disputes and a hostile      Despite their obvious value, these
don’t get. Several revolutions                                                                                                                                                                               political atmosphere.                       activities are not universally sup-
and half-revolutions have been                                                                                                                                                                                   Since its founding in 1988, the         ported. In 2005, medical and health
ascribed to Twitter and Facebook,                                                                                                                                                                            Association of Israeli-Palestinian          service providers and members of
much as the Protestant Reforma-                                                                                                                                                                              Physicians for Human Rights brought         research and training institutions
tion has been linked to Guten-                                                                                                                                                                               together Israeli and Palestinian health     working in the Occupied Palestinian
berg’s presses and the political                                                                                                                                                                             professionals. Following the signing        Territory strongly objected to what
ferment in the former Soviet bloc                                                                                                                                                                            of the Oslo agreement in 1993, a new        they consider is strong pressure to
partly to mimeographs, copy                                                                                                                                                                                  set of players—aside from non-              enter into Palestinian-Israeli co-
machines, and faxes. Early adop-                                                                                                                                                                             governmental organisations (NGOs)           operation in the health area.
ters of these technologies tend to                                                                                                                                                                           and human rights groups—came                    According to them, a political
be on the younger side. So we are                                                                                                                                                                            into action between 1993 and 1997,          agenda is the driving force in the
facing yet again a confluence of                                                                                                                                                                             focusing their activities on developing     forced co-operation between Israelis
youth and technology heralding                                                                                                                                                                               and providing health services to the        and Palestinians. In addition, they
large-scale political and social                                                                                                                                                                             Palestinian people.                         don’t think that Israeli-Palestinian
change.                                                                                                                                                                                                          In 1995, following an invitation        collaboration in the academic, sci-
    Few analysts, of course, argue                                                                                                                                                                           of the late King Hussein of Jordan to       entific, and professional spheres can
that Twitter and Facebook cause                                                                                                                                                                              officials at the Canada International       truly contribute to reconciliation as
social transformation. They’re         A Lebanese journalist visits the webpage of a Facebook Group about Lebannon’s Hezabollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at his office in Beirut                              Scientific Exchange Programme (CIS-         long as justice for Palestinians has not
only tools. But we would be fool-      on July 31st                                                                                                                                                          EPO), several actions were carried out      been achieved.
ish to ignore how these tools are                                                                                                                                                                            to foster collaboration between Arab            Although there is some validity
shaping consciousness. Twitter         private space.                         demic interest in places like the    more control over their private      suppress these outer signs of                        and Israeli doctors. The high incidence     to their position, peace will not be
both reflects our attention-def-           People over a certain age          United States. In a country like     lives. They want what their Face-    rebellion through show trials and                    of hearing loss shared by Jordanians        achieved overnight. It is only through
icit culture and reinforces our        don’t quite hear the “frequency”       Iran, however, the changing          book friends in other countries      other measures. But it can do lit-                   and Israelis was the basis of a project     some incremental steps that recon-
increasing preference for smaller      of Facebook. They don’t under-         consciousness of the younger         have. Of course, older Iranians      tle to stop the shift in conscious-                  to provide auditory tests and improve       ciliation between both peoples will
and smaller niblets of informa-        stand why anyone would reveal          generation will ultimately have      are probably deeply suspicious of    ness taking place among young                        hearing among infants.                      take place. As former Prime Minister
tion. Facebook, meanwhile, is          so much private and often banal        explosive political impact. The      these liberalising trends, which     people. Through Facebook, they                           Since then, there have been many        Yitzhak Rabin stated when awarding
the logical offspring of the Inter-    information, which in previous         Green Revolution was not really      is why so many voted for Mah-        are reclaiming public space. They                    scholarly exchanges between Canada,         a UNESCO peace prize, “Peace will be
net and reality television, since      eras would have gone unrecord-         a response to the economic situa-    moud Ahmadinejad in the recent       are creating a global community                      Israel and Jordan, many Israeli-Pales-      built slowly, day by day, through mod-
it facilitates communication           ed or been relegated to a secret       tion in the country (the economy     elections.                           that makes the ruling elite in                       tinian publications were created, and       est deeds and countless spontaneous
among multiple “friends” and           diary. Yet people under a certain      rose nearly 7% over the previ-          “Iranian culture itself is such   Iran even more parochial. Much                       several scientific symposiums have          details. It will be built, step by step, by
also allows users to expose their      age don’t think twice about post-      ous year and poverty levels          a mixture of European, Ameri-        that is happening in Iran today                      been carried out. To date, more than        people.”
lives to an audience.                  ing information that could one         declined). It didn’t put forward     can and an overarching Persian       among young people is taking                         145,000 infants have been screened              There is no better way to do it than
    I think of Facebook only as a      day jeopardize a job application,      radically new politicians (the       influence,” Iranian film-maker       place in the higher frequencies,                     and treated for hearing loss and their      through collaboration in the public
means to an end: a way to effi-        deep-six a budding romance, or         reformers are or were members        Maryam Habibian tells FPIF           in the mosquito range that only                      hearing has considerably improved.          health area on issues of common inter-
ciently disseminate information        simply prove utterly embarrass-        of the political elite).             contributor Noor Iqbal in Demys-     they can hear. By the time the                       In addition, the programme has              est. The better health of thousands of
to a targeted group of people (for     ing to one’s future family and             Rather, the revolution was       tifying Iran. “You can see it        authorities figure out the revo-                     expanded to youth health promotion,         women, men, and children is a living
instance: check out the Foreign        friends. These everyday rev-           fuelled by a desire for a more       everywhere. Young people show        lutionary implications of all this,                  maternal nutrition, and management          testimony of the effectiveness of such
Policy In Focus Facebook group).       elations are all part of a different   liberal society. The Iranian         their Westernness by smoking         they’ll be history.                                  of infectious diseases.                     approach. In a region plagued by lack
But Facebook is more than a tool       set of social relationships that       state has attempted to legislate     cigarettes and in their fashion                                                               In December of 2004, the first issue    of confidence and trust, health is the
that would-be revolutionaries          doesn’t so much eliminate the          what is often considered private     as well. The girls will be covered                                                        of the magazine Bridges was launched        best antidote to war.
use to announce an upcoming            private as redefine it along a new     morality: mandating the use of       up but they wear tight tunics and                                                         under the auspices of the World Health
demonstration or a regime tries        continuum.                             headscarves, determining what        they have highlighted hair you                                                            Organisation (WHO). The magazine
to suppress in an effort to pre-           Goodbye “too much informa-         kind of music people can listen      can see through their scarves.                                                            has contributions from both Israeli         Dr César Chelala is an international
serve the status quo. Facebook         tion.” Hello “status update.”          to, policing the Internet. Many      This mixture has always been         This article was first published                     and Palestinian health experts, and is      public health consultant and a co-
represents a fundamentally dif-            This public-private divide         Iranians, particularly younger       around.”                             on www.fpif.org, Foreign Policy                      another example of the value of build-      winner of an Overseas Press Club of
ferent understanding of public/        is a matter of social and aca-         Iranians, simply want to have           The regime can attempt to         in Focus.                                            ing bridges of understanding between        America award.


The Epoch Times serialises The Nine Commentaries on the Chinese communist party http://ninecommentaries.com


    Part five: On the collusion of Jiang Zemin and the Chinese communist party to persecute Falun Gong
   This is part five of the Nine Commentar-       ards & Meteorology, was traumatised            until she had a miscarriage. Even cru-       the persecution of Falun Gong over the                  never have been capable of launching
   ies on the communist party. The Nine
   Commentaries are an award winning
   serial on the history of the communist
                                                  and afraid of losing his job. He could
                                                  not withstand the tremendous pressure
                                                  the authorities exerted on him. Early
                                                                                                 eler was that her husband was forced to
                                                                                                 watch his wife endure the torture (from
                                                                                                 a November 15th, 2004 report on the
                                                                                                                                              last decade, which has been bloody,
                                                                                                                                              irrational, widespread, vehement and
                                                                                                                                              brutal, has enabled the international
                                                                                                                                                                                                      this genocide, a genocide that is wide-
                                                                                                                                                                                                      spread throughout China and that even
                                                                                                                                                                                                      penetrates overseas. Similarly, the CCP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       QUITTING
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        THE CCP
   party in China authored by The Epoch           the next morning, taking advantage             Minghui website, an interview with Ms        community to once again witness the                     would not have easily gone against
   Times                                          of the time when their elderly parents         Wang Yuzhi who was tortured for over         true face of the CCP and the biggest dis-               the current of the historic trends and
                                                  had stepped out of the house, he stran-        100 days in the Wanjia Forced Labor          grace on the CCP’s human rights record.                 the environment created by the CCP’s
   Foreword                                       gled his wife. Yang Lirong died tragi-         Camp). [3]                                   The general public in China, under the                  recent economic reforms and attempts                      Inspired by the
   Ms Zhang Fuzhen, about 38 years                cally, leaving behind a 10-year-old son.          These startling tragedies occurred in     delusion that the CCP has been improv-                  to connect to the world; only a self-
   old, was an employee of Xianhe Park,           Soon afterwards, her husband reported          modern-day China. They happened to           ing and progressing, has become used to                 willed dictator like Jiang Zemin who              “Nine Commentaries”,
   Pingdu City, Shandong Province, China.         the incident to the authorities, and the       Falun Gong practitioners, who are being      blaming the low morality of the police                  was determined to have his way could
   She went to Beijing to appeal for Falun        police hurried to the scene to conduct an      brutally persecuted, and they are just a     for the atrocities committed by the                     make this happen. The collusion and                as of 18 August, at 16:06AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      59,126,663
   Gong in November 2000 and was later            autopsy on Ms Yang’s body, which was           few of the countless torture cases that      Chinese legal system and law enforce-                   resonance between Jiang Zemin and
   abducted by the authorities. Accord-           still warm. They removed many organs                                                        ment. However, the brutal, systematic                   the evil specter of the CCP have ampli-
   ing to people with knowledge of the            from her body while the organs were                                                         persecution of Falun Gong is ubiquitous                 fied the atrocities of the persecution to
   case, the police tortured and humiliated       still radiating heat and blood gushed                                                       throughout every level of Chinese soci-                 an unprecedented level. It is similar to
   Zhang Fuzhen, stripping her naked and          out. A Dingzhou Public Security Bureau                                                      ety and has completely burst the illusion               how the resonance between the sound
   shaving her whole head. They tied her to       staff said, “This is no autopsy; it is vivi-   A Dingzhou Public                            of improved human rights. Many people                   of a mountain climber’s equipment on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Chinese people have announced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       their intentions to quit the
   a bed with her four limbs stretched out,
   and she therefore was forced to relieve
                                                  section!” (from a September 25th, 2004
                                                  report on the Clearwisdom website) [2]         Security Bureau                              are now pondering how such a bloody
                                                                                                                                              and outrageous persecution could have
                                                                                                                                                                                                      accumulated snow can cause an ava-
                                                                                                                                                                                                      lanche and bring about disastrous con-           Chinese Communist Party and
   herself on the bed. Later, the police gave
   her an injection of an unknown poison-
                                                      In the Wanjia Forced Labor Camp
                                                  in Heilongjiang Province, a woman
                                                                                                 offical said, ‘This                          happened in China. The social order was
                                                                                                                                              stabilised after the chaos of the Great
                                                                                                                                                                                                      sequences.                                       its affiliated organisations on a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       special web site established by The
   ous drug. After the injection, Zhang was
   in so much pain that she nearly went
                                                  who was about 7 months pregnant
                                                  was hung up from a beam. Both of her
                                                                                                 is no autopsy; it is                         Cultural Revolution 20 years ago. Why
                                                                                                                                              has China entered another similar cycle
                                                                                                                                                                                                      References:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      [1] More information about this case can
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Epoch Times. Many others, unable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       to break through the Chinese
   insane. She struggled in great pain on         hands were tied with a coarse rope that        vivisection!’                                of nightmarish events? Why is Falun                     be found on: http://www.clearwisdom.             internet blockade, have posted
   the bed until she died. The whole proc-        was hung over a pulley attached to the                                                      Gong, which upholds the principles of                   net/emh/articles/2004/7/23/50560p.               their withdrawal statements on
   ess was witnessed by the local officials       beam. The stool that supported her was                                                      “Truthfulness, Compassion and Toler-                    html
   of the 610 Office (from a July 23, 2004        removed, and she was suspended in                                                           ance” and has been promulgated in over                  http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/                  poles or buildings in China. Others
   report on the Clearwisdom website) [1].        the air. The beam was 3 to 4 meters (10                                                     60 countries worldwide, being perse-                    articles/2004/6/7/48981p.html                    have written them on Chinese
      Ms Yang Lirong, 34, was from Bei-           to 12 feet) above the ground. The rope                                                      cuted only in China, not anywhere else                  [2] More information about this case can         currency. Read recent statements
   men Street, Dingzhou City, Baoding             went through the pulley, and one end of                                                     in the world? In this persecution, what                 be found on:                                     of Chinese people quitting the
   Prefecture, Hebei Province. Her family         the rope was held by the prison guards.        have taken place over the past five years    is the relationship between Jiang Zemin                 http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/                  Party, the latest news on the “Nine
   was often harassed and intimidated by          When the guards pulled on the rope, she        of continuous persecution.                   and the CCP?                                            articles/2004/9/25/52796.html                    Commentaries,” and more at http://
   the police because she practiced Falun         would be suspended in the air; as soon             Since China began economic reforms           Jiang Zemin lacks both ability and                  [3] Related information is also avail-
   Gong. On February 8th, 2002, after a           as the police let go of the rope, she would    in the late 1970s, the CCP has endeav-       moral integrity. Without a fine-tuned                   able from: http://search.minghui.org/            www.ninecommentaries.com
   nighttime police raid, Ms Yang’s hus-          quickly fall to the ground. This pregnant      ored to build a positive, liberal image in   machine of violence like the CCP, which                 mh/articles/2004/7/9/79007.html       (in
   band, a driver in the Bureau of Stand-         woman suffered painful torture like this       the international community. However,        is based on slaughters and lies, he would               Chinese)




  About The Epoch Times - ‘A fresh look at our changing world’
                                                  copies. Our main distribution channel in       the stories of our times, not on the basis   plete silence. Emails and telephone calls                meets a growing need for independently        the Nine Commentaries on the communist
  Overview                                        Ireland is free distribution but we are also   of what is sensational at the moment, but    went unanswered. All twenty journalists                  reported and published news, uncovering       party series in late 2004. (See http://nine-
  What you are reading is a copy of the Irish     available through Easons. Our retail price     instead in terms of what will be of last-    had been arrested in overnight raids and                 stories that have depth and meaning. In       commentaries.com.) Now in book form,
  edition of The Epoch Times. The Epoch           in Ireland is one Euro. We are also doing      ing significance. We take the long view of    sent to labour camps or prisons. Some of                 English, as well as six other languages, it   the Nine Commentaries takes an in-depth
  Times is a privately held multi-language        door-to-door delivery for promotion.           humanity’s history and future.               them have since died from maltreatment                   serves a broad, international readership.     look at the history of the communist party
  international news media company                    During a time when the world is                                                         in prison. At present, some ninety Epoch                                                               and its development in China and around
  headquartered in New York. Our network          changing ever more quickly, people need        Our history                                  Times reporters are currently detained in                China expertise                               the world. The book fully reveals the true
  of local reporters throughout the world         reliable information to understand events                                                   China.                                                                                                 nature of the Party, shocking its readers
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  independence enables us to report widely        and air opinions unavailable elsewhere.        dream. They wanted to reveal the great       We have developed an extensive net-                      is increasingly looking to China, as this        Right now, millions of Chinese peo-
  and to present a diversity of opinions.                                                        contrast between glowing media reports       work of dedicated journalists around the                 troubled giant goes through tremendous        ple are doing what was once unthink-
  The Epoch Times is an independent voice         Our values                                     of prosperity in China and the egregious     world. We will continue to utilize our                   changes. Business and political leaders,      able - they are quitting the Communist
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  globe.                                          rights, for all people. We often speak out     many stories of abysmal prison conditions    Times newspaper was launched in August                   edition of The Epoch Times.                   would like to write to The Epoch Times
     The Irish edition of The Epoch Times         for those who are oppressed, and cannot        and systematic torture. Then one day in      2004 in New York. The website began                          Using its unparalleled China-expertise    post to: The Epoch Times, PO. Box 10197,
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