Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nepal Democracy Google Group Does Not Believe In Free Speech

"Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech." Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992).

First I got an invitation, so I joined. Then I started posting. I posted a lot. At one point I was the top poster for the month. I mean, I was active.

A few days back I learned I have been kicked out of the group. I applied again for membership. So far I have not heard from the moderator. I don't know who the moderator is. So far it appears to be a faceless entity.

I emailed a few people I knew who are with the group. They said they will bring it up with the moderator. Looks like there have been a few phone calls. A few emails. A few discussions.

The first thing that was brought up was etiquette.

Then the second thing that was brought up was national unity. These guys are funny. They feel the few things I have to say at some little Google group might be a threat to the national unity in Nepal. You got to take a second look at these guys.

Then there is offense being taken at the use of the term Pahadi chauvinism. These thin-skinned overeducated Bahuns are really upto something, it looks like.

People who pretend not to know the difference between the words "madisey" and Madhesi talk of national unity.

"I can't work with you."

These people obviously have no inkling of free speech. The group calls itself Nepal Democracy. Free speech is the fundamental tenet of democracy. That is why the king's media ordinance is offensive.

So far I have been trying to get one of the members to start a protest thread at the group's site. I am not sure it has happened as yet. So far the people have been too busy hobnobbing with whoever the moderator is.

Free speech is not a matter of convenience. You can not stand for it only when you hear pleasant things. These Bahuns can not stomach a legitimate discussion on social justice issues. That is what is happening.

They come to America, but live in their mini Nepals. Got to open your minds a little.

I prefer open discussions. That feels democratic. This group is closed. It is about a hundred individuals, of which maybe a half dozen write with any regularity. It is but a mailing list.

I prefer to do my work through this blog right here. I don't really miss the group, but this is a serious free speech issue.

Free speech can not be defined. You do not have to follow no etiquette. You don't have to be socially correct. By whose standards? You don't have to say things that make some closed minded Bahuns feel like they are actually open minded when they obviously are not.

Agreeing and disagreeing comes second.

There is a school of thought called democracy first, then social justice. I am not part of it. It is because there is another school of thought called peace first, then democracy. I am not part of that either. And they are in power right now.

Peace, democracy and social justice go together.

I am not someone ranting and raving. I have offered creative solutions.

Old prejudiced bonds have to be broken. New progressive bonds have to be formed. And that process can be smooth. You make it smooth through an open and respectful dialogue.

Check this out: The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power.

If we at this end can not take the lead, what hopes at the other end?

Snuffing out dialogue on the social justice issue is exactly the wrong thing to do. Dialogue is what is needed. We have to initiate dialogue where none might exist. That is the way to go.

A constituent assembly will be a lot of dialogue. We have to facilitate that dialogue. If we can not do it here at some little Google group, what hopes at the other end in Nepal where the group situation is much more volatile, so volatile it is actually a civil war situation.

Social progress is beneficial for both the oppressor and the oppressed. Both groups benefit. Less sexism is good for both men and women, not just for women. Segregation was unhealthy for both blacks and whites in America.

This is the time for the Nepalis in America to be moving onto the next step, to go beyond moral support to actually helping with logistics. This is the time to be engaging in some massive fund-raising. This is not the time to get tripped by some modest talk on social justice.

I need to be reinstated at the Google group. I need to be talking again there.

I think all of us need to be taking a look at this Proposed Constitution and providing feedback. There is this tendency among Bahuns to somehow revive the 1990 constitution. That path is disaster. Make up your mind. That phase of history is over. Now we need to move to the next phase. There is no going back. There is only going forward.

Those who will not fight for my free speech do not have any right to protest the king's media ordinance. That is what it boils down to. No free speech is akin to no democracy. Free speech is that fundamental.

American Civil Liberties Union - Free Speech
Free Speech Radio News/Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship
ACLU: Internet Free Speech - Free Speech: Use It or Lose It
Freedom of speech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In The News

Nepal's Government Condemns Opposition's Agreement With Rebels Bloomberg
Wait & watch MEA stand on Nepal Maoists Indian Express, India
Nepal govt reviews rebels-Opp pact The Statesman, India
Nepal's 'tyrant' king isolated by Maoist deal, United Kingdom


Anonymous said...

When you joined the group you may have agreed to respect basic etiquette as defined by the moderators. It is common for mailing lists to be moderated or not moderated.

If so, then the group was created with moderation in mind, for whatever reason. Keep in mind that the internet is full of moderated discussion groups. Moderation does not mean an end to free speech.

It looks like rather than pushing for a moderated group to not become moderated, the most you can do is to ask for an explanation of why you were kicked out.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, you are right. Just checked out the description to the group:

" Description: This is a moderated list of members interested in discussing issues related to Nepalese democracy. Membership is by recommendation only. Write to the owners about yourself (name, profession, and so forth), so that we can recommend you to the group "