People are very touchy these days when it comes down to certain issues. Makes me think of an ancient South Park episode where Christmas is ruined because everyone has gone out of their way to accomodate the beliefs of others so as not to offend anyone. Ya gottabee “P.C.” In 2012, Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off Greece’s Olympic team after she tweeted out comments mocking African immigrants … she immediately issued this response, her last tweet ever…

I’m still astonished at how fragile people have become, bruising so easily in 2014. Note this article: Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including ‘racist’ joke about Muslim woman

Making fun of someone or something or even of yourself is not racist.

Perhaps one commenter on that Independent website typed it best: “How much longer do we have to suffer this “Racist” BS? Robin Williams was a comedy genius. When you lose your ability to laugh, you have lost everything. Who cares that the arabs are upset? I get upset everytime I read or see images of one of them holding a severed head. I guess that makes me racist too!”

Not too long ago here in upstate New York, A young white woman’s career was bludgeoned after what I still believe was an innocent tweet with no eveil intentions. You can read about that here.

A senior writer at New York Magazine (who appears to be caucasian) may have been recently slighted by a male caucasian… or is she merely role-playing the “sex terrorist” she claims to be on her twitter bio?

Have a look at the tweet “pinned” to appear at the top of her account:


Jessica Roy may have missed an article that appears in rival pub “The New Yorker” ::: “On Wednesday, Pandora became the latest Silicon Valley company to publicize a breakdown of its employees by gender and race. Notably, Pandora employs a much larger share of female workers—about forty-nine per cent globally—than most of the other big companies that recently disclosed their numbers, including Google, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook (in all these companies, women only make up around thirty per cent of employees). Pandora also appears to have a larger share of underrepresented minorities than many of the others. The company, commentators concluded from the figures, must be doing something right.” Read the complete article here.

To be fair, there is a passage that reads “software programmers, as a group, tend more often to be white and male…” but you could also say that “tuna fishermen, as a group, tend more often to be Asian and male,” or “Church-based social clubs, as a group, tend to be more elderly and female.” You can frame it any way you like and take it as ridiculoulsy far as you can. To a point.

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It must have been something I tweeted…

In recent days I have been approached by (and have appeared on) radio outlets outside the United States to participate in panel discussions relating to freedom of the flow of information.

No doubt this is connected to one or more of my tweets where I suggest a media blackout of #ISIS is a bad idea. #Awareness and understanding of any enemy threat is a valuable chunk of data. I’d rather see a post showing an ISIS message in downtown Chicago or a smartphone displaying an ISIS website outside the White House than not know or see anything.

A friend whom I haven’t heard from in ages was always insistent that “before bad things happen, they have to tell us.” I’m not sure if he subscribed to the Illuminati train of thought or what – I do know he was fascinated by word plays. He pointed out things like beLIEve – the word “lie” in the midst of beLIEf – free + dumb = freedom, and in + formation = information. Things like that.

I thought of my friend a few days ago when a gentleman on CBS Morning News mentioned he “wouldn’t be surprised if ISIS showed up at a US shopping mall,” a la Westgate. But what could you or I do? Just be careful at the mall? Keep plotting exit strategies in our brains?

Another thing I’ve tweeted involves the use of Ebola as a weapon of terror. That came home this morning when news broke that ISIS offered the US a Bergdahl deal – they would trade journalist James Foley, not for 5 terrorists, but for one – an Al Qaeda woman serving a lengthy jail term here in the US after she was found in possesion of plans to weaponize Ebola as well as details involving planned attacks on American soil. At the time Bergdahl was freed, many questioned the wisdom of releasing the 5 terrorists. Could the lone Al-Qaeda woman be more dangerous than the 5 of them combined? I’m not qualified to answer that.

I’ve also tweeted about the failure of anyone to #BringBackOurGirls – the 200 or so captured by Boko Haram seem to not matter anymore in the world of #IceBucketChallenge

See Also:  #ISIS and Freedom of Speech

Imagine you sign on twitter – and you want to promote the Ice Bucket challenge – and then twitter suspends your account because twitter doesn’t like the idea of an Ice Bucket Challenege – maybe because it could harm someone. The Daily News has identified a number of Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters that were suspended over the past week.

Twitter stepping up suspensions of ISIS-affiliated accounts: experts

As we’ve seen with Google and more recently Microsoft, people don’t have too many rights when it comes to the internet. This is why groups like Anonymous promote hacktivism and US President Barack Obama sides with those who would like to maintain Net Neutrality.

What if twitter decided it didn’t care for Israeli media’s tweets about Gaza? Take dowsn the Israeli accounts?

Love ‘em, hate ‘em or fear ‘em, I believe ISIS tweets are a critical component not only of free speech, but of the greater flow of information. According to the DN, “The Twitter crackdown matters, terrorism experts say.
Terrorists by definition use violent acts to frighten larger populations, and rely on media to reach those they hope to terrorize. ISIS in particular has used social media “to give the impression that this group is unstoppable.”

I also have seen over the last several days, ISIS members tweeting a few convincing corrections and adjustments to “news” spread by the mainstream media. There’s propaganda sprinkled to varying degrees in many news reports we see on teevee, and not just those dealing with ISIS.

Cutting ISIS off from social media communication and engagement is a mistake. But that’s just my opinion.

Related: Your freedom, and the Internet…

On Thursday, July 24, The WIP and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies will co-host Twitter chat “Women in Islam: Myth vs. Reality.” Join the conversation from 9:30 am – 10:30 am PDT / 12:30 pm – 1:30pm EDT on Twitter. #LocalVoicesTalk

The idea for “Women in Islam: Myth vs. Reality” was inspired by two CNS
fellows from Pakistan – Maria Syed and Nidaa Shahid. Both fellows wrote
this summer for The WIP addressing the common misperceptions in the West
of women in Pakistan. After sharing the topic with CNS fellow
Abdulmajeed Ibrahim of Nigeria, the topic grew to address common
misperceptions in the West about Islam. The vision for this conversation is to engage Muslims and Non-Muslims to cultivate better cross-cultural understanding.

The Twitter event follows my radio presentation “Muslimahs On Faith And Women’s Issues,” which aired the weekend of July 19-20.

More information + bios of the chat panel can be found here.
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