Saturday, 22 May 2010


The recent Facebook contoversy has generated a lot of interest, not least because Pakistan and Muslims are in the news yet again. And whereas, there's nothing wrong being Muslim, it's a typical hysteric reaction from many different sides.

The Muslims, in the main, oppose this rather provocative trend of drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad PBUH that has gained pace since the Danish cartoon controversy. The government of Pakistan decided to ban Facebook, Youtube, Twitter etc. in a gesture to control the spread of this, particularly after a "Draw Mohammad Day" was announced and promoted via some of these mediums.

I guess, the rights and wrongs of the ban are one thing. The greater wrong has been the media momentum with which the "draw" brigade has gained voice. There is absolutely no such thing as complete free speech and whereas, I too, use this blog to voice thought and opinon, I know that I concisously filter before I write. I know that there will be an audience somewhere that will read this - and that I can choose to write to inflame or not.

Facebook or Not

The Internet represents a window on the world, that is both cruel and fascinating and as such is the home of many undesirables. Pakistan's decision to ban Facebook, controls only parts of that. The country continues to have problems at home, not least with it's over-dependency on the US, chronic power and supply shortages, a restless population and a real sense of seperation between population and state in the Pashtoon and Baloch belt. In the latter there is an armed resistance movement that opposes the state and in the former, a people divided - with evidence to suggest that paid agents of the state have inflitrated and embedded within local populations so that everyone is caught in the quagmire that is the war on terror.

The cartoonist at the centre of the controversy - has apologised - but in terms of negative publicity, heightened alarm, and entrenched positions ... well the damage is deep, and that isn't as easily undone.

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