In November 2007 Tunisia blocked access to the popular video-sharing sites YouTube and DailyMotion, which both carried material about Tunisian political prisoners. It was not for the first time, and many other countries have blocked access to such sites, either to protect public morals, or to spare politicians’ blushes. What was unusual this time was the response. Tunisian activists and their allies organised a “digital sit-in”, linking dozens of videos about civil liberties to the image of the presidential palace in Google Earth. That turned a low-key human-rights story into a fashionable global campaign.Those Tunisians might have been onto something ... just imagine linking the pictures of those killed in the assassinations of the past 3 years to the Presidential Palace in Damascus; or perhaps the names and pictures of the Lebanese soldiers felled by Fatah al Islam, the Islamist terror group with clandestine links to the Syrian intelligence apparatus; or even the stories and images of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian jails.
Such authoritarian countries are increasingly co-operating: Chinese software for finding keywords and spotting dangerous sites is among the best in the world. But international co-operation cuts both ways. If Egypt, for example, buys Chinese web-censorship technology, the Egyptian bloggers may learn ways to bypass it from their Chinese colleagues before the technology arrives.
Come to think of it, it would be uncouth of us to not mention the man for whom many of these Lebanese gave their lives fighting the Syrians and who has now conveniently forgotten about them.
And why leave out his finger-waving allies, the daily howls of whom continue to lay bare the hollowness of their rhetoric and their "promise", even while their barbaric attacks exposed them to those who wouldn't see.
And finally, any rant wouldn't be complete without our neighbors to those South, who saw fit to leave [another] legacy of death behind by dropping over 100,000 cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of a conflict already brought to an end.
Yeah, those Tunisians were onto something alright ... but it may be their European neighbors to the north that we should watch out for!