Thursday, December 21, 2006

A weapon of mass communication

One of my Iranian friends sent me an e-mail message today, asking how she could get back on Flickr, which is blocked by the government. However, a number of my other friends over there have figured out how to circumvent the block, and they show up regularly on Flickr, often presenting some dazzling images which are their gifts to the world at large. I suggested to my friend that she contact a computer engineer I know, who lives in another part of Iran and is himself an enthuiastic member of Flickr. I also mentioned something I am seriously considering doing myself, in order to strike a blow for Iranian liberty; it involves a software program called Psiphon, which is discussed at some length in this article.

Feedback is invited. I told my friend that I had been thinking about doing this for several weeks, and wanted to look into it a bit further before I download Psiphon into my home computer. I explained that I trust the Iranians I know, but that I want to be sure that using Psiphon will not open the floodgates and make my computer accessible to people I don't know or trust, who could plant a virus in it or work other kinds of mischief that I don't want to risk.

In a tangentially related matter, Mr. Ahmadinejad has his own blog, which I have mentioned here before. Anyone in the world can leave comments on his site. I have not done so, because I believe the man is a snake, and I don't want to contribute anything to his blog that might somehow suggest that I support him in any way. (His people are another matter; I have great respect and affection for the Iranians I know, who I believe deserve far better than their current regime.) But I seriously considered leaving a comment of my own a few days ago. As my readers doubtless know, he is sponsoring a conference to investigate whether the Holocaust actually took place, and its participants include such luminaries and noteworthy historical scholars as David Duke. So I wanted to leave a comment on Mr. Ahmadinejad's blog, to the effect that I apologized for mentioning this too late to enable him to avoid the expense and inconvenience of the conference, but that I knew of a link to a website that could address all of his doubts and concerns. The link in question would be to the transcript of the Nuremberg trials, which appears on my own blog, I miei cari amici. I would also point out to the Iranian president that none of the defendants in the Nuremberg trial -- not a single one -- ever denied that the Holocaust had in fact taken place, although all of them had been accused either of actively participating in it, or aiding and abetting those who did. Their famous defense, as we all know, was that they had simply been following orders.

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