Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘political asylum

The standoff between Britain and the State of Ecuador, which gave Julian Assange political asylum, in order not be extradited to Sweden has been making headlines around the world.

For the past two months, Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The U.K. courts ruled to extradite him to Sweden where he faces possible sexual assault and misconduct charges. 

Anonymous is a loosely affiliated international collective, composed of tech-savvy activists, which originated online on imageboards and forums.

 posted on Aug. 22 under “What/Who is Anonymous?

Photo by Enrique Dans (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/)

This story has caught the attention of the public because it is more than just news: it is a drama. Assange is a controversial figure for his role in publishing classified diplomatic cables on Wikileaks (for more about “Cablegate,” see here), but he is not the only one involved in this spectacle.

Although the U.S. is not directly involved, it casts a shadow over this standoff. Assange and his supporters fear that if the UK extradited him to Sweden, it would not be long before he would be delivered to the U.S.  It is feared that the US would charge Assange with espionage stemming from when his website published a trove of American secrets.

Another controversial player in this drama is the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Anonymous has used Wikileaks to distribute information it acquired from its hacking endeavors. It has also supported the ideals of free information, freedom of expression and freedom of the press that Assange espoused.

The question people have been asking is, “who or what is Anonymous?” People have asked if members of this  hacktivist group are freedom fighters, vigilantes or terrorists.

Asking about members is not the way to get at the meaning of this group. The real question is, on a metaphysical level, what is Anonymous? On a fundamental level, what kind of entity or being is Anonymous?

In its early days, Anonymous was not an identifiable Internet entity, but was a large subculture of people who posted anonymously and played “pranks” on websites, popularized memes and defined aspects of Internet culture. The creativity and outrageous content on these boards attracted the media, which described this community as brilliant and insane.

In 2008, this boundless creativity developed a more focused shape and perspective on the world. It adopted the name “Anonymous” and often used the image of a suit without a head or a Guy Fawkes mask to symbolize that it had no leader and was the embodiment of an idea.

Since then, Anonymous has become known for its strong opposition to Internet censorship, human rights violations, privacy violations, government opacity, and big corporations. It has become a recognizable presence at protests because its members wear the symbolic masks to show that they are part of this international group.

Photo by Trowbridge Estate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggers/)

On August 15th, I became aware that Anonymous was following, and invested in, this standoff when Britain threatened to remove the Ecuadorian embassy’s diplomatic privileges and storm the building to arrest Assange. I was up late enough to see several Anonymous groups on Facebook post urgent messages in the early hours of the 16th.

According to the posts, police officers were entering the embassy. The messages were brief and conveyed a sense of anxiety that is rare on such pages. Although separate individuals maintain the various Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, within several minutes of each other, all were calling for available “Anons” to convene at the embassy and see what was going on.

More specifically, the administrators and people online who were not in London were asking others to take pictures and transmit a live video of what was happening.

Soon enough, a protester had a “livestream” feed up and others were taking photos and uploading them to Anonymous pages. In addition, several Anons were able to coordinate a demonstration where they wore Guy Fawkes masks and held signs proclaiming, “I am Julian” as an expression of solidarity.

This was not a risk-free endeavor on the part of the protesters. Police threatened to arrest the man who was filming and they arrested at least one person outside the embassy including a legal observer who was then “released” under the condition that he stay in a designated “protest pen.” (See here)

This remarkable display of efficient collaboration, communication and willingness to act for the good of the group is a large part of what makes Anonymous so remarkable. Anonymous describes itself as a “hive mind” and this could not be a more accurate description. Just as in a hive, each member contributes to the whole and brings his or her talents, abilities, and insights that benefits the community.

Although there are people within Anonymous who have skills in planning operations and working with technology, there is no leader. Each person who participates and contributes has the liberty to take the initiative and start a project on behalf of the collective.

There is no official way to become a “member,” so it is odd to speak of those who consider themselves to be part of Anonymous as such. It is more accurate to say that Anonymous is made up of people who have connected online over shared goals, interests and ideals, and also individually identify with whatever they perceive Anonymous as. (Check out this video)

On a fundamental level, Anonymous is an actualized idea of the potential for freedom, creativity and personal responsibility. It is an idea to which individuals can, and do, attribute their actions that they believe are in-line with the sentiments of the hive mind. 

One can see those who actively participate in Anonymous, or related groups, as parts of a giant brain or fragments of a self-aware collective consciousness. This loosely connected group acts on issues about which the majority of people participating on the Internet feel strongly.

Shared ideas evolve the way an individual’s thoughts evolve and this collective thought process directs the trend of Anonymous’ activity in the physical world. However, this entity does not have specific longterm goals that could potentially stifle the creative and organic way it interacts with the world.

Anonymous’ response to Britain’s threat to the Ecuadorian embassy was an example of this hive mind’s ability to focus on and respond to a specific situation in the physical world. Although the vast majority of Anonymous activity occurs online, this entity has the ability to manifest in the physical world with people acting as eyes or mouths.

The protesters who uploaded photos on the 16th potentially put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve as the eyes of the group. Perhaps one of the reasons people are willing to risk their safety is because no one told them that it was their duty to do so. Instead, it seems that this willingness originates authentically and organically within the individuals, which results in these people having a strong personal investment in their choice of actions, and therefore are willing to do more.

In these moments when someone chooses to act under the banner of Anonymous, the person not only acts for the benefit of everyone creating the hive mind; the individual surrenders his or her own personal identity and assumes that of the whole, becoming Anonymous – both one and many.

What do you think of Anonymous?

Note: Anonymous leaks are not the exclusive real of this group: Political systems adopt anonymous leaks: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/news-leaks-or-spoonfed-official-news/

“Why am I how I am?”: Four Supporting Factors

 

Reason #6: Ideology

 

The next year I joined a political party. 

With next to nothing in political awareness I was carried away.

I was approached by close friends who already joined the party.

I attended secret lectures on the principles and doctrine of the party.

I read many of its literature and the writings of its leader.

I agreed on many terms of its principles and moral standings.

I still would not have joined if not for urgent nudging.

Even after joining I was not satisfied until I read the literature

Of the alternative political parties to compare and strengthen my belief.

I did not care for the positions of the right wing political parties.

I focused my ideological education on those claiming to be leftists.

I read all the volumes of Karl Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse Tong.

I even read Kim Il Sung, go figure!

I slaved for that party:  I spent my scares financial resources which I did not earn.

I invested much time and efforts in organizing, marching in demonstrations,

Participating in ceremonies, attending the required meetings, and basically,

Wasted the better of my university years in chimera.

I failed to excel in my academic studies.

I failed to striving for good grades and looking forward for a brighter personal future.

 

Joining wholeheartedly a political party or any civic association could have advantages.

It could be an excellent decision that open varied opportunities for youth.

It can develop their personal potentials and connect with proper referrals.

Not this particular party and not for me.

My political party was a pariah to the Lebanese system of governance.

Theoretically, your application for joining the party is kept a secret;

Absolutely not true, but what youth knows?

Many political parties offer ways for advancement and jobs.

In my case, all public services and administrative position in the State were closed to me.

Even teaching in the public schools and most private schools were prohibited for me.

Political parties need leaders, directors, managers, and mostly “soldiers”.

The leaders are usually selected from the outspoken and the well connected.

My fate was to slave in the dark, spend my money and be an extra number.

Time is of the essence and the most critical at this juncture of my life.

I wasted time and efforts amply in the wrong direction and purpose.

 

These university years were the best in cultural development.

I spent countless hours seeing movies, watching theater plays and attending conferences.

Alone, always alone.

 

Reason #7: Smoking

 

I started smoking at the age of 26, just to fit in a bar exhibiting girls dancing nude.

I could not stand the taste or smell of cigarettes but managed to finish a box.

Slowly but surely I got hooked to smoking even though I still could not enjoy it.

I never even tried a single puff before then or was tempted to try.

This addiction to smoking precipitated my downfall:

I have been noticing substantial declines in whatever cognitive abilities I had.

I experienced lack of concentration on any subject for more than fifteen minutes.

My memory deteriorated even further.

I felt shortness in breathing, continuous coughing, and vocal degradation.

Smoking is nefarious for social relationships, especially among women.

Smoking is categorically not appreciated in a working environment.

I quit smoking for ten days: a beautiful girl made me promise for just that duration.

I fasted for 40 days because I wanted to share the fast of a Muslim friend of mine.

I excluded smoking from the constraints.

 

Reason #8: A social naïve

 

I am basically very naïve in social machinations.

This may not be a reason but a by-product of the previous reasons.

I keep my word even when I realize that the given promises were deceptive.

I once promised a manager to stay for a year as his assistant at a certain monthly pay.

The pay turned out to include the cost of many perks.

I resigned after a year.

I keep my part of any contract even when I discover that I have been abused.

I worked for four years at a job that was not within my domain:

I was promised a higher position after the work is finished.

I suffered stomach aches for six months:

The physical diagnoses didn’t show any cause.

It was a purely nervous work stress or a psychological factor.

But I fulfilled my contract.

I worked for five years in Real Estates, listing and selling private properties.

After two years of literal hunger I managed to earn a decent return on my persistence.

I spent lavishly on advertisement from my own pocket.

I had to convince the Internal Revenue Services of my poverty for months.

My profit was not commensurate to their assumptions by a long shot.

I consistently lowered my share on percentages which I thought were outrageous.

My position on commission rates raised the angst of my associates:

They activated a campaign to curtail my business and even kick me out of the syndicate.

 

Reason #9:  Lack of financial support and proper connections.

 

This reason might also be categorized as a byproduct;

It is at best a supporting factor;

As opposed to the previous basic and fundamental reasons.

My parents could not initiate another successful business after they returned to Lebanon.

While in the USA for higher education the civil war in Lebanon was raging.

My folks had no money coming in.

They even lost the remaining of their financial resources.

The devaluation of the Lebanese pound reduced their savings to nothing.

I had to fend for myself though the original plan was to visit every summer.

Now, many overseas Lebanese students were purchasing the latest car models.

I was pedaling a two-speed bicycle; the only transportation available to me.

There were no public transportation facilities in town.

I slung a backpack over my shoulders for provisions and whatever errands.

As a matter of facts all the cars that I bought were old and cheap.

Cars ruined me and I ended up giving them away to charity organizations:

I could not afford to repair them.

I had no family or relative connections whatsoever to providing any recourse or news.

Many students could get married for the purpose of obtaining the American citizenship.

I lived for over 20 years in the USA and did not secure even a Green Card;

An essential mean and requirement to be hired by any established company.

Strong connection or backed by powerful referrals do secure good jobs.

Many worthwhile jobs were denied me on the basis of not having this lousy Green Card;

It also disqualified me from a few important university projects.

The projects were directly or indirectly financed by the all pervasive Defense Ministry.

Something on my life since I returned to Lebanon in 2000

 

The “suicidal” decision

 

            My diary covers the period since 2004 but it includes basically many events in most of my life and my impressions and should be used to fill the gaps in my shortened autobiography. 

At Re/Max I was doing fine with my associate Marlon, from the Philippine, and then I sold a property and the owners of Re/Max wanted the percentage on the bonus that the seller offered me and I got pissed off and asked a Real Estate lawyer I deal with to negotiate that bonus problem but I got no responses.  I decided to pay Re/Max $7,000 for past dues instead of settling for the 30/70 cut on a commission; that was a huge mistake on my part and I paid dearly for it.  I joined another Realtor in Gaithersburg as independent with a modicum monthly due but I had to change all my signs and posters and my business went downhill for the same hours of work and toil and misery.

And then surprise; finally after 7 years, the immigration got on my file as a political refuge applicant. My former lawyer had told me that if my file is not opened in that a six years lapse of time then I could apply for residency status; her information was not correct, I think. I had to visit the immigration office in Virginia for an interview; the case officer told me that I was entitled for residency after 20 years in the USA but as a political refuge case he has obliged to defer me to a judge and would not give me residency.

I was tired of fighting my case as a political refugee and I had not the financial means or the necessary support to linger any longer in the USA; I was practically sick and tired of my lonely life; I had lost or lacked any purpose there since my work in Real Estates was not saving me any money after the frequent expenses for promoting my line of business.

            On a whim, I ordered my lawyer to ask for voluntary deportation.  Consciously, I knew that this is the moment in my live that I decided “suicide” in the long term.  There were no major opportunities in Lebanon and I was never fit to live and transact in the social fabric of Lebanon.  I have always been introverted and could not be voluble as society would expect from me.  I had no friends and I didn’t expect to have learned much on how to make friendship.

I sold my car for cheap $1,000 to my landlord and left him everything that I could not carry in two traveling suitcases, including the Japanese “futon” that I cherished, my expensive hair cutter and my cellular phone and everything in my lousy room.  I made the mistake of leaving over $1,500 in the bank, an amount that the bank would not return to me on the tacit understanding that the government has taken the money to cover taxes due.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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