Sunday, May 23, 2010

How do you say Net Nanny in Urdu ?

Pakistan seems to have caught the China disease. It has banned Facebook, YouTube, et al. Because some idiot somewhere in the world launched a Facebook campaign “Everybody draw Muhammad day”. As is well known, any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemy in Islam. People who volubly deny the holocaust, draw cartoons of the Prophet, etc must be quartered – they are deliberately inciting religious hatred and violence. Freedom of speech is a precious freedom, but does not extend to shouting Fire in a crowded theatre.

The reaction from Pakistan has been to ban Facebook. Facebook is not doing this – somebody is using Facebook to create mischief. But then, as said in the immortal lines from Casablanca – “Round up the usual suspects”. Ban them all. There's a furious debate going on in Pakistan on the sense, or senselessness, of this move.

Almost certainly, proxies will see a sudden surge of business from Pakistan. Pakistan has a vibrant social networking community – especially bloggers. We, from outside Pakistan, and especially from India, would do well to read and follow some of them. Nothing serves Indians and Pakistanis poorer than ignorance about each other. Especially since we are so similar , that we are essentially the same.

I’ll leave you with a superb post I read in The Dawn’s blog. I couldn’t help but chuckle all the way. The Dawn incidentally, is Pakistan’s leading English newspaper and a fine one at that. It’s a newspaper I love to read on the Net. It will completely dispel the stereotypes of Pakistan. I recommend its blogs – there’s some wonderful writing and perspectives out there.