Posts from June 2003
Building bridges, building islands
: The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman got it wrong today in his column on Google as God.
He fears that the Internet will lead to more islands, more hatred, more collections of groups doing bad.
But I see the exact opposite happening. I even preached about it today. I see more connections, more bridges, thus fewer islands. I see Iranians and Americans talking; I see Iraqis beginning to tell their stories to the world; I see Israelis communicating their viewpoint; I see good coming of all this.
The byte is half-full, Mr. Friedman, not half-empty. The Internet — and particularly, weblogs — brings connections, not disconnections, understanding, not misunderstanding.
World Stupidity Awards
: Well, how could I have missed the World Stupidity Awards:
:Stupidest Person in the World – Former Iraqi Information Minster Saeed al-Sahaf.
Stupidest Government in the World – People’s Republic of North Korea
Media Outlet which has made greatest Contribution to Furthering Ignorance Worldwide – CNN
Stupidity Award for Reckless Endangerment of the Planet – U.S. President George W. Bush
Stupidest Trend or form of Mass Hysteria – Humans destroying the planet
Stupidest Film of the Year – Kangaroo Jack
Stupidest Person in Canada – Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Hmmm. If only I’d had the chance to nominate Jacques Chirac as Stupidist Head of State; BBC as Stupidist Network, Canada as Stupidist Former American Ally. Any other nominees?
: My posting has been light the last day or so because I had to finish up a sermon I got dragooned into giving this morning at my little Congregational church in New Jersey.
It was my third sermon out of September 11th: “The first time I stood here, six months after September 11th, I talked about the pain. The second time, on the first anniversary, I talked about the anger. Today, I will talk about the beginning of redemption in three small changes for the good.” It mentions this weblog as well as Hoder‘s and Greg Allen’s. Full text, if you dare, is here.
America and Iran
: L. Bruce Laingen, who was charge d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Tehran when it was seized by Iranian hostage-takers, writes a column arguing that we shouldn’t get involved in Iran and that it’s not ready for revolution. I wonder what the Iranian bloggers have to say about that; it’s one matter to debate America’s support of the Iranian democracy movement and quite another to debate the existence of that movement.
Regime change in Tehran is inevitable. But it must come from within. Iran is not Iraq. It is big; it is populous: 70 million and counting. It is overwhelmingly Shiite. Its people are culture-proud and intensely nationalistic. The current student unrest is symptomatic, but there is little evidence of a burgeoning public movement sufficient to press revolutionary change. A quasidemocratic process and an evolving civil society work to keep political agitation largely under control, with the Basij and other militants put on the streets to curb student unrest. After the climactic events of the revolution and the eight years of devastating war with Iraq, there is little public readiness for institutional upheaval. Nor is there any evident alternative leadership of any stature among the students or other opposition.
Change will come, but it can and should be “soft” change.
Our neighbor to the north, Iran
: I’m going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and hope that he was misquoted by the Iranian official news agency but here’s what they say Canada’s deputy prime minister said in Tehran:
Zanjan, June 29, IRNA — Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Patric Carson said here on Sunday that Tehran and Ottawa shared identical problems with Washington.
Carson, who is heading an economic delegation to this northwestern province, said that his country has economic problem with the US while Iran’s problem with Washington is political.
The Canadian official made the remark in a meeting with deputy governor general of the province for planning, Ahmad Sorkhpar.
If true, this is appalling.
: UPDATE: Comments, below, make it clear that the deputy PM is not Patric Carson and no one can find any Patric Carson in the government of Canada. So Iran lies. Surprise, surprise.