Government in exile but online

Government in exile but online
: Yesterday’s Times noted ousted Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori’s use of the Internet to try to rebuild his political base from exile:

His energy is focused, though, on a thin laptop computer, with a freestanding microphone and a Web camera perched like a Cyclops eye. A blue data cable serves as a high-speed umbilical cord to Peru, 9,000 miles away.

Alberto Fujimori is a political exile in the age of the Internet.

Wielding what he calls this “powerful instrument” over the last year, Mr. Fujimori, former president of Peru, has parried an Interpol arrest request, started a political movement in Peru, maintained his “From Tokyo” Web site, and transmitted programs for his new hourlong weekly radio show, which is broadcast on 60 stations in Peru.

“I live as if I were in Peru, but without the physical contact with the people,” said Mr. Fujimori, who took up residence in Japan, the land of his ancestors, in November 2000 as his administration fell apart during a corruption scandal. “Five years ago, this would have been unthinkable.”

In the case of Fujimori, the technology is being used by a disgraced loser. But the same technology can be used by most any outsiders to get inside. The Iranian bloggers are, of course, using this to build the political future of their country (and they have something wonderful underway you’ll hear about soon). The irony, of course, is that Ayatolla Khomeini had to build his base and power from exile and would have found all these tools quite powerful; now they will be used by the citizens he exiled to change the regime he created.