Monday, May 14, 2007

Experiences on Indymedia

The website itself initially inspires the reader with the obvious grassroots nature of it's organization, with individual topics being discussed by contributing community members. Much in the same way that a wiki has it's positive and negative attributes in the fact that any member can contribute, a replicated pattern can be observed in the Indymedia articles. I saw many that were interesting, well written, and thoughtfully constructed. As I have a great interest in Irish history and politics, going on the page for Irish news was exciting, particularly for two articles:

This article discusses recent plans and protests that have been dominating the Irish historical and environmental landscape for the past several years. There are plans by the Irish government to develop a highway through an area that is known as Tara, in County Meath just north of the city of Dublin. To the casual observer, this would hardly be an issue, but indeed it is something of absolute absurdity to any with concern for Irish history. The area of Tara, particularly the hill which they wish to practically demolish, was considered the seat for the high kings of Ireland for well over a thousand years. All of the ancient Irish epics and myths, from legendary figures such as Cuchulainn and Finn Mac Cumhaill, had their stories based on this historic landmark. If that were not reason enough, the entire area is covered with archaeological landmarks of incredible importance. There are tombs of incredible magnificence that were built there thousands of years before, some of them architectural marvels on the same level as Stonehenge in England, requiring massive stones and boulders that weigh several tons that were transported hundreds of miles for the formation.

The next article from the Irish realm that fascinated me was on the issue of Abortion, which has been enormous in Ireland in the past 10 to 15 years as a new wave of younger, educated youth have come to contest the religiously stern older generations that previously controlled the Irish political realm.

Abortion is still illegal in Ireland, and the issue discussed here is a woman's right to leave the country to have the operation performed at a different location. It became an issue about 15 or 20 years ago when a young girl was raped and denied the ability to leave the country to have the child aborted, winding up with a messy court battle and leaving her psychologically damaged from all the emotional trauma of the ordeal. This situation is still largely unresolved in this country which only recently legalized divorce in the past 20 years, proving just how recent many of these social issues are in this emerging nation.

While I enjoyed those two articles as they had particular interest for me, I also took some time to skim through other articles in other regions. This one caught my eye, and after reading it and the discussion I couldn't help but find myself at a loss for words. While the author makes several valid points regarding the history of racism, and also regarding the notion that, believe it or not, white people who claim to be leftist can actually have racist views, his generalizations are so intertwined with the same subtle aggression that he derides that one cannot help but see him as the pot calling the kettle black. To quote a part of the article:

"I'm calling on all white people to consider themselves racist until proven innocent. Consider that racism/white supremacy permeates EVERY institution of this country, the educational system, the media, all of it. There is no escaping it and if you are not actively engaged in a ferreting out and cleansing process - 24muthafucking7 - you are a non-racist in name only. Non-racists are made, not born and they are made not by reading a couple of bell hooks tomes. This isn't simply or merely an intellectual problem; this is a whole-person, spiritual issue. Its a lifetime process to heal. It takes honesty, guts, courage. Few have it. Do you?"

While one can appreciate the change he is trying to create, the manner in which he approaches the issue is juvenile at best, and will hardly affect the community in the way he wishes. If anything, I as a reader and a realist have only been further distanced from the irony of his post in which he slams the vast majority of white people for acting along racial lines. Pot. Kettle. Black.

My apologies for the long post, but feel free to comment, even only on individual parts, if you wish.


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