Internet Anarchy

Very nice thoughts here on internet and privacy.

jonanluleti

the continued and unabated leakage of sex tapes, their unrestricted access by both the old and morally virgin, will sooner than later lead us to a society where one is exposed, and is free to expose others as they wilt. This is what I sturdily term as “internet anarchy”.

Sex tapes have become an apparently amazing venture, for both the morally depraved and the inquisitive. On the other hand they have become so excruciating, a prick in the skin, to the main participants or victims. The issue of sex tapes comes hand in hand with the problem, or better, the utopia of the new age of technology. These become an issue where the main participants are, or at least one of them is recorded unknowingly, or they are undesirably exposed on internet. They also become an issue where all and sundry can access them.

I was graced with…

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Xenophobia: South Africa’s New and Silent Apartheid?

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Recent Xenophobic attack in Durban: Image credit AFP

It is now seven years since much of South Africa was shocked by the xenophobic violence that began in Alexandra township, then spread to other areas in Gauteng and the Western Cape. After the first domestic military intervention since 1994, the violence subsided.

More than 60 people were killed, hundreds of thousands displaced and tens of thousands had to shelter in hastily erected camps through the winter. With this, you might think that a permanent solution to the xenophobic violence was negotiated but it is different.

Today in April 2005, the xenophobic attacks are sweeping through the slums of Soweto and mostly the third largest city in South Africa, Durban. Shops are being torched. Streets are being barricaded. Tyres are being set alight. Rocks have become weapons. People whether young or old are being hacked, stabbed, shot and burned to death. Jubilant mobs hound Somalis, Mozambicans, Zimbabweans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis from their homes and businesses.

In the wake of this, comes a directive by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who stoked the fires by calling for foreigners to pack their bags and leave saying they are the major cause of unemployment and insecurity. Meanwhile, the government is still wrestling with how to define the problem.

Why South Africa?

South Africa is to many Africans what America represents to many around the world: an escape, a fresh start, a land of opportunity. When gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886, it was soon being mined by men from a dozen African nations.

Today the country is a magnet for Congolese, Ethiopians, Malawians, Mozambicans, Nigerians, Somalis, Zimbabweans and others fleeing conflict or seeking to improve their lot. Estimates of immigrant numbers vary from 2 million to 5 million, out of a population of 51 million.

The nation, it is believed that it has about 2 million documented and undocumented immigrants, which is about 4% of the total population, according to a study by the University of the Witwatersrand.

Zimbabweans make up the largest group of immigrants.

But the recent wave of xenophobia has tarnished this image and fuelled resentment among those who accuse South Africa of an arrogant exceptionalism that looks down on the rest of the continent.

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Internet photo

So where is all this coming from?

South Africa’s xenophobia reflects the country’s history of isolation. As a country at the southern most tip of Africa, South Africans are fond of referring to their continental counterparts as”Africans” or “people from Africa”. Many business ventures, news publications and events– aimed at local audiences– routinely speak about “going to Africa”.

This violence, is revealing two demons that still threaten South African society. The first is embodied in migrants themselves. Thanks to decades of negative discourse and practice, people out-of-place – migrants – remain an object of suspicion to South Africans. They often see them as threats: to safety, employment and progressive transformation. In the imagination of many, they loom as thieves and criminals set to rob the country and its citizens of their most valuable assets. At best, they are seen as victims of capitalist exploitation or hapless governments on the continent.

There are historical reasons for this demonization, but we need not search hard to locate a fundamental unease with human mobility – not just immigration but also domestic migration – in post-apartheid urban development plans, security programmes and, ironically, strategies for promoting social cohesion.

The second demon is a society, or parts of it, willing to turn violently on those living peacefully within it. The violence of May 2008 was hand to hand, neighbour against neighbour. Those killed were not killed at a distance but hacked with machetes, burned in their homes or bludgeoned with wooden giraffes and auto parts. This is more or less what is happening today.

Many people refer to the history of South Africa as the root of the problem apartheid was tough and many South Africans are still wary….but wait a minute…. Apartheid was not imposed by other Africans. It was imposed by the white man who thought he was superior to the black man and chose to enslave him in his own land. As far as I know, all the African countries rallied behind South Africa; Thabo Mbeki related, at a talk in Cape Town very fondly, his enjoyable stay in Nigeria during apartheid. I watched a documentary where many South African exiles related how they were hidden by other African countries, educated and taken care of, so dare I say, history has nothing to do with this xenophobic killings. It’s all about the mind of a black man.

But are the foreigners stealing the jobs?

For the record, foreigners don’t dominate the South African informal sector.

According to The Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC)’s research, international migrants are far more likely to run their own businesses. Eleven percent are “employers” and 21% are classed as “self-employed”. By comparison, only 5% of non-migrants and domestic migrants were employers and only 9% of non-migrants and 7% of domestic migrants were self-employed.

Late last year, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory – a collaborative project between Wits University, the University of Johannesburg and the provincial government – conducted a limited survey of the informal sector in Johannesburg. Dr Sally Peberdy, a senior researcher at the Observatory – says that the belief that international migrants dominate the informal sector is false. According to the report, it was found that less than two out of 10 people who owned a business in the informal sector [in Johannesburg] were cross-border migrants.

Peberdy argues that international migrants do play a positive role in South Africa. “The evidence shows that they contribute to South Africa and South Africans by providing jobs, paying rent, paying VAT and providing affordable and convenient goods.

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Why this is all wrong.

South Africans are clearly attacking the wrong enemy.

It is indeed a very sad part of black people’s history that poor South Africans have decided to turn their pangas and machetes against their also poor fellow Africans. What is happening in South Africa does not reflect a rainbow nation, but a country in denial that they are not yet independent in the strictest sense of the word ‘independence’. Here’s what South African people ought to understand: Many foreign students in South Africa pay a lot more than their South African counterparts in Universities.

An international students fee is a compulsory ‘tax’, and in some universities, foreign students pay double the fees. It is safe to assume these extra tens of thousands of rands are put in bursary funds to pay for South African students. Foreign students are hardly eligible for these bursaries until they reach postgraduate level, which by the way is not an assurance. Becoming a permanent resident might be the only way to obtain a bursary, and with all the conditions attached to that, obtaining it is not as easy as it sounds.

It doesn’t end there…. South Africa’s immigration laws state that you must have a work permit to take up employment after studying, so one would assume this work permit is given freely right? Wrong! You cannot apply for a work permit if you don’t have a job, and you cannot get a job offer unless you have a work permit. Interesting paradox i think but that is how it works here. and even if a company was to employ you so as to aid you in obtaining your work permit, they must write a letter to the home affairs department stating clearly that no South African qualifies for the job.

Attacks

Photo credit: AFP

How then are foreigners stealing opportunities when they have to fight through a web of rules to get to those opportunities? South Africa has a lot of opportunities but its black citizens are too reliant on the government for everything. In spite of abundant bursaries strictly reserved for South African students, many of them are not willing to take the opportunities.

Foreign students do, and suddenly, there’s a hate march against them for seizing opportunities South Africans did not want. Some of you may ask me…”what about the people who sell drugs and those who use fake papers?” I’ll answer with my own questions: who are the people buying the drugs? Who are the people helping them obtain these fake papers? South Africans do not hate foreigners…else they would be chasing the Australians. Americans, Britons, and many other foreign nationals that have made the nation their home. Instead, they are chasing black people- a form of self-hate and jealousy that cannot be explained by history.

They hate the fact that these other Africans are taking the initiative to seize opportunities they couldn’t care less about, and are succeeding at it, they detest other black people because they have the typical black nature- that we should either all wallow beneath the white man or all be successful (which of course is an idealistic thought considering the fact that many of us are more than eager to outshine our colleagues and have them look up to us constantly).

South Africans do not understand that many Africans here, and other foreign nationals alike do not get any handouts from the government… not by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, foreigners and their investments contribute a considerable amount to the South African economy- their skills, experience and knowledge are part of what keeps South Africa afloat.

The interesting part is that these same South Africans fantasize about living in other countries. I wonder if they imagine what it would feel like to be met by the same fate that they have so eagerly meted out to the Africans who shielded them from the oppression in their own land. What would happen if Uganda kicked MTN out, or if Ugandans had beaten up DSTV officials for not letting a Ugandan competitor Star Times TV shine in its own country?

I am not saying South African borders should be left wide open for people to take advantage of the country. By all means, good measure should be taken to keep the bad eggs out. However, the hate for our own skin colour must stop! We must understand that being African should be a thing of honour! we live on the continent that has the world’s best resources, but we are too busy hating on each other, our resources are being peddled away overseas. Our greed, our jealousy and our hate for each other is the reason we are treated in a lowly manner and disrespected by other races. The day we understand the need for our solidarity is the day we will rise as a continent.

I sincerely sympathize with those who have been affected by these hate killings. May their souls rest in peace.

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Campus Bee should get its facts right: Islam is not about terrorism and violence

This is a response to Saasi Marvin who in his debut article on campus bee titled Reflections on the Garissa Attack: Are Islam and Violence Intertwined?, sounded totally ambiguous. I did not only find it misleading, but also abhorent, equivocal, spurious, fallacious, frivolous and fictitious.

Marvin tries to list authorities from the Quran and Hadith alleging how Islam and violence go hand in hand. On surface, someone will believe his analysis but a critical reflections on his piece, clearly shows how he is wrong even though at the end, tries to show that Islam to a lesser extent, does not allow violence. Which is also wrong.

Some non-Muslims either through ignorance, seeking sympathy or Islam-bashing, continue taking the verses of the Holy Quran out of context and its history to justify their false propaganda. In order to gain a proper understanding of many verses in the Holy Quran, it is important to understand and know the historic context of the revelations.

So many revelations in the Holy Quran came down to provide guidance to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and the fellow Muslims based on what they were confronting at that time. The verse 8:12 is one such verse which is always misinterpreted (which Marvin also totally misinterpreted). The verse and its brief explanation follows:

8:12  Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

This verse and the verses before and after were revealed about the Battle of Badr, which occurred in Arabia in the early seventh century. A battle in which the pagans of Makkah traveled more than 200 miles to Madinah with an army of about 1000 to destroy Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and fellow Muslims had suffered severe persecutions and torture for 13 years in the city of Makkah.

And now that they had fled Makkah and found a sanctuary in the city of Madinah, they were once again threatened. Muslim Army was only about 300 strong. God Almighty gave the order to Muslims to fight to defend their lives and faith. The enemy came to them with the intent to kill Muslims. It was a war to defend themselves and their Faith. It was a war imposed upon Muslims.

And when you fight, you strive to kill the enemy during the fight. However, even during the war, Islam has the highest moral law of war. You don’t kill children, women or any one who is not fighting with you. If Mr. Marvin, is still doubting, let him read more here Human Rights in Islam.

Let us be objective here. Imagine, if Marvin and people thinking the same way, found the following Biblical paragraph being used in the same way the above verse is used. Muslims know that Jesus (peace be upon him), like all prophets, came with the message of peace to earth. However, a misquotation may change the whole meaning. Read:

“34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to turn ” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—“ KJV-Matthew10

Basing on the above, will another person from a different faith believe that? Absolutely no! A christian will go ahead and defend Jesus showing how he was quoted out of context. So me as a muslim, will i also justify my reasoning when someone misquoted my spiritual teaching? Absolutely yes!

Further more, Marvin goes ahead to quote Buhair out of context. It should be mentioned, that Islam does not allow to deliberately kill women and children (according to sahih hadith), but does allow to kill them indiscriminately, if they are nearby to the enemy and are aware of it. It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b Jaththama, that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: “They are from them”.” [Sahih Muslim 19:4321 & Sahih Bukhari 4: 52:256].

Marvin went ahead to quote the above teaching of islam which applied to polytheists, by using it to mean Christianity. This is ridiculous! There is a very big difference between Christianity and Polytheism which clearly Marvin does not draw a clear cut difference. As a matter of fact, Islam actually talks about Christianity ( read Q 2: 62, 5:69, 5:82 and 61:14)

The debate goes on and on. But let us clear this misconception regarding to the intertwining of Islam and violence and why this debate has its own flaws.

So what does Islam say about terrorism?

But first, what is terrorism? Terrorism is a complex term with a long history and different meanings, depending on the context and who uses it. But the best definition(s) of terrorism according to sage pub, has two meanings. One it means the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes and secondly, the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

So then what is Islam? It is the most complete way of life. The  word Islam means, “surrender” to the will of God (Allah in Arabic). Since there is only one God and mankind is one  species, the religion that God has ordained for human beings is one. It is a religion of peace (Q: 2:256, 16:82, 6:107, 11:28, 22:67, 48:28, 39:41, 64:12, 60:8  etc)

Unfortunately more and more often, Islam has been associated with terrorism and violence due to the actions of a few extreme individuals who’ve taken it upon themselves to do the most heinous crimes in the name of Islam.

Tragic events dating way back such as the attack on the twin towers in New York, the bombings of Bali, Madrid, London and the latest attack on Garissa University College attack in Kenya, are assumed to be justified by Islam in the minds of some people. This idea has been fueled further by many media channels which defame Islam by portraying these bombers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, as though they were sanctioned by Islam, or had any legitimate spokemenship on behalf of Muslims.

The actions of a few fanatical individuals who happen to have Muslim names or ascribe themselves to the Muslim faith should not be a yardstick by which Islam is judged. For the same reason, that one would not do justice to Christianity if it where perceived as sanctioning the genocide of the Native Americans, the atrocities of world war II or the bombings of the IRA.

To understand Islam’s stance on terrorism, one must refer to its original sources, the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which are explicit in their prohibition of any form of injustice including that of wanton violence which seeks to instill fear, injury or death to civilians.

The Quran turns our attention to the high value of human life, whether it is Muslim or Non-Muslim and makes it absolutely forbidden to take an innocent life unjustly.  The gravity of such a crime is equated, in the Quran, with the killing of all humanity.

“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” ( 5:32 )

Not only is human life sacred in Islam but the property, wealth, family and dignity of all individuals in society are to be respected and protected.  Those who transgress these rights and sow fasad (corruption) as the Quran describes it, incur the wrath of Allah.

“…and seek not corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters ” (28:77)

Likewise in another verse

“The blame is only against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous” (42:42)

Islam goes further than just prohibiting oppression and safeguarding rights, it commands its faithful to deal kindly and compassionately to all those who seek to live in peace and harmony

“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who are just” (60:8)

In times of war and conflict, where enmity can obstruct an individual’s judgement to act morally, Islam commands that justice be upheld even towards one’s enemies.

“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do” (5:8)

Centuries before the Geneva Convention was drawn up, Muslims were bound by a code of conduct which the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, set.  He forbade the killing of women, children and elderly in war. In an authentic narration the Prophet (PBUH) warned that he who kills anyone who has a covenant of peace with the Muslims will not smell the scent of Paradise. In fact, he taught that justice is not only to humans but must be shown to animals and all living things.

In a narration the Prophet (pbuh) informed us about how a lady was sent to hell because of a cat she had locked up until it starved and died.  If such is the sanctity which Islam places on the soul of an animal, how much more grave is the killing of hundreds of innocent humans?! Abu Bakr the first Calipha of the Muslims reflected these prophetic teachings when he advised his general Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies,

“I advise you ten things, Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.”

The message of the Quran is clear as i have shown, that the sanctity of any human life is to be respected and any violation in that regard is paramount to the worst crime.  Mercy is at the heart of the Islamic call, “We sent thee (O Muhammad) not save as a mercy for the peoples” (21:107); a totally different message to what the terrorists are sadly imparting to humanity.

It hurts me as a muslim, to see extremists claiming to be fighting for Islam yet in actual sense, they are just misleading people. It is them to blame for the media and people thinking that by Boko Haram, ISIS and Alshabab in Nigeria, syria and Kenya respectively killing people, are doing so for Islam which is not true. This is sad.

Conclusively, the Garissa attackers, have there own agenda not affiliated to Islam. Them being terrorists of muslim backgrounds, does not make Islam a religion of violence because if we are to go by that, perhaps we might remind ourselves that the LRA rebels launched their rebellion in Northern Uganda claiming that they are using the Ten Commandments of the Bible. So are they also Christian terrorists? I leave that to you.