The Age of Googomocracy

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Grant Neufeld/flickr/Creative Commons

Grant Neufeld/flickr/Creative Commons

What’s left when the only power standing for democracy in one the world’s most dictatorial countries is a digital company? But Googomocracy of course.

I’m not lamenting here, actually I’m really pleased with the stance Google has taken on censorship in China, but isn’t it discouraging that until now none of the world’s major powers has had the fortitude to stand up to this country’s oligarchic madness?

I mean this is a country where people are sent to the firing squad for violations that in our countries are considered trivial and in some cases—like bribery in Italy—have been also decriminalized. And not only that but after that they force the family of the deceased to pay for the bullets used during the execution while state doctors harvest the victim’s organs to sell them to eager westerners bidders. This is the country of Tiananmen, the country which harassed the parents of children dead during the Sichuan’s earthquake—mind you that the kids were buried under the rubble of schools which had been poorly built by dishonest builders with the help of oblivious local party leaders who had been oiled by substantial bribes. This is also the country that bristles at any foreign intrusion into its internal affair but that doesn’t hesitate to chastise any foreign government who dares to question its initiatives in the Sudan, Congo, Tanzania and Nigeria. This is also a country that—thanks to foolish economic appeasement on the part of the west– has been able to parlay its way into becoming—very shortly–the world’s major economic power on the strenght of monetary manipulations (read my interview with Allen Sinai on L’espresso of this coming Friday).

I only wish that the American congress and European administrations had the same uncompromising courage shown by Google’s executives who are willing to put the economic interest of their company on the line for freedom of information and human rights. A tip of my hat goes to Sergey Brin in particular, who very consistently after having promised years ago that Google would have not given in on democracy and human rights in China, has steered his company away from being an accomplice to blatant privacy and basic human rights violations. Of course it takes one to know one, Brin’s family has had its brushing with dictatorship before under soviet rule.

Now of course China is retaliating. In fact it just happens that, a day after Google’s announcement that it would re-route its China’s traffic through Hong-Kong, many of its main-land partners are severing their ties with the Mountain View company. Let’s see if anybody has the guts to stand up to this egregious violation of free trades.

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