You'd think we filled every ear and every eyeball on the Internet with the SOPA story.
But no. Today Wikipedia went black and you see tons of reactions of how Wikipedia is deleted for good, screams about due projects and homeworks and fuckoffs to Obama and Wikipedia itself. Not to mentions 140 character expressions of utter stupidity.
Which all leads us to conclusion that nobody bothered to read a message:
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.
One would guess that three sentences are not that hard to read. It's Wikipedia, not Icanhascheesburger, reading is supposed to be kind of regular thing there.
(One would also expect they'll manage to press stop button before the page goes black and thus actually read what they wanted to, but I digress.)
It's social myopia once again.
You need Wikipedia to do your homework. Nice. You get pissed learning that Wikipedia is not available today because of some protest. Bummer. But you fail to realize that not only Wikipedia but the large part of the Web can be blacklisted because of that dirty love game of corporations, U.S. Congress and big money. You fail to realize that Wikipedia, LOLcats, YouTube and many others might be really shut down for good.
And that's why today's blackout of Wikipedia, reddit, WordPress and 75.000 others (this humble blog among them) went on strike.
image by Paolo Santa Rosa
We take Internet and many other things for granted, as they are our right. And they are. But every right we have must be earned. And re-earned from time to time.
I'm sitting here, in a warm room and comfortable chair, typing this freely. I have a right to type freely. You know why? Because my granddad and his friends were shooting Nazis half a century ago. And their ancestors fought whoever was a bad guy of the time before that. And, I like to think, because I ate my dose of teargas and screamed in the face of armed police a decade ago.
Speaking of which, I remember people who were complaining about our blocking of the streets and making terrible noise during evening TV news. They used to say we're restricting their rights to move freely. Sure we did! But they never mentioned those who were restricting everybody's right to live freely in a free and prosperous country. Somehow, that problem was out of their scope. The only difference is that back then I thought it's just Serbia. Now I realize it's the whole world.
It doesn't make sense to whine about Wikipedia not being available because it fights for your right to have free Internet.
Your right to write your homework, watch silly cats on YouTube afterwards and whine on Twitter is earned by granddads. Payed in blood. Literally. But your right to that same thing in a month or two… well that's something you'll have to earn. So, pretty please, stop whining. Learn what is going on in the world around you. At least by another Hitler video.