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LHC order bans Facebook access; kills Mobilink GPRS and Blackberry services

A couple of days back, we were discussing “Draw Mohammed Day” – how it has become a runaway roller coaster and why FaceBook is acting irresponsibly and not banning the event / fan page connected to this day. Following my post, several opinions arose on Twitter and elsewhere on the attitude one should have on this matter and a lot of people who viewed it objectively figured instead of boycotting we should use the Facebook medium to promote Islam and highlight the life of the Prophet (SAW) on 20th May.

Copyright AFP / Getty Images Yesterday Lahore High Court in a ruling decided that it was up to the Pakistan Government to shield the public from this and so a ruling from the court forced the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to pull the plug on Facebookers in Pakistan. however, as all implementations of the Government go, someone somewhere screwed up and at 11 pm last night (May 19, 2010) I was able to fully access the website through my GPRS connection on Mobilink.

The wonderful media managed to find this out and their highlighting of this accessibility of Facebook led to Mobilink being charged with contempt of court and a bit after midnite Mobilink switched off its GPRS access. No not the GPRS access to Facebook but the whole thing including all Blackberry Services. (Note: I am assuming that is what has happened since I don’t have access to any news on this!) Now Facebook or no Facebook is just OK with me but I am heavily dependent on my GPRS and Blackberry for a whole lot of things. My work involves hundred of emails daily and generally my access to this is via my Blackberry especially when I am out of the office. Moreover, the Blackberry Messenger is a vital tool for my communication with colleagues, friends and family. In addition, my connection to my Tweeps is primarily using SocialScope client on the Blackberry also.

It is around half past nine as I write this and generally by now I have read and replied to a majority of my emails and am up to date with things, all without even getting ready for work! Today I am clueless to what is happening since not only is my Blackberry service not working due to this idiotic decision, my DSL Modem refuses to hold a connection due to the extreme fluctuation since last nite. That is why this post is was barebones without any links to other sources. It would be a lucky break if the electricity stabilizes for long enough for this to be posted!!

As an aside, it reflects just how integrated the Internet and mobile connectivity has become on our lives since we feel completely cut off from the world without it! Now i feel the voltage is picking up so let me reset the DSL modem and try to post this!

UPDATE: Around 9:50 am my link to the world has been restored and my GPRS and Blackberry connection seem to be back up and working. Yipppeeee!!!

 

UPDATE: More on this from other Blaagers

 

PRESS CONFERENCE: Protest Against Nationwide Government Ban of Facebook on Teeth Maestro (Dr Awab Alvi)
Lahore High Court orders Facebook blocked till the 31st of May on Teeth Maestro (Dr Awab Alvi)
From South Park to the LHC Ban – How Did We Get Here? on CHUP! by Kalsoom Lakhani

 

UPDATE: From the International Media

Facebook upset over Pakistan ban due to Prophet Mohammed contest page – Herald Sun Australia
‘Draw Mohammed’ call prompts Pakistan Facebook ban • The Register
Pakistan Court Orders Temporary Facebook Ban Over Prophet Caricatures – Tech Crunch
Muslim anger prompts Pakistan to block Facebook – Yahoo! News
Pakistan blocks Facebook over ‘Draw Mohammed’ Day – CNN.com

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day – A run away roller coaster?

You may remember a couple of years ago, there was a series of mass protests all over the Muslim world, when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet (SAW). Some Muslims chose to take the way of violence, some burnt flags and took out rallies, and many economically boycotted all things Danish. The issue boiled the blood of almost all who claim to be Muslim.

Recently the South Park controversy came and went, but no one really noticed it much since Comedy Central decided they didn’t want to risk it after an extremist group sent a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh (a Dutch film maker who was killed for his film Submission).

After being invited to one too many groups declaring war against Facebook for not banning the fan page of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, I figured i would read up on just what everyone was so antsy about and put in my two cents worth (and hopefully being able to kill the Writer’s block that has been troubling me for the past few months).

Everybody Draw Muhammad

Molly Norris, a cartoonist based in Seattle couldn’t understand why anyone would resort to threats of violence on the South Park depiction of Prophet Muhammad. Such extremism must be voiced out against; we have a right to draw whatever we want; our wonderful First Amendment gives us the right, blah blah blah. So Molly set out her thoughts in a way that she knew best: in a cartoon. Little did clueless Molly know it would go “viral” and take a life of its own.

 

I did NOT ‘declare’ May 20 to be "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." I made a cartoon about the television show South Park being censored. The cartoon-poster, with a fake ‘group’ behind it, went viral and was taken seriously. I never started a FaceBook page; a stranger did and there is nothing I can do about it.

My one-off cartoon of a fictional poster does not work well as a long-term plan. The vitriol this ‘day’ has brought out, of people who only want to draw obscene images, is offensive to the Muslims who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place. Only Viacom and Revolution Muslim are to blame, so write to them instead!

I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off. Thank you to those who are turning this crazy thing into an opportunity for dialogue, education and solutions.

Sincerely,
Molly

(I regret going on a local radio show on April 25th; my ego took me there, it was a mistake. I meant for this to remain a fictional CARTOON, an artistic IDEA, never to catch fire as an actual ‘event’.)

 

Something doesn’t quite add up here. Molly meant this as a cartoon, her own voice against extremism. So why did her “ego” take her on air of a local radio show? (In this day and age of super connectivity and broadband internet, is anything really “local” any more?) And why did she pass on the image to Dan Savage, a Seattle based blogger and a nationally syndicated columnist, in the first place? Oh sure, now she claims in interviews that she was an idiot, but if she meant this never to go viral why did she start spreading it in the first place? Dan Savage served as a promoter and his network of readers served as the means to disseminate this graphic out to the world and mothball this into the controversy it is.

"This particular cartoon of a ‘poster’ seems to have struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for"

Seriously Molly, have you been hibernating all these years? What cartoonist wouldn’t have heard of the controversial cartoons of the Prophet that sparked off worldwide protests?

We also find Jon Wellington, who created a Facebook event for this non-existent day, has backed out. He created the event on Facebook because he "loved [Norris's] creative approach to the whole thing — whimsical and nonjudgmental." So why is he backing out? And now that he is backing out why not just delete the event and all its content? Instead of writing

New game: Be super-nice to everyone! Enough of this drawing nonsense.

just get rid of the event and remove the controversy! Because the wall on the event is looking like a duel between Muslims and those who are intent on bashing Islam and spreading hate.

And now the event has spawned into splinter Fan pages and what not where the extremists are having a blast in bashing Muslims and spawning hatred.

So while Molly may have washed her hands off this mess by posting an apology and a revised version of her cartoon, Molly Norris’ monster is still out there, growing rapidly and embroiling all in this controversy.

750_DrawMohammedPosterTellingSm

Facebook is also playing its part in feeding this monster. Instead of acting responsibly and shutting down all such events and fan pages that are clearly in violation of their terms of service particularly item 3.7 which states

3.7 You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence

So should we boycott Facebook for a day?

A campaign has started to call for banning Facebook on May 20 as a protest against Facebook’s inaction against the “Everybody Draw Mohammed” pages on Facebook.

 

boycott facebook may 20

But why stick to just a one day boycott? Why not boycott until Facebook sits up and notices? Is our love for the Prophet so meager that it warrants staying off Facebook for just 24 hours? And where does this love for the Prophet disappear to when we blatantly ignore his teachings day in and day out? Do we boycott ourselves for not loving and respecting the Prophet by obeying his teachings? And does not the Quran tell us that all Prophets are equal and we should not distinguish between any single one? So why don’t we protest when South Park regularly depicts Jesus (AS) in its cartoons? Just some food for thought for us all as we stay off Facebook on 20th May.

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