The case against cyber censoring the Islamic State vermin
There's a reason we are in a cultural, military, and cyber messaging war with a twisted group called IS -- still widely called ISIS, its old name. It doesn't call itself HISIS; they don't claim to represent Hinduism. Nor BISIS; they aren't Buddhist radicals. CRISIS and JISIS would also be incorrect, since they aren't Christian or Jewish radicals, either.
They may not represent mainstream Islam, but they wholeheartedly believe in their evil calling to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a radical Sharia ideology -- affectionately and simply called the Islamic State.
This diseased breed of Muslim fanaticism shares a common core with the likes of Boko Haram in northern Africa, and the present day Taliban in lawless Pakistani and Afghani regions. Peaceful followers of Islam claim that these groups don't represent them -- but if the world is to understand this, we need to see the symptoms of their hatred on display, especially in the connected cyber world.
But this isn't merely a far-away problem, one that is relegated to those caught in the crossfire of a self contained civil war. Man hasn't seen such inhumane scum sweep into power since the time of the Nazis, which one should remember was only slightly longer than a mere half century ago.
Instead of concentration camps slaughtering Jews by the masses, IS is sweeping the Middle East in the effort to rid the planet of Christians, Jews, and ironically without missing a beat, fellow Shiite and Yazidi Muslims as well.
Which brings up a great question on the silence surrounding our modern day Holocaust. Where are the righteous Christians calling for the destruction of IS? Where are the righteous Jews, coming to the defense of Christians and Yazidis being slaughtered town by town? And the same can be asked of the rest of the global community, especially those refusing to commit resources in the battle against this modern evil?
The silence is deafening, sadly.
The savages of IS practice modern day slavery against Christian and Yazidi women in Iraq and Syria, shown above in this photo from an Iraqi news website. Islamic State even went so far as to release a publication outlining their Islamic-based justifications for slavery of women captured in holy war. Were it not for social media, the uninformed would have believed slavery was extinct. (Image Source: IraqiNews.com)
The above point on a lack of ground swelled outcry from the civilized world has been a common daily theme on the radio show of Michael Savage in the United States. He has been one of the few in the media championing the discussion on IS, and specifically why the world has been repeating the same mistakes as were made in pacifying Hitler in his rise to power. "It's not our war" seems to be the passive justification coming from most corners of the world, geographically and politically disconnected from the effects of IS (for now, at least).
A lot of people feel rightly insulated from the nightmarish parts of the world falling under IS control. But one weapon on both sides of the isle, the internet, is a tool which some people believe should be kept censored in favor of one side. The savagery and barbarism of IS, some say, is too extreme to be allowed to float around on channels like YouTube or Twitter.
But I don't share this view. Let the IS propaganda flow, I say. Let the world see what they are all about. For open and free flowing information is the only way for the insulated world to truly awake to the twisted, sadistic truth IS represents.
I've always held such a belief, and in fact, was joined in this opinion by Michael Ingram of GigaOm a few days back. He penned a fantastic piece which dove deeply into the reasons why YouTube and other social media sites shouldn't be taking down IS imagery and media.
Aside from the usual central belief that preservation of free speech shouldn't be at the behest and confirmation of private firms, he properly affirmed the notion that there is a concrete duty to mankind that we have a right to be informed -- even when it rises to the scale of evil currently on display in the form of beheadings and mass slayings by IS warriors.
In a telling response to a question Michael Ingram posed on Twitter, one respondee intelligently quipped:
During the Holocaust, many Germans claimed they "didn't know" the horrors of the death camps. With ISIS, we know. (@sylviebarak)
Her response couldn't be closer to the truth. In the age of the internet, with an enemy determined to propagandize its cause utilizing this digital carriage, people of the free world have little excuse to be hiding behind naivety.
The Real Reasoning Behind Free Speech Protections
Many of us in the West like to think that free speech was a concept created in the effort to merely protect political opinion, freedom of thought, and other idealisms at the heart of a free society at large. But the founding fathers of America had a different innate vision for why free speech protections were needed: to protect the most offensive forms of speech. The kind currently emanating from the hot zones under IS control.
Joshua Goldberg referenced this corrected, nuanced definition of free speech on an excellent post up on Thought Catalog:
If freedom of speech only protects popular speech, then it is not free speech at all. Freedom of speech is intended to protect the most unpopular and irresponsible forms of speech – the only kinds of speech that people would actually want to be censored.
We consider the extremism flowing out within IS propaganda as being "unpopular" and "unwanted" kinds of speech, but we need to be mindful that limiting such speech in the effort to cleanse social media won't really have the effects that most well-to-do'ers believe.
The country of Jordan has stepped up blistering airstrikes against Islamic State rats and vowed to go after them "wherever they are", after one of its captured pilots was burned alive in barbaric tactics not seen since medieval times. It took a horrific act against one of its own to turn public sentiment in their country. What will it take for the rest of the world to get serious? (Image Source: DailyMail)
Think about it. Islamic State, for as long as the internet is free and open, will always have venerable channels to disseminate its propaganda. Its own websites, forums, chat rooms, and other dark spots of solitude to distribute media in the effort to attract new followers and believers.
But the ones who don't follow the news closely, those pinned to social media like Twitter and Facebook, is the crowd we should be more concerned about informing regarding IS and its atrocities. Vile, inhumane, and disgusting, yes -- but a lack of information by the free world is exactly what IS is hoping for. Secrecy of its horrors, and apathy among the general distant populace, is the key to IS continuing its rampage with impunity.
These throwback vermin relish in keeping their horrors secret from the greater society, preaching primarily to impressionable disaffected Muslims in regions of high unemployment with nowhere else to turn but Sharia. Just like Hitler's forces perfected mass murder under the guise of normalcy, these cockroaches have no lesser goal than planting their flag on the White House one day if given the chance.
It was vowed by the free world that the horrors of the Holocaust would never ever be allowed to repeat. "Never Again" became the unofficial slogan of the pact the free world committed to in forever preventing another such widescale atrocity.
But the sad truth is that IS is succeeding in its goals to wipe out "apostates" and those who oppose its tortuous reign. A UN report released last year provided numbers of about 24,000 Iraqi civilians being killed at their hands -- in just the first eight months of 2014, mind you.
And the map of territory that this marauding religious army covers continues to expand as well, as documented by the BBC online.
I'm fully in belief that knowledge is power when its comes to arming the free world with intellectual ammo. Hitler expanded his ideology and control at a time when there was no such thing as the internet, social media, and Twitter hashtags. Documentaries like Night Will Fall, recently played on HBO, place on full display the horrors and atrocities committed at the hands of the Nazi regime. And so we said, Never Again.
If we are to uphold this promise to the free world, we need to preserve the notion of uninhibited free speech, even if it places on display the worst of humankind, currently in the name of IS. It took a heinous killing of one of its countrymen for the people of Jordan to realize the scope of what humanity is up against in the fight with IS. That nation and its people finally awoke in unison.
Islamic State punishes those severely who do not adhere to their strict interpretation of allowed speech under Sharia. Yet, they take the full liberty in using free speech to propagandize their cause, as displayed in their puppeteering of hostage John Cantlie in slick documentary-esque videos, as per above. We may not agree with them, but putting IS free speech on open display is the only way for the world to understand their cancerous cause. (Image Source: YouTube)
What will be the 'Jordan moment' for the rest of the world? How many more documented horrors need to be passed over social media for the likes of Obama, Hollande, and Merkel to stand up for what is right?
That's a good question. Until it happens, unfettered social media exposure of Islamic State is the best concerted effort we can hope for to accelerate the destruction of the largest threat to mankind since the Third Reich.
If Islamic State doesn't represent mainstream Islam, where are the righteous Muslims in this telling moment in history? Here's hoping the power and reach of social media in Muslim countries will thrust this conundrum into prime focus.
Until the righteous Muslims, in particular, stand up with unity against Islamic State, the YouTubes and Twitters of the world need a constant flow of IS media to prove a point: the only way to overcome pure evil is to put it on display for all the world to openly see.