Thursday, 4 August 2011

A frog swimming in water

I once heard that if the temperature of water is turned up very very gradually, then a frog swimming in the water will continue to swim until they boil themselves to death. Creatures adapt, and if a situation gradually worsens over time, they become used to how bad things are getting, making it difficult to know when the time has come to get out of the water.

Mercedes Renee Haefer, an activist with the organisation Anonymous who dared to hack into paypal as a protest (not to steal money, mind you, but to post a comment on their refusal to allow paypal users to continue donating to Wikileaks) has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. I recently read about human traffickers who ran a brothel being sentenced to two years. Convicted rapists are routinely sentenced to seven. Sentencing a young educated journalist and activist for daring to protest online against a corporation (she did not steal anything or cause physical harm to anyone) shows just how far our right to protest and the public belief in the importance of protest has fallen in the post 9/11 era. One civil liberty is taken at a time, and we adapt to a society where a corporation's unquestionable image of security is prioritised over a young woman's future. This kind of gradual undermining of human rights under the cloak of the law has happened before, and it never ends well.

It's time to get out of the water while there's still time, or at least go out splashing.

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