Hate/Fear as Strategy for Perpetuating Authoritarian Regimes:
As Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in Belgrade and proxies was ramping up its campaign to unite all Serbs into one country and brutally seeking to dismember Bosnia & Herzegovina and its citizens, I was promoting the demise of that idea through a free flow of information. The Serb people were being driven to fear/hate by tales of Islamic fundamentalists. They were being brainwashed that it was not possible for Serbs to survive and prosper in a multi-ethnic society, especially if the majority of that population was of Islamic identity. Besides constant gamma ray bursts of such propaganda, the flow of information was much easier to control and manipulate back then in the early 1990’s before the rise of the Internet.
Afghanistan – a Rich Diverse Culture Even Most of its Own Citizens Do Not Know:
The free market place of ideas has ever greater application today in many countries but particularly a place like Afghanistan – after more than a decade of war that is enhanced by the overwhelming seduction of “us versus them.” My colleague and Film Annex proprietor Francesco Rulli is seeking to apply the unbiased power of Internet technology. The computer center that will be funded by Francesco in Herat (mid-size city in western Afghanistan) will not favor any cultural perspective, but allow the students across that city to make their own selection. However, Afghanistan classics and Charlie Chaplin films will be made available along with current events and perhaps other cultural entertainment. On the Internet, students could also probably access Taliban or US “propaganda;” however it is the trust in the free market place of ideas that is consistent with American political/open society values as well as any country that hopes to instill a culture where free minds prevail over fear and hate.
Internet Connection More Effective than Gun!
Francesco has the simplicity and straightforward logic of a businessman when describing the impact of the project and the price in equipment/facility that translates into an investment in the children – approximately 150,000 school kids in one major Afghani town for an upfront cost of around $13,000:
“It is our intention to create the following steps of collaboration with the Afghan Development Organizations. This process will be supervised by Roya Mahboob and her company Citadel:
1. Publish online Afghan film classics to educate the Afghan citizens and the rest of the world about their beautiful culture, just like Charlie Chaplin shaped (my) image of USA (in Italy).
2. Document the construction of Internet points located inside the schools to give internet access to young Afghan citizens.
3. Raise funds online for the proliferation of those Internet points and open investor doors to this new frontier of digital development.”
Bravo Francesco – If you want to read more about Francesco’s Internet initiative or connect, here is the LINK. http://www.filmannex.com/posts/blog_show_post/no-politics-just-internet/44397
Listen to BBC World Service re Project (Roya Mahboob & Citadel) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00n3tbf
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(Photo - Courtesy of BarakatNews) -