Sep 26, 2007

The monster forum of the internet

So, I'm on an adoption yahoo group. Specific to Ethiopian adoption. Someone just wrote in asking everyone to support a bill that is now apparently going through congress. This was her email:

There is a bill in the House of Representatives right now, known as H.R. 2003, The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007, that needs our support. The bill would state that it is United States policy to:

(1) support human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary,
freedom of the press, peacekeeping capacity building, and economic
development in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
(2) collaborate with Ethiopia in the Global War on Terror;
(3) seek the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of
conscience in Ethiopia;
(4) foster stability, democracy, and economic development in
the region; and
(5) strengthen U.S.-Ethiopian relations

Now, I posted a while back about speaking up or shutting up, and how sometimes you have to speak up, but sometimes speaking up isn't fun because of responses you might get. But...

I really disagree with this bill. This is the response I posted (to her, and to the yahoo group which includes, like 800 adoptive families):

I feel kind of divided on this issue... I'd love it if Ethiopia were able to step up on human rights and have a real democracy... but I"m not sure it's America's place to interfere in another country's processes. Especially a country like Ethiopia, where the independence and self-governing power has always been prized, and relatively uninterrupted for thousands of years.

It's really awful, the things that the people of Ethiopia have gone through in all the different stages of the government since the occupation by italy in the 1940's, but I can't help but think it's best to allow them to continue to adapt, learn, make mistakes, and gain a democracy that they can call their own accomplishment. It seems right to me, to allow them that privilege. :)

Soooo... the cool thing was, nobody wrote in and trashed me for what I said. I even had someone write me with a "right on!" kind of note...
but speaking up (though I can be loudspoken at times) always scares the crud out of me. To tell you the truth, I don't like being the one who expresses the dissenting opinion. I really want people to like me and feel comfortable around me. But then, I'm also someone who really feels a need to speak her feelings, especially when there are moral issues invovled.

So I email the 800 person list. And 800 people read it. The question is:

if it were a podium in front of 800 live people, would I be able to do the same thing? And yet, essentially, that is the internet. I think about thirty people read this blog every day. (not many comparatively, lol) but it's thirty people! In a room with thirty people, would I have the courage to be as openly wierd and freaked out, as well as irreverent and revealing as I feel I"m being? (I'm probably not... I tend to overanalyze myself).

How strange a phenomenon is the monster forum on the internet.


Janell said...

That's the good and terrible thing about the internet - anyone can say almost anything.

Reading the bill it sounds like just a bunch of political pretty phrases which really don't mean anything =\

Margaret said...

I agree with Janell - it doesn't seem to really SAY anything, and I think that you are really wise to catch the idea that we'd be giving ourselves power (which sounds SO weird to me as I write it!) to butt into another country.

And I'm with you on the monster forum thing. :)

NoSurfGirl said...

there's a more detailed version of the Bill somewhere out there... I read it in full, and they get more specific. For me, I just don't know what the word "support" means anymore. Are we talking peacekeeping troops? Are we talking tarriff threats?

The thing that gets me most is the supporting the global war on terror thing. Are we going to be launching missles out of Ethiopia?

These dang politicians. Seriously, you never know what they're saying. And sometimes, I find myself on the defensive because of it. Specially lately.