Scott on February 1, 2006 at 6:51 pm
This bit of commentary from Bill Gates points out the fact that it is nearly impossible to restrict access to information on the internet. SO,…no matter how hard the Chinese government may try, if there is a will to find it then there is a way to get it, be it information on faith and religion, or democracy and protest, or capitalism and freemarket economy. Gates’ comments are even more interesting when you consider that just last year Microsoft bowed to the request of the Chinese government and shut down a popular Chinese blog that dealt with topics that the government disapproved of. I guess Microsoft and Google are two peas from the same corporate pod, willing to do anything to help the bottom line…even aid and abet human oppression!
But I see another side to Gates’ comments. To me this means that Beijing may try, but they CANNOT CRUSH HOPE!
As I have spent time over the last few days thinking about the whole Google-China situation, I don’t know what bothers me more…the Chinese government’s efforts to choke freedom and restrict knowledge – OR – a U.S. corporation’s willingness to be complicit in the oppression and restriction of the citizens of China.
As an English teacher, I have always found it rewarding to have students read dissident poetry from around the world. A favorite poem of mine is called “Answers” by a poet named Bei Dao (whose real name is Zhao Zhenkai). If you’ve never read his words, then you’ve missed out.
Too bad that under the version of Google used in China, Chinese citizens will miss out on his poetry as well. In fact, using China’s version of Google, Bei Dao’s poetry will NEVER appear in the results of a search no matter what search parameters you type in. Bei Dao’s poetry is illegal in China, I guess ’cause it might make people actually think.
Here is my favorite Bei Dao poem that Google will be censoring…
ANSWERS by Bei Dao
Cruelty is the ID pass of the cruel,
honesty the grave stone of the honest.
Look, in the sky plated gold,
crooked reflections of all the dead float around.
The glacial epoch is over,
so why is there ice everywhere?
Good Hope was rounded a long time ago,
so where are these thousands of boats racing on the Dead Sea?
I came into this world
with only blank pages, rope and my fingers;
therefore, before final judgements are given,
I need to speak in all the voices of the defendants.
Just let me say, world,
If a thousand challengers are under your feet
count me as challenger one-thousand-and-one.
I don’t believe the sky is always blue;
I don’t believe it was thunder echoing;
I don’t believe all dreaming is false;
I don’t believe the dead cannot bring judgement.
If the sea is doomed someday to break its levees
my heart must flood with all the bitter waters.
If the land is destined to form the hills again,
let real human beings learn to choose the higher ground.
The latest, favorable turnings, the twinkling stars
studding the naked sky,
are pictographs five-thousand years old.
They are the eyes of the future staring at us now.
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