"At 15, Frank Sayre isn't old enough to vote in Canada. Yet, his knack for Internet coding has already earned him some powerful enemies.
Last month, Mr. Sayre launched a private protest against Web censorship from his home in Smithers, British Columbia. After hearing that a white supremacist site had been ejected from an Internet service provider, the teenager posted the site's entire contents in a compressed "mirror" file . . .
Incensed, the province's Attorney General, Ujjal Dosanjh, dispatched a task force to investigate the Web's proliferation of hate speech -- something the Canadian government, like its allies in Western Europe, has laws against.
"They might be the lunatic fringe, but they've embraced this technology. A subculture is emerging," says Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who recently presented President Clinton with a disk of extremist Web sites, and whose Cyberwatch project monitors extremism on the Web.
Rabbi Cooper and others have lobbied Internet providers to expel the extremist sites.
"Will they eventually find (word missing) somewhere else? Probably. But that still makes it a worthwhile thing to do," he says.
Here is a fifteen-year-old jumping to the defense of a 20-year-old Canadian
Human Rights activist, Marc Lemire - falsely described, as far as I can
tell, as a "supramacist" and "extremist," - against
the venerable Rabbi Cooper, who is, of course, beyond the pale and one of
the most powerful men in the Holocaust Promotion Lobby running to President
Clinton, screaming oi vey! You might think that the odds are uneven. Is
Rabbi Cooper leaning on the Rresident of the United States for censorship
because a fifteen-year-old and a twenty-year-old may have discovered common
ground on which to band together? Methinks that cannot be. That's too delicious
to pursue. Imagine!
Just yesterday I had a little e-mail chat with someone who is both courageous and wary in what he places on the net. We talked about the dangers. He was on our side but said that he preferred to pick and choose his fights - a stand that makes imminent sense.
"Ooops! " said I. "Sorry! I thought you were in the United States."
"I thought so, too," my correspondent countered dryly.
Is it now time to laugh or cry? You be the judge. I read what's happening as Panicsville out there.
It is both getting easier to post some documents considered thoroughly "politically incorrect", because so many other folks are posting content far more "militant" than ours, and soon it will be futile to hassle folks like Lemire, but is it also getting harder in that much bigger guns are heaved at us to blast us out of cyberspace
With not a a pretense even that this is happening!
Where it will end, nobody knows. But I can tell you this: There is enormous interest and empathy "out there" for what we do and say.
We are now well past the 100,000 mark in visitors who, since we have been on the Net, have accessed more than half a million of our documents, with very little advertising effort on our part. (The Nizkor crowd does it for us!) And not a few of those who visit, with websites of their own, have linked to us - we do not know how many.
I like to think with pride, while quaking in my socks, that on that disk the President of the United States received, the Zundelsite is "earmarked" for special scrutiny - but recently I did some early morning surfing, and was I ever awed at what is out there. Tons!
We're not alone. There's life out there in Cyberspace. All kinds of sites. All kinds of people speaking to a voice that what is happening to us in terms of censorship has but one source. The enemy of freedom of speech and assembly HAS been identified.
And people everywhere are asking: "Why? What is it we are not allowed to know? Who has a vested interest in keeping people stupid?"
Why is it that these people are so panic-stricken? Do they fear that the world will find out that the so-called 'victim' is and was the villain all along?
Now it's the Human Rights Commission in Canada to get us off the Net. Could be we'll be knocked out. Could also be we'll win another round. Who knows?
To knock us off the Net will be a temporary victory at best. I'll tell you why. Less than a year ago, when I did press releases on our cyber troubles, howls of protest were common, and we were called all kinds of names by media. I did a press release the other day to some 400 e-mail media addresses world-wide. Not one small peep! Not one!
We'll either have an Internet - or not. We'll either have a global national revival movement for the enormous betterment of all - except the ones who'd rather wish we didn't - or not.
It all boils down to this, so beautifully expressed in January of last year by John Perry Barlow in his Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace:
"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks.
I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear."
I shiver when I read these words. They're simply beautiful. I had a part
in that. For it was Ingrid - only yesterday a barefoot immigrant, not even
knowing how to use a telephone, or who the Beatles were, or how to get a
hair cut - whom fate had chosen quirkily to sit there at her keyboards and
fly this jumbo jet called Zundelsite with clammy hands in the first Cyber
War in History against the Ancient Foe! The words above were written in
You listen, Rabbi Cooper. This, too, is history. Unlike your brand of history that you are cloaking with the dark because it can't be verified, I'm writing history with light.
Thought for the Day:
"I would rather men should ask why no statue has been erected in my honor, than why one has."
Marcus Porcius Cato (234 - 149 B.C.)
Back to Table of Contents of the Aug. 1996 ZGrams