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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 26, 2010 / 12 Iyar 5770

Freedom takes more than technology

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was 21 years ago this spring that hundreds of thousands of students flooded the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, and other Chinese cities to protest communist repression and call for greater freedom and democratic reforms. Those amazing demonstrations generated intense global interest — interest the regime tried to quell by blocking international TV transmissions, ordering Western networks to halt their coverage, and arresting several journalists.

But the government overlooked the then relatively new communication technologies of cellular phones and fax transmissions. As the Newseum's Sharon Shaheed described it in a retrospective last year, "Reporters got around the ban by reporting by mobile telephone. Students in China's prodemocracy movement kept the news flowing by fax machines and electronic mail connections. Technology managed to open Chinese repressions to the world, despite government censorship." The same technology enabled the world to respond, buoying the protesters with invaluable moral support.

In the wake of the Chinese uprising and the fall of the Iron Curtain later that year, many voices extolled the power of technology — and technology-driven globalization — to advance liberty and undermine authoritarian regimes. Two decades later, many are still hailing the ability of information technology to produce greater freedom — only the technical innovations being celebrated now are the Internet, text-messaging, and social-media applications such as Twitter and Facebook. Tweets by the thousands fueled the "Green Revolution" set off by last year's elections in Iran, and pro-democracy activists from Vietnam to Venezuela are using the Internet to denounce repression, expose government corruption, and champion human rights. "The Internet is God's present to China," the prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo exulted a year ago. "It is the best tool for the Chinese people in their project to cast off slavery and strive for freedom."

If only it were true. If only the miracles of high-tech communication really were a silver bullet against dictatorship and government brutality. But fax machines didn't prevent China's rulers from sending in tanks to crush the 1989 democracy movement at Tiananmen Square, and Twitter hasn't weakened the mullahs' grip on power in Iran. As for Liu Xiaobo, he was convicted of "subversion" in December and sentenced to 11 years in prison.


Letter from JWR publisher

For all the wonders it makes possible, information technology is only a tool, and like all tools it can be used to promote the cause of freedom, or to oppose it. That was the sobering theme of a conference on cyber-dissidents organized in Dallas last week by the George W. Bush Institute in conjunction with Freedom House, the noted human-rights organization. The conference brought together online dissidents from an array of unfree or authoritarian countries — China, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, and Iran — as well as experts on Internet strategy, nonviolent resistance, and international relations.

It is always inspiring to encounter individuals who jeopardize their safety and freedom to speak truth to power, and the dissidents gathered on the campus of Southern Methodist University were no exception. Ahed al-Hendi, a young anti-government activist seized by the Syrian mukhabarat — the secret police — as he was blogging in an Internet café, spent 34 days in a 3-by-5-foot jail cell. The Russian dissident Oleg Kozlovsky (who was grounded in Europe and joined the conference via Skype), has been repeatedly arrested and was even drafted by the Russian army in 2007 in order to thwart his pro-democracy activities. As former President Bush put it in opening the conference, these "are people who refuse to take the lack of freedom for granted."

The dissidents and other speakers traded war stories and discussed ways in which cyber-technology can be used to rally supporters and share intelligence, but running through the whole program was the Dickensian sense that today's dissidents are living in the best of times and the worst of times: The social-media explosion makes it easier than ever for champions of freedom to organize opposition and get information to the outside world, yet the very same online technology arms repressive governments with sophisticated new methods of censorship, surveillance, and disinformation.

Far from ushering in a golden age of liberal democracy, remarked the Bush Institute's James K. Glassman, a former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, the Internet era has coincided with a "freedom recession." Interactive Web 2.0 applications have facilitated the rise of "Authoritarianism 2.0."

The Internet, in short, will not set men and women free. It is, rather, just the latest arena in which those who yearn for liberty must battle for it — and in which the outcome is never guaranteed.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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