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Scripting News


Mail starting 9/12/01

From: "Zimran Ahmed" <zimran_ahmed@yahoo.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 3:57 PM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

I especially want to hear from other people who are caught in the middle of this week's events. We've heard from the Israelis, the Europeans, god knows we've heard from Americans -- but what about the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims? Where are their voices?

As you asked for opinions from muslims and arabs, let me offer this (although I was never a practising muslim, i am from pakistan, and although i am not an arab, i am from the middle east). Please, none of this is meant to be offensive or flame bait. I apologise if anything comes across as insensitive. it's not meant to be.

let me start by saying that almost all muslims are normal people just like almost all americans. they are all in as much horror about the weeks events as anyone else. american people, muslim people and arab people share the same values.

let me also say that yesterday's attack was not an attack on the american people (or american values) but on the american government and the american government's foreign policy. Sadly, US foriegn policy over the past 50 yrs has been quite at odds with the american values of freedom, decency, and tolerance. Please note, this is NOT a justification of the terrible terrorist acts, NOR is it a criticism of america's people. But it is the context in which the sort of terrible anti-american hatred we say the other day flourishes:

1) The CIA funded, trained, and armed Osama Bin Laden (and the Taleban) when they were using Afghanistan as a proxy against the Soviets. He's a US creation that has been causing headaches in the region ever since.


2) The US is also seen as the largest backer of state sponsored terrorism by supporting Israel. I condemn Palestinian acts of terrorism also, but they are an occupied people being forced to live under appaling, dehumanizing conditions. I don't want to start a big argument here, but it is a POV held by pretty much all nations except the Americans and Israelis (Europe has largely been sympathetic to the Palestinians here). Please don't take this as flame bait, it's not meant to be. We all want peace in the middle east that allows all people to live in dignity and at peace.


3) The US will not even enforce its own anti-terrorism laws against Israel's violations


4) The US has sponsored terrorist regimes in Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvadore, Vietnam etc.


5) America's unilateral attacks on Baghdad, Belgrade etc. are seen as state sponsored terrorism by many outside of the US (and even a few within the US)


6) All of these US actions abroad are quite in contrast to the vigorous pursuit of life and freedom that characterise american values at home.


My point is that abroad, the US has not championed the sort of freedom and liberty that they value at home. And people on the recieving end of that are angry. When they strike back, they're not striking back at freedom and decency, but they're striking against oppression and terrorism. People are not angry with americans, they're angry at the american government's foriegn policy, something most US citizen's don't think about too much or too often.

In recent months, the US administration has stood AGAINST nuclear nonproliferation, stopping global warming, stopping land mines, controlling small arms, and a international war crimes tribunal. This does not bolster its image as a peaceful nation fighting for freedom.

If any good can come out of this weeks tragic events, I hope that they bring the world closer and help everyone realize that terrorism is a global problem and must be fought by all people together. I heard an israeli security officer from El Al talking about how the US must adopt Israeli security methods on all its airlines and public spaces (endless interrogations, constant surveillance, harassment, armed gaurds ready to shoot to kill at all times etc.) This assault on civil liberties should not be OK. It goes against american values. And any nation which is reduced to this sort of police state is probably doing something very wrong wrt to its neighbours.

So I hope we all unite against oppression, terrorism, and intolerance in *all* of its guises instead of fanning the flames of intolerance and bigotry. Listening to usually level heads on NPR call for blood, I fear that the US will do something rash and just make things worse for *everyone*. That would be very sad.

Zimran Ahmed

From: "Christian Eyerman" <Chris@lacas.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 12:00 PM;
Subject: a better use for NSA, echelon etc.

why not have the sat phones installed in all planes beam the cockpit recordings to a central computer at the CIA - echelon - or NSA that uses their tremendously expensive and advanced technology to do something useful besides invading the privacy of innocent people and ushering in a police state and destroying individual liberty - they can monitor the flight cockpit recordings in real time for unauthorized voices of any kind. Given the volume of international calls they scan now.... monitoring a couple of thousand flights a day should be a cakewalk.

From: "Phil Jones" <phil@runtime-collective.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 11:19 AM;
Subject: Cool!


thanks for the whole Scripting News thing. I followed the attack, and its after-effects via your links and correspondants' snippets of information and personal stories; when the big news media websites were out of action and webloggers picked up the slack. Now I'm even more impressed by your attitude, and the way Scripting News weaves so many disperate virtues : democratization of communication, championing fairness, pacifism, and good humoured common sense into a coherent philosophy.

Thanks again,

phil jones

From: "Andreas Hellström" <andreas@fmcc.se>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 11:13 AM;
Subject: Scripting.Com in swedish newspaper


just wanted to let you know that Scripting.Com got mentioned in an article in Swedens largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter ("Daily News") today friday, somewhat the NY Times of Sweden. The article was about how the Internet managed the heavy load during these days:


Here's an short translation:

"Many USA based news sites on the net, as CNN.com, lightened the burdon on the net by removing graphics and pictures from their web pages. Also, a number of temporary mirror sites where set up, like Scripting.com, which could spread text and pictures from the larger news sites when these where impossible to get through to."

Andreas Hellström

From: "Dan Hartung" <dhartung@worldnet.att.net>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 10:57 AM;
Subject: red cross/red crescent

The Red Cross was founded in Geneva in the 19th century, and the cross was chosen from the Swiss flag to represent neutrality. They soon found it was offensive in Muslim countries and by the turn of the century allowed societies to use the Red Crescent instead.

http://www.palestinercs.org/ Palestine Red Crescent Society

For a time another Muslim symbol, a lion with a scabbard, was also permitted, but Iran was the last to abandon it some 20 years ago.

The International Red Cross Red Crescent Society has become very concerned that its workers in some areas (e.g. Chechnya) have been targeted because they used the cross symbol, and revived a debate about allowing the Jewish sister society to be recognized with a Red Star of David emblem, and Kazakhstan asking for a combined Red Cross/Red Crescent emblem. Instead they are going with an open diamond, which will have the same legal recognition as a trademark and under the Geneva conventions, but any society may use it when operating where other symbols might cause a problem.

http://www.ifrc.org/docs/news/pr00/1100.asp -- Dan Hartung | dan AT dhartung DOT com http://www.lakefx.nu/ -- Lake Effect Weblog CHICAGOSTORIES: post yours at chicagostories.org "If dancing naked and playing the bongo drums is wrong, then I don't wanna be right." -- Fred Pyen

From: <
To: <dave@userland.com>


From: "Tom Mandel" <tmandel@MIGHTYACORN.COM>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:49 AM;
Subject: RE: Palestinians

Good man, Dave -- you have a pulpit; please keep helping people to behave civilly and lovingly. There is no one in America in greater danger, psychic and social, than brown-skin Islamic people. We do not need to turn on our brothers, we need to feel with them and for them.

Tom Mandel

-----Original Message----- From: davenet-world@scripting.com [mailto:davenet-world@scripting.com]On Behalf Of DaveNet email Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 11:15 AM To: DaveNet World Subject: Palestinians

DaveNet essay, "Palestinians", released on 9/14/2001; 8:11:16 AM Pacific. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- ----


There are a lot of new people reading Scripting News [1], and first I want to welcome them to the community. Welcome.

There are lots of ways to communicate with others, today the preferred way is to join the special mail list [2] for the topic of the day, which started out earlier this week as the bombing of the World Trade Center in NY, but now is broadening to cover the world of opinion.

The list is sure to flame out at some point, at which time we'll start a new list. That's life on the Internet.

I am a pacifist

If you want to understand my site, here's something you need to know about me. /I am a pacifist./ I'm always going to look for a way to avoid killing people, or being killed myself. I think we don't listen well enough, and many people are proud of their barriers to listening, and these days they have all kinds of excuses for parading this. Racism is rampant. This is a good thing, believe it or not, because the feelings were always there, now we get to find out who among us have these feelings. They're better expressed in emails than in warfare.

I am also a Jew, first-generation American, a proud son of Holocaust survivors. An aging hippie. Raised in NY, a Mets fan. Bronx Science graduate (and Tulane and UW-Madison). Independent software developer. Writer. And (I hope) listener and transmitter of well-stated points of view. I am a thirsty student. Teach me. But I don't care for arguments that boil down to this: shut up. I believe in the power of communication, or I wouldn't be putting my time into fostering communication now, at a time, when so many have so much to say.


I especially want to hear from other people who are caught in the middle of this week's events. We've heard from the Israelis, the Europeans, god knows we've heard from Americans -- but what about the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims? Where are their voices?

I love my parents, and the memory of my grandparents -- but they taught me something that's wrong -- that Palestinians are all terrorists who hate the United States and (more important to them) Jews.

Then in 1998, I had a fantastic experience. I designed a protocol with two people from Microsoft, and get this, one of them is Palestinian. A brilliant man, raised in Los Angeles, works at Microsoft, we couldn't be more different, but we also had something in common -- a love for fairness and chaos and freedom. The protocol [3] we designed is, today, a big success.

And perhaps in this time of trouble it can be a small symbol of peace and cooperation, and finding ways to heal the wounds, to make up for past wrongs, and move on to something brighter, more loving, and more fun.

Extreme pacifism

I just sent an email to my mother, a NY school psychologist, who witnessed the destruction of the WTC from a rooftop in Brooklyn. She told me about a ceremony of solidarity to take place at 7PM Eastern today. Let's hold candles, where ever we are, and light up the sky with our love. We're the survivors. We are living. Now, as Microsoft asks, Where do we want to go today?

Here's what I said, and asked: "Now is the time to open our ears and listen, and see what comes back. Would you be willing to go on a citizen's mission of peace to the Middle East, to feed Palestinian children, to help them as you have helped the children of NY?"

In the past we might have felt this was too dangerous to consider, but now we /know/ we're all at risk, no matter where we live. That's been true for a long time, but this week we got the wakeup call. In many ways the Palestinian people are just like us. They love their families, value education and scholarship, and because they've been living at risk for their whole lives, probably can teach us about the value of life and freedom, and at a more pragmatic level, how to survive in a world where terrorism is a daily fact of life.

And could we have the reverse? Could peace-loving Palestinians come to our country, to help us with our pain and grief? What would they say to us after the anger subsides? Could we set aside our pride and admit that we need help now? When we really listen, understand what life has been like for them, would we still be enemies? I think not.

Cynical people have always dismissed pacifism as unrealistic, but such people couldn't have imagined suicidal bombers, people who believe so strongly in their cause that they were willing to die for it. Now pacifism probably doesn't seem so extreme. Turning the other cheek is the right response. (And tightening airport security, of coruse.)

We now know for a fact that the heart of humanity is still ticking. Now, when so many hearts are open, is the time to solidify that, ratify that, accept that. Life is not flat and uneventful. We /can/ change. The best way to isolate evil, if it really exists, is to surround it with love.

Dave Winer

[1] http://www.scripting.com/ [2] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scriptingNewsWorldTradeCenter [3] http://www.xmlrpc.com/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- ---- (c) Copyright 1994-2001, Dave Winer. http://davenet.userland.com/. "There's no time like now."

From: <Gregory.Stapp@eaglegl.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:33 AM;
Subject: RE: Palestinians

Hooray for the pacifist of the world. The US probably had some of pacifist in 1776. There where probably a lot of jewish pacifist in Gremany in the 1930's, too. This country and Israel where not created by pacifist. The warmongers did however, create a world where you could tell the rest of us how much better you are then we are. You are a hypocrite! Let's all live in peace. However, if it destroying someone "LEGALLY" it is alright. Break up Microsoft, they are bad. They are trying to put me out of business. That's bad. I should be able to attach Microsoft whenever I want. No, you are not killing, but they are not breaking any laws. Just trying to get as much market share as possible. OOH distroy them. The Terrorist killed innocent people in New York , Washington, and on the four planes, they had a good reason to do that. WHAT WAS IT? What did any of those people do to deserve to die. NOT ONE THING.

I do not want war either but the cowards that attached the US have already declared war against us. It is called a JIHAD. The only reason the Islamic religion gives for taking your own life. Get your head out of the sand. I have no hatred for any innocent (Palestinians or American) person. But the only people who die when we do nothing are the innocent. But ALL of terrorist of the world should be removed, Muslim, German, Irish Catholic and Protestant, African, and any other coward who kills innocent people in the name of some stupid cause. I live and work with people from all over the world. I wish no harm on any of them. But your suggestion of more talk? Why do you not listen to what the Palestinians are saying, "all of the Jews should be killed". I have heard this from several Palestinians I know. Hide our head if you choose. But do not act like you are more companionate them me, I am just a realist. Some people do not want to live in peace. No matter how much you listen, they still want you dead.

The US has the right to support the state of Israel. This is not a crime, punishable by death. That is what the US has done wrong, according the these cowards. If they would stand up and admit who they are and why they did this. But alas these cowards are now afraid to admit they did it. If they had a GOOD reason why not stand up and tell the whole world what it is.

If you think we should listen to these people fine the US should drop its support for Israel. Say good bye to Israel when that happens. The cowards that did this want you dead more than they want me dead.

Get off your soap box and get out of the way, we real Americans will keep the world away from you for as long as possible. Live well, keep telling us how much better you are than we are. Enjoy your world while we defend it.

From: "John Bacon-Shone" <johnbs@hku.hk>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:27 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

Thanks for a wonderful piece.

I was born in the US, grew up in England, have lived and worked in Hong Kong for the last 22 years and have a Chinese wife and two small children. The tension between the US and China in the last few months has made me reflect on the relations and distrust between nations and races, and also how that tension can be decreased or removed. Yesterday, the Asian Wall Street Journal ran an editorial which can only be described as inflammatory, suggesting that many Chinese were celebrating the US tragedy. While there are certainly a few young hotheads like that, it is certainly not a majority view - Chinese culture is remarkably non-violent. I do worry, however, that the US can often seem very arrogant and self-centered from a perspective outside the US media. Like you, I am a pacifist, and believe that violence does not solve problems, it needs communication and trust. As I explained to a friend,who is a senior Hong Kong government official, at the time when the US plane was forced down, I believe in loyalty, not patriotism, which I distrust!

From: <tucker@marinercapital.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:16 AM;
Subject: If you would have peace...

"Prepare thou then for war."

Unfortunately this is true now.

You're right about the Palestinians. Most of them are just like us. They want to raise their families, make a living, go to the beach. Same with all the rest of the Arabs.

Unfortunately, they live in dictatorships. Every single Arab country is run by a dictatorship.

The dictatorships torment their people, keep them poor, and abuse them to keep themselves in power.

Arafat is a dictator. He asassinates journalists who write articles friendly to the Israelis, he puts "collaborators" in jail without trial, and he murders his enemies. Like the Syrians, he teaches the children that Jews are evil and should be killed, and that Israel must me eliminated.

Of course he says that in Arabic, not in English. In English, he says he's our friend. He's lying.

And you're right that they're mad at us. But a big reason they're mad at us is that we've failed them. A lot of Arabs feel that the United States has abandoned them, and they're right: we have.

We invaded Iraq and the Iraqis celebrated in the streets that we had rid them of Hussein, rid them of the dictator. (Why do you think the Iraqi army fell so easily? They wouldn't die for Saddam, especially if it was to be killed by Americans. They surrendered because they knew they'd be better treated by their enemy than by their own government. There are lots of Iraqis in NYC. They just want to be American.) But Papa Bush stopped short, and left Hussein in power. Hussein found the people who demonstrated against him, and killed them. We left an opposition in Northern Iraq, who wanted a western, liberal regime in Iraq. We abandoned them too.

So of course they hate us. We live free, help the Israelis live free, and

leave them as slaves, with no options.

The Afghans loved us when we helped them fight the Soviets, then we won the Cold War, and we abandoned them. We left the Taliban with weapons we provided to fight the Soviets, trained by us, to overtake the country. We left these ravening wolves to run wild around the country. Now there are 4 million Afghan refugees from the Taliban.

The Palestinians are a different story. In 1947 the Arab leadership in Palestine knew that a war was coming, and they forced their people to leave. These are the "expelled" Palestinians. They were betrayed by their leadership, who expected to quickly wipe out the Israelis, and would then be able to bring back their people. They're still waiting.

These are the people the United States needs to attack, the leaders, the murderers. The people are like us, their leaders are different. They want options, they want an alternative to their dictators. Right now the only alternative presented to them is Islamic Fundamentalism, run by murderers. And until we rid them of their leaders, the Arafats, bin Ladens, Husseins, and present them with a solution palatable to us both, we will get more murders.

You can't reason with the leaders. We've tried reasoning with them for decades. Look where this has left us. 5,000 people dead in NYC. As General Norman Schwartzkopf said the other day, we went out of our way to avoid killing civilians in Iraq, to run the most peaceful, gentle war in history, and look how we're repaid.

From: "Michael Kapp" <mickapp@earthlink.net>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:14 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a song for their B'way show South Pacific titled " Carefully Taught." and Oscar's lyric is

"You've got to be carefully taught to hate and fear, you've got to be taught from year to year, It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear, You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made and people whose skin is a different shade, You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You've got to be carefully taught.

This was written in 1949 and perhaps needs repeating.

From: "Michael Haag" <mhaag@goldwiretech.com>;
Cc: "Michael Haag (E-mail)" <mhaag@goldwiretech.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:05 AM

Good stuff. I like that you focus on empathy and personal action and the bravery of peace, rather than delegating to government the job of acting on our good (or hurtful) intentions. And your last sentence really rings true. thanks, -m

From: <MrLA26@aol.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:06 AM;
Subject: Feedback

Dave, I applaud your sentiments, I to have had the pleasure of working with middle easterners who were wonderful people. Yet I must suggest that some knowledge of cultural difference and history might lead someone to be more than cynical in evaluating what is and has happened with regard to terrorism initiated from Moslems. I implore your study of the Jewish/Moslem history of the middle east and look past appearances and propaganda. You know many Jews and world leaders choose not to believe what Hitler wrote in Mien Kampt. They could not believe that human beings could be so cruel, corrupt or vicious. Denial has never been a source of saving Jewish lives and naivety in evaluating those who speak to the public with one voice, but to their own people in another language and voice surely has caused the death of many. Are you trying to convince yourself that all people are good, like you and respect others, or are you only hoping that you can make a difference by risking to influence public opinion at the risk of things being entirely different from appearances. The Torah says if you save one man you have saved the entire world, yet it also says to defend oneself and family is blessed. The stakes are big in lives, another Jew who wants to believe murderers are good people may not be what the world needs right now.

From: "Peter N Lewis" <peter@stairways.com.au>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 9:06 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

You know Dave, I have often disagreed with your views on a lot of subjects, but on the current topic, I find you appear to be the only media outlet broadcasting a view with any sense at all.

There is no way to win a "war on terrorism" - it has even less chance of success than the "war on drugs" - do we never learn?

The only way to be safe from terrorist is to ensure there are no people who are so angry that they are willing to blow other people up. And no amount of carpet bombing terrorist camps will accomplish this goal. Sadly, I fear such sentiments will not rule the day and so we can look forward to a lot more casualties in the years ahead.

Two other notes for you:

According to The Hunger Site, 24,000 people die of hunger each and every day - I can't help wondering why this is less worthy of 24 hour TV coverage on all channels.

I especially want to hear from other people who are caught in the middle of this week's events. We've heard from the Israelis, the Europeans, god knows we've heard from Americans -- but what about the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims? Where are their voices?

I watched an interview with some Muslims in Australia, they are currently suffering from persecution ranging form verbal, through physical and have included petrol bombing. I'm not sure how someone petrol bombing an Australian Muslim in retaliation is significantly different to what the terrorists have done, except in scope.

http://au.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/20010914/aapnews/1000465399-2282618 880.html

Hopefully one day we'll learn something, Peter.

From: "Matt Elliott" <melliott@ncsa.uiuc.edu>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:55 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

Turning the other cheek is the right response. (And tightening airport security, of coruse.)

I agree that turning the other cheek is the correct response (this doesn't perclude investigating the crime and holding any remaining people responsible for their actual involvement). The problem I have is with your aside. How is tightening airport security going to help? The only thing I can gather from history is that additional "security" measures, increase cost, decrease convince, and increase perceived security. I'm tired of perceived security. If I'm not actually safe I want to know it. I don't want to have my liberty trampled on so I can feel safe just up until the moment that I'm struck down by someone who wants me dead.

How much security do we need in our airports? Can anyone with any degree of confidence claim that at some level we would actually get real security? Can anyone afford that level of security? Would anyone like to live trapped in that kind of world?

From: "Ivan Handler" <ihandler@igc.apc.org>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:54 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians

Thanks for this message.

I am a 3rd generation Jew, aging member of the "new left", activist, and long time computophreakomaniac. I think your idea of having exchanges of people between Palestinians and Americans is a great idea. Anything that can help people to understand all of the pain that is going on in the world and that the solution is not more violence and death, but rather care, understanding and help. It is such a shame that western governments spend so many resources on keeping the world so polarized economically and politically. If we could all just realize how productive humans are when given a chance. It should be immediately obvious that all of us, no matter how wealthy, live in an impoverished world compared to the one we could live in if we organized our world around providing an environment where everyone could maximize their productivity rather than one where we seem doomed to protecting the petty privileges of a few while others react with paroxysms of fear and vengeance killing and maiming mythical enemies.

From: Deborah McDaniel;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:47 AM;
Subject: Re: Palestinians (and pacifism)

Dave: Thank you for your reasoned, reasonable, loving voice. I too, am a = pacifist (all my "political" life). It seems to me that we know all too = well how to wage war, terror, and hardship on others; but we know not at = all how to "wage peace." If the nation strikes back in anger, all we can hope to accomplish is = more terror on others just as innocent as those at WTC. I don't believe = in salvation through the murder of daughters and sons, mothers and = fathers. Thanks for encouraging all voices to speak and be heard in this hour of = disbelief and horror - yours is a welcome viewpoint. Warmest regards, Deborah McDaniel DaveNet email wrote:

From: "Jamis" <jamis@buckswoodside.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:44 AM;
Subject: your column of today

Now I know why have a soft spot in my heart for you. You are a great human being.

From: "Jeremy Allaire" <jallaire@macromedia.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:39 AM;
Subject: RE: Palestinians

Right on Dave!

I'm also a pacifist, former lefty activist, human rights advocate, and think that the posture you suggest is the right thing for the world. I was born a catholic, but raised by radical catholics who embraced Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker movement. My parents run homeless shelters in a small town in Minnesota. They believe that the small acts of love we perform everyday, everywhere will make the world a beautiful place and let us live the grace of god.

Thanks so much for broadcasting this to such a great, powerful group of people in the world!

Let me know how I can help!

Jeremy Allaire CTO, Macromedia

From: "Robb Beal" <rbeal@apple.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:26 AM;
Subject: Today's DaveNet Floored Me!

The most powerful stuff you've written in a long time! I sent it to a Muslim American friend.



From: "Gauland, Michael" <GaulandM@corning.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 8:22 AM;
Subject: A Challenge

Dave, I was really moved by your writing today. I truly believe that travelling between countries brings us closer, makes us more human in each others' minds, and makes us all more likely to search for non-volient solutions to our problems.

But there are other ways to bring people closer. Technology put downtown Manhattan in our living rooms and offices as we watched the horror (and the heroism) of this week's events unfold. Would the outpouring of international condemndation and sympathy have been as great if the reporting had been limited to "old" media?

In the US, we have, in many ways, shut ourselves off from the rest of the world. Our entertainment--TV, radio, music, film, magazines, even web publications--are almost all products of our own country, focusing on our own country. We send these products around the world, revealing much about ourselves (as fictional and inaccurate as much of it is) to the rest of the world, but bring little of the world back in return.

How can we turn this into a two-way conversation? Or better yet, a multi-way conversation?

Is new technology needed? Or is this more of a sociological problem? I've seen so many folks from a common culture fail to communicate patiently and respectfully in electronic forums that I have doubts about how well folks from different cultures--some with great distrust and misperceptions about each other--would get along online.

I wish I had the answers. I know you've done put a lot of thought and work into promoting a "two-way web". Have you given any thought to these matters?

From: <Arlen.P.Walker@jci.com>;
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 7:13 AM;
Subject: Huh?

Dave, I have a problem here.

If I'm walking down the street and someone jumps out of an alley with an assualt rifle and starts shooting everyone, I'm not so sure I need to ask myself what I did wrong and apologize for it. I need first to stop the shooter and achieve comparative safety (Maslow's heirarchy, and all that). Your suggestion smacks of the "blame the victim" approach which we've worked so hard to weed out of our legal system.

Yes, whoever did this probably thinks they have a valid beef with the US. So what? Their actions remove them from consideration. Now, after this is over and the perpetrators are dealt with, then and *only* then will I be willing to listen to reasonable men telling me what we might be able to do better as we go along. To do so now would only encourage the next crackpot with a beef to do the same thing. We need to make it clear that *first* we deal with this, *then* we listen, but all listening is now on hold *until* this is dealt with. Sort of like this: "You want our attention? Fine, help us deal with this and you'll have it; until then, sorry, I'm just too busy dealing with unacceptable behavior by thugs to listen. I realize you may have a legitimate complaint and I'd really like to help, but unfortunately I have to deal with this crap at the moment. When it's cleaned up, I'll listen; you know, you could make that happen faster if you'd help. Without your help it'll just take longer, and it might even get a little messy, because after all, I'm not all-powerful and there are some things I just can't do efficiently without help, but if you're too busy or don't want to, that's OK, I understand. I'll get it done anyway, though the solution may not be as clean and as efficient as I'd like it to be."

I am convinced there are government officials (not ours) and others at unknown locations who could, if they wanted to, bring an end to this particular episode within weeks, if not days or even hours. If they're not willing to bring down a mass murderer of innocent bystanders, then I really fail to see why we should bother to listen to any grievance they might think they have. If they feel this is a legitimate response then all that will happen is they will kill more of us in the future; after all, it's not credible that we would never, ever have a difference with them again. We're not talking about saving face; we're talking about saving lives. Mass murderers, be they the Unabomber or bin Laden or whoever, have forfeited their right to be heard.

Reasoned discourse is wonderful, but it isn't a panacea. And it only works if all participants are being reasonable. I can be willing to agree to disagree, to admit that honorable men (or nations) can come to different conclusions about the correct path to take. But if my partner in the discussion *isn't* willing to do so, we have what we saw tuesday, and no amount of reasonableness on my part would change that; only total capitulation and complete abandoment of my principles.

We need to cultivate an openness to hear everyone who lifts a voice to us, but we also need to make it clear we don't listen to violence. If you want us to hear you, stop shooting and start talking. We need to make it a part of us that we will *not* be the first to pick up a gun, but if you make us pick one up, you *will* regret it. Yes, we should eliminate the cultural arrogance and all the other ugly features we've developed (no one's seriously arguing that we're perfect) but listening to a bomber is *not* the way to do that.

From: "Tamara Shelton" <tamara@telocity.com>;
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 9:12 PM;
Subject: scripts

Everyone needs to be sung to and held under the stars, We all need a brave bear to roar, Come thee the freedom and love we adored.

My ancestors trusted that this nation would stand for justice, liberty and happiness for all. We have been the mavericks of justice and freedom. Suddenly, an enemy appears and tears our brains out.

I realized that my life changed today. Theses events have economic, privacy, political and social implications. We need to sort it out and not take rash moves towards war.

Tamara Shelton CEO of Ecovilla (communications and housing)

From: "Eric Kidd" <eric.kidd@pobox.com>;
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 9:53 PM;
Subject: TV news nonsense

"Oooh, let's watch the towers fall down again. Mrs. Smith, how did *you* feel when after your husband called you from upstairs, and never made it out? *Mrs. Smith breaks down on camera.* Mr. President, why did you avoid ground zero instead of putting the presidency at risk? Are you a coward?"

...and so on.

You know, the media could be educating the public about any of the following topics right now:

1) The geopolictical situation in the Middle East. 2) The history of the Isreal/Palestine conflict: what leaders on both sides are really up to. 3) Radical Islamic fundamentalism, and the mass production of terrorists. 4) The Taliban: who backed their rise to power (us), and what they've done to the women of their country (killed them, forced professional women to give up their careers and wear veils, etc). 5) Which moderate Middle-Eastern governments are likely to fall if we upset enough of their citizens.

We've already attracted the attention of professional terrorists (who've been doing this to middle-eastern governments for years, and who almost certainly aren't finished with us). Now we're about to get deeply involved in some nasty, subtle, dangerous politics, and the public doesn't even know who the players are.

The press ought to stop poking people's wounds, and start educating the American public before we encourage our leaders to do something stupid.

From: "Greg Elin" <elin@unitboy.com>;
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 7:02 AM;
Subject: Emergency Internet Broadcasting Network

Greg Elin, here. We met several years ago at Jerry's Retreat. I receive your newsletter.

I live in NYC and was at NYU when this all happened. It has affected me significantly.

I am writing you because when this happened, it was difficult to get specific information on how to volunteer, on what was getting closed, and such. Of course, the news coverage was extensive about what was happening and reported phone numbers and such now and then. But I was sitting at my computer and some many major news sites and other sites (nyc.gov) were too busy or had scant information.

I want to begin to assemble the pieces of an distributed Emergency Internet Broadcasting Network that functions for basic reference information the same way the DNS servers work to distribute domain names.

Dave, I know you are the best person to help create something quickly to address basic information for this emergency and to put a more thought-through system for the future.

From: "Richard Santalesa" <rich@direct-pr.com>;
Cc: <dave@userland.com>;
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 12:57 AM

Late night NYC update...

What an utterly exhausting day. Many, many thanks to everyone who sent in prayers and wishes in response to my morning message. The outpouring has been incredible, and I think everyone in NYC today gained a new appreciation for the preciousness of life and the little things we overlook each day in the hustle and bustle of modern life. That hurried pace came to an abrupt standstill today, and I witnessed parents giving their children spontaneous tight hugs on street corners.

Throughout the day the emotions became overwhelming, and more than once I found tears streaming down my face while watching the coverage on CNN for much of the morning and afternoon. I couldn't even think about doing any work. My articles due felt so meaningless in comparison.

But the good news: my best friend's sister is safe. Kathy's a lawyer with the Port Authority and usually works in WTC tower 1. Today she was in court in Brooklyn, though, and that saved her life. And until about a year and a half ago my sister (the one now working for Oxfam in Israel) was at S-Smith Barney out of the WTC 7 building (it collapsed dramatically this afternoon as if professionally imploded.)

The phone system here in NYC was quickly overwhelmed this morning, leaving me without a dial-tone for close to two hours or so. The cell phone system was likewise totally clogged. I kept dialing down the list of my family members to check if everyone was ok. So far, everyone is accounted for.

My mother is a social worker in the NYC school system and witnessed the collapse of tower 2 from Astoria (in Queens directly across from Manhattan.) She went up to the roof of the school when everyone heard that WT tower 1 was burning and then saw tower 2 come down in a torrent of smoke and dust.

Around noon I headed out to stock up on food supplies, and the roads were fairly crowded out here in Queens, with long backups on any road heading to bridges, as they were all closed. I noted to my friend in the car that this was the first time in my life that I haven't seen a jet in the sky over NYC.

The most eery moment, though, came when heading north on the Van Wyck Expressway. At several points the road rises giving you a complete view of the Manhattan skyline on your left. At these rises every car slowed down to stare at the skyline and from nearly 13 miles away the smoke surrounding lower manhattan was mindboggling. The best way I can describe it is it looked like a volcano erupted out of the bedrock of the island. Of course, there were no more WT towers. At least the wind was blowing south, carrying the smoke out in the harbor instead of wafting it uptown. I didn't bring my digital camera with me. I wish I had. But the skyline in the picture of NYC I took in November (see www.richnet.org) while helping my best friend Dan move to a new apartment (Kathy's brother) is gone.

The faces of people in the supermarket were all tightened and worried. No one quite knows what tomorrow holds, or what will happen next, but we're all working together. When I returned home from food shopping I heard jets and ran to the window to see what they were .... a military F-18 was heading Northwest across Queens towards upper Manhattan, and an F-15 zip southeast fairly high up.

NYC will go on, but we're all fearful for those missing, and dreading the day when the total number of dead is finally added up. I also expect the shock to give way to smoldering anger over the next day.

Be safe. Be well. Be good to your family and friends.

All the best from NYC, Rich S.

From: "Billy Ladin" <Billy@Ladin.com>;
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 4:14 AM;
Subject: Re: To peace-loving people everywhere

Dave - I agree with everything that you say in this e-mail except paragraph two. I think that what we should realize from yesterday is that nuclear weapons and biological weapons have been replaced by far cheaper and more modern weapons of mass destruction; in this case, the 40,000 per day of available commerial flights that cover the skys of our country. Who needs nuclear weapons or biological weapons. Two of the 40,000 flights wiped out more people in a few minutes than have ever been killed before, including the A-bombs that we dropped on Japan. So I differ; we don't have to worry about or think about nuclear weapons and biological weapons. Wake up, the weapons of mass destruction are part of the fabric of our society, part of our everyday life. Poison the water, crash the planes, turn off the air conditioning; whatever. We have created the weapons ourselves and they are there to be used by whomever.

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