Tag Archives: Movies

Million Masks

I should perhaps start this post by admitting that I was not present on the streets last Wednesday, the 5th of November. Were you? Did you know about it? There was a global demonstration.

The March against Monsanto on May 25th was the first global protest in history that aimed against a single global company. Even though the Amsterdam Dam Square was filled, the protest barely reached the Dutch news. The Monsanto Stock market did drop temporarily. This week, the European Commission nevertheless recommended the Council to grant permission to breed the genetically modified maize 1507 which, by the way, was not produced by Monsanto but by a Dutch company. Where are Greenpeace when you need them? I suppose they are too busy saving Faiza from the Russians.

Back to the Million Mask March. They have called themselves an alliance between Occupy, Anonymous and Wikileaks. From the online information sources the magnitude of the actual events are hard to grasp. Mass media have smaller head counts than some twitterers and smaller media do. We know for a fact that Russel Brand was there. And the Vendetta masks, imitating the face of Guy Fawkes,  involved in attempt to assassinate the king of England on, guess what, November 5th 1605. Not so long ago, people wore scream masks. What happened there?

V. Vendetta. A rebel with a cause. A legend, who decides for himself what is good and what is not. He suffered. His goal justifies his means. He is an example now. His mask enables others to express their pain. It helps them say that the big ones have messed up. Once again, a movie character stepped off the screen.

The call for peace is loud and clear. It’s message is not so much rational as it is ethical. You guys are cheating! You’re ignoring the rule of respect! You’re not cleaning up after you played the game!

Even if few people have heard of this one, such movements have impact. Occupy encouraged a first indigenous rise to politics. It inspired the guy who makes clean phones to start his business. It opened the dialogue about the banking system. Has it been enough? No. Yet the ball is rolling, and symbols of change keep joining the field.

Caught in a Web

Sometimes I wonder why people in my surroundings are so little concerned about the current attempts of the governments to get a grip on the world wide web. Providing that it’s feasible. This is an opportunity for us all to partake in the formation of internet-ethics. But a majority stays silent, while speakers like Anonymous get punished. I feel quite uncanny about the whole thing.

I remember, years ago, that my final primary school teacher stood in front of the class, amazed about the possibilities of the net. ” You type in a word, and you get a whole list of answers to all your questions”. It took a few more years before we finally had it at home, but I did not start downloading until I had super-fast internet at my students’ residence. It has become very common among students to share files. Movies, music, books, but mostly porn.

In the 1950′s any decent host would offer his guests cigarettes in a bowl. Up till about ten years ago, it would have been impossible to get the anti-smoking law implemented in the Netherlands. Do you remember the commercials, where a girl took a drag and turned into an old wrinkled woman? Posters with smoke in the shape of a skull? They bent opinions. After a few decades of campaigning, implementing these laws went smoother than diarrhea. The anti-smokers got what they wanted.

When you buy a DVD today, you get an obligatory 1 minute about that piracy is stealing. It is not. If you download, copy the file, you don’t get to see any video. Those who pay get reassured. Are steered easily. So far, internet has been from the people. But will it remain this way? I suppose this ACTA law will fail now. But it would not surprise me if within ten years, we’ll see increased ads and increased punishments trying to adjust our moral towards “downloading is wrong”. We’ll resist at the start, but with enough repetition, we will start believing it and eventually fight in its favour.

Such mechanisms are among the main reasons why it is important that we keep freeing our minds. If we want to keep the internet, we might have to keep fighting for it. Internally. Keep the initiative close. Master ourselves and be grateful for what we have, or the freedom of this time might just slip through our fingers.