Make the silent heard and the invisible seen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

George Takei vs. Tennessee's 'Don't say gay' bill |

George Takei vs. Tennessee's 'Don't say gay' bill |

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deportation: the Rapture and the refugee

It was only up to a few hundred years ago that the Rapture was certain in the minds of most Christians. They took the end of days very seriously. This was no joking matter, unlike today. 

And, unlike today, when I wrote the blog They are coming for us, again a few days ago, the latest proclamation of the Apocalypse: Redux, redux, redux had not begun to trend. Nor had the blame for Doomsday been laid squarely on our broad gay shoulders, again, by some shriveled salvationist simpleton from the south. 89-year-old Harold Camping, founder of the Family Stations Christian radio network, who is credited with making the dire warning that has sent social media into a tizzy, said:
"God has given us an enormous amount of proof, like the gay pride movement and the extraordinary amount of wickedness in the world."
Against this surreal backdrop, like some depraved lunacy leapt from the mind of Roman Polanski, the travesty of Nicaraguan-born queer artist Alvaro Orozco being arrested and facing imminent deportation by Canadian authorities in Toronto. In an interview with Xtra Toronto, Orozco describe the chilling ordeal he's been through over the last few days, including his arrest when the cops called immigration:
“They were saying, ‘We have this guy. Is this the guy you want?"
I will dispense any condemnation of the Canadian police state that has existed, particularly in Toronto, since last summer's G8/G20 summits because, by definition, police states and immigration tribunals do not abide by public opinion. But we can try. There is a Facebook page - Let Alvaro Stay.

So firstly, let’s not dispense with this Rapture nonsense. I repeat, don’t stop believing. This shit is writing itself online. Not only does it perfectly accessorize the first warm, sunny days of spring, it coincides with the long weekend. Can you party like a gay star? And… and, it’s the Victoria Day Long Weekend, so named to mark the old queen elephant’s birthday. You can’t make this stuff up. The first and last three-day blow-out ever, on a Queen’s birthday?!

But, what to pack? Not much, I expect. Toothbrush and floss will likely do. And, to wear? White, of course. The May-long is traditionally set as the days in which your spring and summer wardrobe comes out of the closet and you can start wearing your summer whites without fear of reprimand or fashion citation. And, given Pascal’s Wager, I’ll bet white would be the dress code for meeting Jesus Christ half-way to heaven.

Frankly, even if you do believe – and, come on… seriously –  do you honestly believe that any self-respecting omni-present, omni-benevolent, omnipotent being is going to open the door to heaven for a species that hasn’t come to understand the rudimentary concept of haven? If we are to believe anything, let us believe in what Suhail Abualsameed, a community advocate and friend of Orozco, said:
“This is Canada’s moment to prove that we are who we say we are.”

At his initial refugee board hearing in 2006, one of the board members didn't believe that Alvaro was gay. It's like, he made this shit up. What proof did they need? We are gay, and it's times like these that we have something to prove by showing our true and proud colours. 

We know people like Harold Camping only too well. He's a joke. A reason to party. Perhaps these right-wing neo-con evangelical geezers might embrace the idea of sanctuary here on earth before offering salvation for the end-is-nigh. If anyone be deported, it should be these zealots, from earth, not a young and talented man who enriches the Canadian and human experience. That is the moral, or immorality of Alvaro Orozco’s story. This shit, sadly, does write itself.

Open letter to Hon. Jason Kenney on behalf of Alvaro Orozco

Open letter to Hon. Jason Kenney on behalf of Alvaro Orozco

Friday, May 13, 2011

They are coming for us, again

It isn’t easy being gay. There’s the day-to-day drudgery of being fun, fit, fabulous and fashionable. Everyone wants to be your bf or bff. At this time of year, the logistics of planning for pride season - what-to-wear, hows-my-hair and party favs - which begins in important earnest in June, can make even the spinniest of us so spun out, like a sweaty, whirling dervish huffing helium on a laser-lit dance floor mixing it up to the beat and the bodies. (So 80s - the huffing helium, part.) And there’s beating the body back into beachwear buffness, not to mention being single. Still!

As if that’s not enough to contend with, this week alone there has been more than enough news, most of it bad, to blow a boy’s brain, thank you very much. It's crazy. I can image poor gay heads popping - exploding even! - and not in a done-blowed-up-real-good kind of way. Because on top of the tanning and the shopping and the party planning there is the none-too-small matter of a pogram in Africa, ridiculous remarks by a Canadian Conservative leader and a professional sports agent, homophobic teachers in our schools and, well, it's all a bit too much even for us - the smart, sexy and successful set. We are successful because we have put great effort into our lives, and we can work it, bitches.

I once heard a definition of what it means to be a successful man by a true survivor. I went something like this: If you have one person, one friend, one other soul in your life who – when “they” come for you; and they will come for you, if not today or tomorrow or sometime, they will come for you. If there is that one soul who, when you’re running for your life from them, will take you in and shelter you and give up their life for you then you are a successful man.

Well, they are coming for us, as they always have.

It makes you stop. It makes you think that the decision that has been weighing so heavily on your mind lately – whether to go with short or long hair this summer – is all that important.

Harvey Milk Day is 10 days away. It is celebrated around the world on May 22nd. The very least we can do to honour his legacy as our hero and a heavy-weight champion of human rights, is to do what Harvey did: recruit. Yea, I said it: recruit.

Thirty-three years ago, Harvey gave his famous Hope Speech, which he began by saying:
“My name is Harvey Milk and I’m here to recruit you.”
He was the first political figure that I am aware of who recruited for a cause called hope.
“And the young gay people… The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up.”
We can’t give up. We just can’t. We must keep putting great effort into our lives and others. 

We can do all that is gay – the fun, the fabulousness, the fashion, the fitness and, yes, the fucking – and we can fight. We’ve done it before and we will be called on to do it again and again because they will always come for us. We’re gay. We are the very definition of successful, in every sense of the word. Beat that. You can't. Not anymore. We'll beat back.

If they come this way, here at the end-of-the-road on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, I'll kick their ass.

My name is Dave Brindle and I’m here, as Harvey said, to recruit “you and you and you, you have to give people hope.” What’s your name?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A vote for Adam

Cousin Gordon and I – he, the country boy, and me, from the city – talked before his oldest son, Adam's birthday this winter.

“Adam turns 18,” Gordon said. “He’ll be able to vote.” Not that his son was eligible for a draft or his plans to attend university, or that he could now look forward to his son moving out of the house. That Adam will be able to vote is all Gordon needed to say about his aspirations for his son.

Later, I said to Adam, an intelligent, talented, athletic, good-looking and well-liked teenager, “Eighteen, huh? You’ll be able to vote.”

“Yes!” He pumped his fist like he’d just scored the winning shot. In our family, the traditions of political roots grow deep in the rich, dark soil around Moosomin, Saskatchewan. It is in our genes, like the dirt ground into our jeans. Adam, and his younger brother, Greg, were taught by their father, who learned from my Uncle, who was raised by our pioneer grandfather whose father settled the prairie, that it is more important to defend democracy than your own end.

A few days ago, I posted:

‎100 NDP seats? "... support of the third-place Liberals would give Mr. Layton a working majority." RT @PatrickBrethour @globeandmail
Top of Form
15 hours ago via TweetDeck ·  · Like · 
·         Adam Blackmore likes this.
Bottom of Form

Adam liked this. Now I’m not suggesting that my young cousin is casting his ballot for the NDP on May 2nd. It does seem he wants to rid the country of the Harper government, just as I do. I would never attempt to influence his or another’s vote, but really. Harper? I do, however, insist that he, and everyone in our family, be a Yankee fan.

I do know that his father and mother have raised him to make good decisions – which he, like any teenager, sometimes takes a few swings and misses before hitting the right one - with the freedom to choose. Sure, Gordon would prefer his son to vote Liberal, but he’d readily admit that decision is out of his hands.

I also know – as a native of the province that gave rise to the party under the revered Tommy Douglas – that the NDP can govern, and govern well. And, unlike the other federal parties and their provincial counterparts, the NDP is Canada's one, true national party, born and raised in Saskatchewan.

Douglas’s CCF was formed by common Canadians who believed the Liberals and Conservatives weren’t ideologically equipped for relieving the real hardship that they suffered during the Great Depression. My dad, who road the rails during the Dirty 30s, was a "Douglas man." (If any of this is covering old ground then skip ahead.)

Under Douglas’s leadership and, later, Woodrow Lloyd, the CCF governed for twenty years “and established Saskatchewan’s reputation for innovation, balancing sound fiscal policy with enlightened social policy.” 

With the brilliant Alan Blakeney as leader, the party (now the NDP) was just as bold in governing the province for 11 years - investing in the it’s “abundant natural resources, establishing a number of new Crown Corporations including Saskatchewan Potash and SaskOil to ensure that the people of the province benefited from high resource prices. Saskatchewan’s NDP government was also instrumental in the repatriation of the Canadian constitution and the development in the Charter of Rights.” 

When Roy Romanow’s NDP beat the Devine Conservatives in 1991 “the province was near bankruptcy and running a large deficit. Romanow’s first challenge was to balance the budget and restore the province’s fiscal health. Many tough choices were made as spending was cut and taxes were raised. By 1995 the budget was balanced and the government focused on many social justice issues, reaching agreement on Treaty Lands Entitlement, reforming the social welfare system, and introducing more progressive labour legislation.”

The values and beliefs of the federal NDP are framed within Saskatchewan’s neat borders and they inform anyone who calls the province home. Whether grudgingly or not, everyone from Saskatchewan has some socialism in their veins. Our numbers are vast and we are spread across this country. If you want proof, go a Canadian Football League game when the Riders are the visiting team.

It is Canada’s young voters who have given rise to the completely unexpected surge in the NDP’s poll numbers. 100 seats?!  As my friend at The Globe and Mail mentioned:

@davebrindleshow madness...

Is it? Think of it from Adam’s point-of-view.

I remember being 18 and a member of the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats. I shared a dilapidated old house with former Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quenell. It was a flop-house within a few short blocks of the legislature where young social democrats from all over the province and Canada found a piece of floor, a plate of my famous spaghetti, and argued politics and partied. The NDP, not the house, was then and remains, the anti-establishment party. It speaks to common Canadians. And, if I were to hazard a guess, there are more of us common folk than have been willing to admit.

Not so, young Canadians. They’re fearless. They seem willing to take a risk that will shake this country out of its lethargy. To put it simply, for most Canadian young people, the NDP is not their parent’s party. And Jack Layton is more like the cool teacher who they would invite to a party than their dorky dad. Layton is fearless. What else do you call a leader who has been campaigning full-out after prostrate and hip surgery and is willing to re-open the constitution?

The kid world is the social network and their numbers are great. Why would it be any surprise that the majority of them are drawn to the social democrats. It’s socialism, online or off, and its clicking.

So Adam, take seriously this responsibility because your family fought for it. You come from a family that has always talked politics around the supper table and who has always voted. You come from a province that grows good things and great ideas. You’re cutting your political teeth in one of the most pivotal elections in Canadian history. And Adam, remember to tell your son or daughter the story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Half-million Canadians lost

Canadians are so lost in the political wilderness that we need a compass. Unfortunately, by some accounts, its giving the wrong directions.

We accuse our politicians of playing games, which has led Canadians to tune out of politics, which has contributed to declining voter turnout, which has... blah-blah-blah. Who gives a crap?

What do Canadians do, this nation that boasts of being among the top 10 countries for internet usage? We start playing games with a veritable tickle trunk of network toys, from Facebook oaths and apps, to the CBC Vote Compass. The internet is for porn and this is just one fetish – political porn on the world-wide-wank.

Who knew it was going to be so easy? It’s such a Canadian solution to the vexing problem of having to, you know, “know” the issues by following the daily romper room from Ottawa in the House of Commons. It’s so, like, boring to form your own opinion that isn’t about head-shots in hockey; and then, if that isn’t too much to expect, you know, being prodded and goaded to a polling station – WTF! - to vote- GAK! - for, like, the gazillionth time in, like, I dunno, 4 years, when there are way better things to do in a day that’s already so busy commuting, working, taking care of the kids, watching Dancing with the Stars 24/7-days-a-week; and you don’t know anything about politics, you’ve never voted in your life. Life is so hard being a 30-something Canadian.

Herein lies the problem. It’s not the politicians who piss me off. It’s you. Yea, you; I'm talking to you who haven’t read this far. You – the Canadian voter or, rather, the Canadian who does not vote. You know who you are. Lord only knows, there are enough of you. But, you’re not reading this because, well, because you’d be reading, and the Canadian who does not vote, does not read and does not think.

But now, from the network that brought you… Oh, *sigh*, I don’t know, name any old banal CBC show - The National - comes Vote Compass

If you're frustrated by feeling left out when conversation shifts unexpectedly, recklessly and bewilderingly to this election? If you've never voted, ever. If you're completely unaware of the issues. If you're living under a rock. If you've been hit in the head with a rock. If your cognition has been damaged by the concussion you received from an elbow-to-your-head standing in the beer line at the last hockey game. You’re not alone. Now you can know where you stand on the issues, know your opinion of the party leaders, and know what party to vote for.

Canadians have been falling all over themselves finding their political selves, discovering just how easy it is to bone-up on the issues, the leaders, the election and the party you’ll vote for, thanks to our nurturing Mother Corp – the CBC.

Have you done the Vote Compass, or as I like to call it, “Voting for Dummies”? Voting for Dummies is the election craze sweeping the nation., except Saskatchewan where, according to this tweet from the National Compost’s Stephen Maher, "A Facebook group has popped up of NDPers from Sask complaining about the CBC Vote Compass." It's called, CBC - Take Down the Bogus "Vote Compass." (At least people in Saskatchewan act on their complaints by voting.) And, as with all 1.0 versions, there's a glitch.

It takes less than 10 minutes to answer about 30 questions decided on by the CBC and a group of academics. Jeez, this has to be at least as good as an afternoon nap, or Power & Politics.

Let me be honest, because this election is about honesty, if nothing else – and it really is about nothing else. Honestly, if the truth be told – and it won’t be during this election. If the truth be told in the ads and debates and speeches, even by online trolls and shills and posing provocateurs, this election is about whether or not Stephen Harper is a douchebag. But I digress from the trending topic of this campaign that is not yet a week old. Not the aforementioned douchebag but the the Vote Compass.

If the CBC and a group of leading academics can’t devise a fair and balanced quiz that will show you where you hit the target closest to the respective parties, well, who can? At least one academic, one who is likely jealous because academics simply seethe with envy, thinks the Compass is flawed, causing "the survey to default to Liberal.". Add to that is the fact that so many Canadians who have taken to the trusty compass have been surprised by the result (in the interest of full disclosure, the federal parties that are in my ideological range are NDP, BQ, Green and Liberal), it’s no wonder the country is so far off fucking course.

By Google Map or compass, there are 40% of Canadians who, I predict, will not find their way to a polling station on May 2nd. Why? Because half of you couldn’t find your food dish if it was moved, let alone navigate your way to a school gymnasium or community centre. That’s the half that gave up reading this far. They’re complete failures as Canadians. The test isn't even that fucking hard! Vote Compass asks 30 questions. Voting day, asks one. One question. Multiple choice. MFC! Vote. You do remember how to vote, don't you? You just hold your nose and mark an X. Or have so many of you sat your fat asses on the sideline sofas for the last 3 elections in seven years that you've forgotten how and really do need a compass for directions on how to think? 

You’re a 30-year-old Canadian. Grow up. You don't need a compass. You need a whack upside the head.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smoking Oda stinks

The Bev Oda affair is odious. Whether or not the embattled Conservative cabinet minister is oda-here will be decided in the next two days before Canada's MPS take the mid-winter break from the current session.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stood firm in the House of Commons in supporting his International Cooperation Minister. The opposition parties have been unrelenting in demanding her resignation or firing, neither of which is likely. And the whole brouhaha will, in all likelihood, be forgotten by the public by the time MPs return to Ottawa. Not surprising, when a recent poll suggests only 15% of Canadians follow federal politics.

However, as Andrew Coyne writes in a must-read column on MacLean', "This is about whether this government can be held to basic norms of civilized democratic behaviour." Why should it start? The conservative base in this country - the only Canadians that Prime Minister Stephen Harper cares about - sees nothing morally wrong with a government that lies. As long as it's a Conservative government. It stinks.

In just a few days, this story has gone beyond Bev Oda to being a question of Stephen Harper's ethics - his sense of right and wrong. To have a photograph of Oda smoking a cigarette on the home page of is, quite simply, poor form for The Globe and Mail to display in its home page. Any for the media to mock her wearing sunglasses is childish. It detracts from the crisis that the nation faces. Do Canadians want Stephen Harper single-handedly running this country or a civilized parliament democracy?

Oda's actions in the "not" affair that has played out this week are highly questionable, but to allude to her overall character as being questionable by showing her as a smoker implies that she is a bad person.
As the critical thinking about smoking has formed:
Smoking cigarettes is bad;
Smokers smoke cigarettes;
Therefore, smokers are bad.
That's unsound and completely invalid because not all smokers are bad people. (Harper doesn't smoke.) And to draw Oda's addiction to cigarettes, while she is undergoing tremendous professional and personal stress, is irrelevant to the political debate.

As U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said in a recent Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, "It's a bad habit, but I have it. It's a legal product. I choose to smoke. Leave me alone."

Bev Oda and the Prime Minister should not be left alone about what actually transpired, but Oda should be left alone to smoke privately.

We have joined your revolution; except Canada

UPDATE: An unprecedented cyberattack on the Canadian government from China has given foreign hackers access to highly classified federal information, and forced at least two key departments off the internet, the CBC has learned.

The information war has begun.

Note to The New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell, academics and professors of journalism who continue to hold to Gladwell's assertion that "the revolution will not be tweeted. The revolution is being tweeted. Why else would the United States so strongly come to the aid of pro-democracy reforms sweeping across the sands of the Middle East by launching an insurgent Twitter attack.

Under-reported in the world's exhilaration over the fall of Egypt's dictator Hosi Mubarak  - and subsequent movements for reform in Bahrain, Yemen, Iran and Libya - was that the U.S. State Department began sending Twitter messages in Farsi on Sunday (Feb. 13) "in the hopes of reaching social media users in Iran."

In this McLuhan age that we are joined in, the U.S. tactic is a strategic first-strike. A smart-bomb, if you will.
  1. پرزیدنت اوباما: ما پیام قوی به متحدانمان فرستاده ایم. به الگوی مصر نگاه کنید، نه ایران #Iran#25Jan #25Bahman #Egypt
The translation of the preceding tweet is:

President Obama: We have sent strong message to our allies. Look at the pattern of Egypt, not Iran.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We are all Egyptians

"Just back from celeberations in the street. My voice is completely gone from shouting & chanting. It's an incredible day in Egyptians life. Incredible day in Egypt's history. We will build a new Egypt. A new fair, free just Egypt for all. I can feel bit change in how Egyptians are dealing with each other with care love." - Wael Ghonim, "We are all Khaled Said", Facebook, February 12, 2011
The Vancouver Canucks of the NHL uses an identical tagline for its brand promotion - "We are all Canucks." Since the team first started using it a few years ago, I would, whenever hearing it, say, "No. We're not."

Having been riveted to the events that unfolded in Egypt and the world, the Canucks sell hangs rather dross and limp in the fire and sweat of the people who overthrew a dictator; and the torture murder of a young man that gave rise to it. For 24 hours last week, we were all Egyptians. And the network made it so.

Mathew Ingram, in a blog on, made the argument at the beginning of, what was then, a pro-democracy movement in Egypt:
"The argument I have tried to make is simply that... social media tools can be incredibly powerful, both for spreading the word — which can give moral or emotional support to others in a country, as well as generating external support — as well as for organizational purposes, thanks to the power of the network. As Jared Cohen of Google Ideas put it, social media may not be a cause, but it can be a powerful “accelerant.”"
What transpired in Egypt over 18 shorts days proved otherwise. The network was more than fuel, it was the cause and effect of revolution.

When the internet began to make us collectively conscious of the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, Tim Wood, a friend from university, and I had this brief exchange:

Dave Brindle commented on Tim Wood's status.

Tim Wood 
Exhilirating live footage from Cairo. For those of us who regret not having been news-conscious in 1989, current events in the Maghreb almost make up for it:

28 January at 09:58 ·  · 

    • Dave Brindle Tim - Exhilirating? Or alarming?
      28 January at 09:58 · 

    • Tim Wood Based on my experience in autocracies and oligarchies, at a human level, these developments are not just exhilirating but inspiring. On a geopolitical level, the outcome could certainly be alarming. Or it could be positive. But it is wrong to assume, as many people seem to be, an up and down choice between totalitarianism and Islamism.

Tim is a young, intelligent attorney in New York, who had interned for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and served as a Legislative Assistant for the Parliament of Canada. He had smartly summarized the history we would be witness to in Egypt. He's young, healthy, strong and on the net; like the self-sacrificing youth that took over Cairo's Tahrir Square, inspiring thousands of Algerians and Yemenis to take to the streets of their capital cities, and put the wheels in motion for a resurgence of the "green movement" in Iran.

A few days after that exchange with Tim, and after I'd begun to post on the events in Egypt, I got this message on Facebook:

    • Hala Romana Thanks Dave for covering the events going on in Egypt. I'm Egyptian and have family in Egypt and it is so amazing to see all the care and support coming from Canada. This is another reason why l'm proud to be Canadian!!
      30 January at 11:37 · 

    • Dave Brindle You're welcome, Hala. Are you able to reach your family and are they safe?
      30 January at 11:49 · 

    • Hala Romana Thanks Dave. I was able to make connect with my family today. Thankfully they are are safe. My cousin and his neighbors stayed up last night protecting their apartment complex from thieves. Today, there is a army tanker down the road from them so they feel abit safer.

Tim and Hala taught me an important lesson that would serve me well over the following days. My laptop was where the story would come together. The world was streaming, scanning, reading, and posting. It was the crucible for the critical mass that brought down two regimes - Mubarak's and geezer media. 

The In 1989, networking was exchanging as many business cards as you could. In 1969, networking took weeks and months to bring together a social force that could cause unpredictable, unprecedented and profound change such as what shook the world in just three weeks. That's light-speed in geopolitics. For anyone to think that the network, not the brands - Facebook and Twitter being to the network what Kleenex is to tissue paper; but that the network wasn't responsible for initiating and sustaining Egypt's revolution is living in the time of the pharaohs and holds to the belief that a bad winter unequivocally refutes climate change.

For the final two days of Hosni Mubarak's solipsistic stubbornness before acceding to the people's - and Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces - will, the network hummed. It grew to critical mass and tipped the balance in favour of the people. Bits and pieces came together, like a big picture puzzle, from everywhere on the table. The force of the democracy Egypt grew into a young, healthy, strong, always in motion yet ultimately immovable force of will because of communication made possible through the network. 

The network is global democracy that is creating a domino effect. So important is content from the web that the venerable Guardian has now created an interactive page on it's web site: "Twitter network of Arab protests - interactive map" where users can follow the latest tweets on protests around the Arab world. 

"We are all Khaled Said"

Khaled Said poster
Khaled Said was a young, healthy, strong Alexandria businessman whose beating death at the hands of police triggered the explosive fury that a generation had stockpiled under a lifetime of repression. Facebook was the gun barrel. As The Globe and Mail explained just one day after the first protest on #jan25 (a Twitter hashmark for the revolution),

"There is no one reason to explain why tens of thousands of Egyptians are taking part in the largest protests in a generation, calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. It is, rather, a combustible combination of factors ranging from the torture killing of a twenty-something businessman to the emerging political force of Facebook in the Arab world."
Said's unrecognizable face -
beaten by police to a bloody pulp
The graphic picture at right is of Khaled Said after corrupt Egyptian police beat him on the street and then dragged him inside a nearby building, smashing his head against a marble staircase and left to die. Why? He had discovered a video of corrupt local police and posted it on his blog.

Is Wael Ghonim new face of revolution 2.0?

Khaled Said is the first young face of the Egyptian revolution that we became aware of - a face beaten and bashed beyond recognition. Then we began to see young Egyptian faces by the thousands converge because of the efforts of Wael Ghonim, arguably  the second most important face of the revolution. In the parlance of journalism, Ghonim and his online friends took Khaled Said's tragic story and ran with it. Ran all the way to Tahrir Square, and stayed and communicated to the world. Connected. As the CBC reported,
Profile pic for Facebook page 
"The 30-year-old Google manager created the Facebook page "We Are All Khaled Said." It became a rallying point for the anti-government protests that began on Jan. 25. 
On Jan. 27, Ghonim went missing. It was discovered that he was being held by Egyptian authorities. 
After 12 days in detention, Ghonim was released on Feb. 7, and said that he had not been tortured while in detention, but Egyptian officers did interrogate him relentlessly about how the anti-government protests were organized."

It was organized. It was planned. You say you want a revolution? Give people the internet. Egypt's revolution is the faces of youth, a new media literate generation that continues to evolve and expand on the net. With every shift in the geopolitical landscape - Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen - it gets more savvy in its choice of reliable sources.

Anderson Cooper, meet Ayman Mohyeldin

The "green movement" in Iran had opened the portal to Al Jazeera English, an exemplary news organization that eschews the sensational hyperbole and jingoism of US media. (Let's not even deign to discuss how Fox News extrapolated their agenda out of Egypt, other than to say it was blatant fear-mongering, the like of which would make Dick Cheney proud.) Let's, instead, use the Milquetoast of US cable news, CNN.

CNN's Anderson Cooper got a punch in the head. Ayman Mohyeldin, the break-out star of Al Jazeera's coverage, was blind-folded and detained by Egyptian secret police. Mohyeldin KO'd Cooper in the first round.

In the New York Times TV Watch, Alessandra Stanley wrote,
It was Al Jazeera’s victory as well, of course, and that struggle was also fought live on television over the last 18 days, though more subliminally. The Mubarak government, which repeatedly tried to block the Arabic-language channel, treated Al Jazeera as an enemy that incited the protesters.
Al Jazeera English seemed intent on using the upheaval in Egypt to assume the kind of authoritative role that CNN had during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The network fought back — with impassive resistance. Throughout the crisis, its correspondents covering the protests tried to hold themselves to a strict neutrality that even CNN reporters didn’t feign.
As they did at the height of the Iraq war, many Americans chose to watch foreign newscasts, in particular streams of BBC World News and Al Jazeera English.
It's important to understand how much the network - particularly the brands Facebook and Twitter - is to the content of ink-on-dead trees newspapers and their online divisions, and traditional newscasts, be they CNN, Al Jazeera or even state-controlled Egyptian TV.

The day prior to Mubarak's fall, Al Jazeera noted that Egyptian TV had begun to take a much more aggressive approach and tone to its coverage of state corruption, injustice and social reform. Geezer media might bellyache about net content not being vetted and it replacing their role as content aggregator, but where would Wolf Blizter's Situation Room be without interface gadgets?

A different kind of guerrilla freedom fighter

The throngs that gathered at Tahrir Square were not freedom fighters carrying Kalashnikovs and streaming from the mountains or jungles to mount clandestine, violent attacks. The "Tienanmen Option", the infamous massacre that crushed the pro-democracy student uprising in China that Tim Wood alluded to in his reference to 1989, was never in play. This was an insurgency, in that it had cell-network interface, fostered a security of solidarity in the population, continually and instantly undermined the regime, and attacked Mubarak live on TV. Yet this was, with the exception of tragic and criminal loss of life when pro-Mubarak thugs clashed with pro-democracy protesters, a passive revolution. The activity was on the net.

In the 24 hours of the revolution that toppled Mubarak, I was working the Al Jazeera English and BBC live streams, toggling between, The Globe and Mail, and Tweetdeck, posting, and retweeting. In all, I sent about 100 items to the net in 24 hours, most summarized here on my blog. Multiply that by the network, and nobody really can. The net has gone beyond rating.

I had raised the question of alarm to Tim because, as a journalist, I have witnessed  revolutions in newsrooms where you wait for something to blow up. But Egypt is different. It was, as was repeated over and over on Friday, February 11th, exhilarating. The undercurrents of alarm, later expressed in the analysis of the revolutionary hangover, however, were ever present and more so now. Things will become less friendly. Facebook friends will become adversaries.

2011: Celebrating 100 years of McLuhan

Lost in all of the hum online - , - was 2011 is 100th anniversary of birth of Marshall McLuhan. He was right.
When I posted that, my friend, Rod Mickleburgh at The Globe and Mail, shot back;
@davebrindleshow mcluahan was certainly right when he gave my mother an A on her eng lit masters essay for him, on ulysses...
@ she also had northrop frye as a prof that mom was amazing....she went back for her MA at 46....
See that? Storytelling. That's what participatory journalism - or citizen or open journalism - works online. There's a great story in 6 lines and a click.

It's ironic that we're celebrating 100 years of McLuhan. Because he was Canadian and we are engaged in an electronic revolt. In this instance, a net revolution was actually taking place in Canada over two causes at the same time as Egypt. One stirred up the net - on Facebook and Twitter - so much that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, sensing the will of the young demographic might rally against him in an imminent election, stepped in and acquiesced to opposition over the CRTC's decision on user-based-billing. What's happening now in that debate has become too complicated and fractured for the interests of the network beyond special interest groups and telecorps.

The second cause relates directly to the reliability of news and information - manufactured news. Is there, as The Globe and Mail's TV critic John Doyle said,
an argument to be made that language of CRTC regulations on “news” and “truth” must conform to the law of the land, there is no authentic need to open up this can of worms.
The worms are out of the can. If the government, through the CRTC can legislate truth and news on TV, the precedent exists to impose the same on the internet.

Ross Howard, faculty member for Langara College’s Department of Journalism said in an excellent, but flawed opinion piece by Walker Morrow in the brand, spanking-new,
... online is just another form of presenting the same info quicker, more accessibly and with greater feedback and diversity of sources.” He continues, “Unfortunately, the Web by itself provides no answer or relief from this ignorance driven by corporate imperatives and near-drowning in the info-tsunami we’re facing, because blogs and Facebook and Twitter etc. provide extraordinary diversity and interactivity but absolutely no reliability.
I would challenge Mr. Howard's assertion of the network's unreliability. My friend,Tim Wood, had made and educated and valid argument that would prove correct. Look at his C.V. He wasn't guessing. He didn't make it up. Look at the summary of my posts and point out one that was not reliable. Ask the people of Egypt which was more reliable, the regime or the network. The network is reliable in that it never loses its voice, fluidity, fairness, free expression of ideas and opinions, and sense of justice - the very essence of democracy. And if an open democracy isn't reliable, what on earth is?

Caution, the spin starts here. The same engine that can organize through disorganization can also be retooled and used to quickly reorganize into factions and agendas. The inherent strength of the internet's global democracy is also it's weakness. The network doesn't have leadership nor does it follow a plan, and it is wrong to assume an up and down choice anymore between geezer media and open media.