Ravaged by Instability, Censorship and Firewalls

The Government of Pakistan has decided that they need state-of-the-art infrastructure to quickly and effectively censor up to 50 million websites.

I respect the government’s decision to do so, and ask them to follow this course with renewed vim and vigour. Shutting down an avenue of unfettered opinion exchange is without a doubt a time honoured tradition in our nation. We have seen such instances time and again over our nation’s brief, yet eventful, life.

Originally published as: You’re My Firewall!

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For the longest time, we just felt no need to expand the scope of our television media. We also had the Zia years, which were akin to perfection as far as censorship goes. Someome say something wrong? Go pick ‘em up. Lock them in the fort. Why should they complain about that? The Lahore Fort is a World Heritage Site! Do you have any idea how much it would cost to spend a night there? Leave alone months on end!

Nawaz Sharif had that phase where he decided that pop music should be banned. Thank goodness he went ahead with that. How would Lay’s find spokespeople if they hadn’t abandoned their musical careers? That was well before Nawaz Sharif decided that he liked being called a ‘democrat’. I dislike his new incarnation. Not buying what he’s selling.

And now, aided and abetted by the Courts, our most vengeful democrats ever have decided to extend their revenge agenda to the internet.

And why shouldn’t they?

Look all around us! We are a nation ravaged by instability. People must not take to the internet to talk about things like LOLCATS and their aversion to Humsafar or their struggles for dignity. The internet is giving rise to an awful sense of entitlement among people. Entitled to their opinion? Entitled to make it known? I think not.

I’m sure the government’s aim is absolutely pure. They just want to make the internet a decent place. Did you know that switching on your internet machine takes you to a website called Google? Did you know that Google means boobs? Shameful.

They’re going to just ban porn, obviously. It falls under the category of ‘obscenity’ – of which we will have none in our nation. As we all well know, kids watch porn and then are overcome with an immediate desire to embody EVERY SOCIAL ILL THERE IS! Especially all those ills that predate this mass availability of pornography like misogyny, rape, murder, genocide. Oh just all of them!

And the people of this country? Of course they support this enormous expansion in censorship. Just a few days ago, we learnt of a brave 15 year old who compiled a list of 780,000 pornographic websites. He proceeded to send the list to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, with a little note saying, “Had my fill of these. Please ban away.” This is active citizenship! How dare anyone make fun of it.

Yes, please, Government of Pakistan. Please limit my rights! I don’t want more access to information. In fact, I want to give you the power to arbitrarily decide what I can and what I can’t see. (Just so we’re clear – I don’t want to see information on the Baloch independence movement. I DO want to see lots and lots of jihadi websites.)

I trust you blindly.

Much love.

Kala Kawa