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April 27, 2011

Tatu and the IWW

Tatu are secretly Wobblies, aren't they? All About Us hinges on a personalization of the great IWW slogan An injury to one is an injury to all, transmuted into obsessive romance:

If. They. Hurt. You. They. Hurt. Me. Too
So we'll rise up won't stop
And it's all about
It's all about
It's all about us

It's not just me feeling the solidarity. This group review returns to the theme time and time again, albeit with a point-missing tendency to link it to the USSR:
You can imagine those pounding war drums soundtracking the Bolshevik revolution - there's certainly a similar sense of collective running through the lyrics, drawing strength from standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow revolutionaries. "If. They. Hurt. You. They. Hurt. ME. TOO.": spine-tinglingly magnificent pop moment of the year.

And more generally, you can make a case that the value of TATU is fitting their various high-pitched emotional states into a grand narrative of love and rebellion:

If you listen across their 'Best Of' album, you can see it unfold: forbidden love and ensuing confusion as the girls, through their transgression, are thrust beyond the bounds of the normative ("All The Things She Said"'); the forging of a new revolutionary ethics ("All About Us", "They're Not Gonna Get Us"); yet more confusion as one of the girls falls for a boy ("Loves Me Not"); a Thermidorian inquest into the motives and consequences of the betrayal ("Friend Or Foe"); then finally, the realisation that the only place this utopian society can exist is in space ("Cosmos")

April 4, 2011

Exporting surveillance

MENA net filtering uses Western technology:

At least nine Middle Eastern and North African state censors use Western-built technologies to impede access to online content. ISPs in Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan, and Tunisia use the Western-built automated filtering solutions to block mass content, such as websites that provide skeptical views of Islam, secular and atheist discourse, sex, GLBT, dating services, and proxy and anonymity tools. These lists of sites are maintained by the Western company vendors. The ISPs also use these tools to add their own selected URLs to the companies' black lists.

I'm interested here that no Chinese technology is mentioned as being used. This was something I'd been expecting -- as had Naomi Klein (kind of) -- but which hasn't come to pass.

As Erich Moechtel has pointed out, much of the European surveillance export industry is surprisingly open. This conference in Dubai in February was more concerned with bugging and individual surveillance, but the principle applies more broadly.

More on this from the TAZ:

Eines der bekannten europäischen Beispiele sei die Firma Nokia Siemens Networks, die beispielsweise Technik in den Iran geliefert habe. "Dort wird diese aktiv zur Repression der Bevölkerung genutzt", kritisiert Kubieziel. Mittlerweile setzten Länder wie China aber auf selbst entwickelte Software zur Zensur, die sie auch an anderen Staaten weiter verkaufe.