It started with Facebook and graduated to Youtube, Wikipedia and now apparently over a 1,000 websites have been blocked. The ban that the Lahore High Court sanctioned has given the authorities a free licence to do as they please. And the PTA, in a rare display of efficiency, is doing all that it can to block our access to the internet. I was fine with the Facebook ban.
Though Wikipedia is accessible once again, I wonder why was it banned in the first place? How in the world do you get away with blocking a site that serves as a source of information for so many?
Over time I have come to depend on Wikipedia for my information. I have learnt to trust it. I know that incorrect information might make its way to the site sometimes, but the obsessive fan-base that keeps the website in check will not be far behind in nipping the incorrect information in the bud, before it has a chance to blossom.
And then we come to the issue of the cartoons’ availability on Wikipedia. I will be honest here, I have never felt the need to search for people who dare make fun of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). But if I was ever to get information on the matter, I would not go to the media, I will not go to the numerous angry groups that have spawned in response and I will definitely not go to the source itself. Instead I will go to Wikipedia, whom I trust will present me a fair picture of the situation – an introduction to the issue, peoples’ reaction, criticism and public response.
Anger has never solved any problems. Burning your own home does not help stop the people who would not hesitate for a moment to mock your beliefs. And confining yourself in your small little closet does not miraculously fix the world.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2010.
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