re: If You Don't Know, Now You Know - GitHub Is Restricting Access For Users From Iran And A Few Other Embargoed Countries VIEW POST

re: The exact point I'm making is that the services we use to keep our code are inextricable parts of that political context. In actual fact, we have ...

I think that there are two areas of discussion here - the moral justifications of an embargo, and the need to remove the effects of the whims of some central authority. We absolutely have the ability to create decentralized, federated services to commit out code to in the nature of protecting all developers from this kind of embargo.

Overwhelmingly most of the open source community is built around the idea of solidarity among developers - regardless of ethnicity or nationality, race or creed. The fact of the matter is, this is a technical issue caused by a political one, but this is not a political forum. For that reason, I believe that we should keep the discussion on-topic for the type of forum that this is, and take steps to reinforce our community against the effects of racist policy.

What you're calling racist policy, I call nonviolent sanctions that predate the Trump administration and are meant to prevent genocide.

And if those policies do prevent that genocide, that's a good thing.

This might not be a political forum (a premise which strikes me as highly debatable) but this is certainly a political topic. If you don't like political debates here, you should take umbrage with OP, not with me, friend.

I'm going to sign off with this - you still haven't addressed my key point here, being that solidarity with other developers stands beyond political leanings. I'm trying to steer the conversation from the political cause to the actions we can take to prevent it from harming our communities.

Advocating for disciplinary action against a group of people due to their nationality is racist, and I'm not willing to discuss the finer points of acceptable state violence (here, in the form of discrimination) against the citizens of any nation.

I am, however, very invested in forming a conversation around building alternatives to platforms such as GitHub that ensure users the freedom from this kind of state-sanctioned discrimination.

I addressed solidarity in the preamble to my original comment, please take another look. I'd appreciate if you would not cast my argument as some kind of personal dig at Iranian developers, something I took pains to avoid doing.

I don't believe that if two aggressors in war possess different ethnicity that it automatically makes the war a racist one. Furthermore, the USA is a multi-ethnic state. So I'd appreciate if you would at least consider that racism is not at issue here, rather geopolitics.

And I get that you would prefer that these kinds of sanctions were irrelevant, but what I'm saying to you, my friend, is that they are not, and that the continued existence of my country may well depend on that.

I hope you'll take that into consideration.

One missing point in this discussion is Github becoming a single point of failure while being owned by a huge corporation of a huge country, hence open to problems associated with global monopolies. Speaking of liberal democracy, this is a bottleneck which occurs very frequently in the history. This is something we should stand against as web is becoming more not-open every day passing by.

I'm also against "No liberal democracy, no GitHub" as this sounds more like my way or no way to me. Especially dangerous when the subject is information and science, noone should be left out so that humanity goes somewhere better.

I mean chances are better for a society to become more democratic faster if they are exposed more with the opennes philosophy of the web and software development. We should stand for this, and US people should stand for the exclusion of open source platforms from trade sanctions.

No liberal democracy, no GitHub

Just to clarify: what I meant was that, in my view, the open source community could only have grown out of a Liberal Democracy. I was describing history, not threatening anyone.

Regarding decentralization, I think your arguments are valid regardless of the present discussion. However, things being how they are, I do support sanctions against tyrannical and genocidal governments.

  1. You keep using the phrase liberal democracy to describe the history (and specifically inception) of open source software. This take is pretty naive in a lot of ways, and kind of misguided in others? Making a blanket statement that any ideology (in this case, I assume you're using liberal democracy as a stand in for capitalism) is the source of something as far reaching as the open source community just doesn't follow with the actual history.

Some projects are pretty democratic, sure - but others have (tongue-in-cheek but still valid) "benevolent dictators for life". Some projects are led by working groups that aren't voted in by the community, and the future of some projects are decided by major stakeholders put forward by browser vendors and big companies. Some open source projects are even controlled by private companies (bit of a stretch to call it truly democratic).

I'm not arguing the morality of how institutional power shapes open source communities here either, a lot of the time it works out more or less. I am saying that I think your take on liberal democracy™ being the source of it all is a bit of a flawed model.

  1. You keep referring to Iran as being tyrannical and genocidal, but the actions of their government and the effects of trade bans on their citizens are completely separate issues. The key issue here is the effect of the ban effecting people, and it would be super cool if you stopped falsely equivocating the Iranian government with the citizens of Iran.

Liberal democracy refers to the prevailing system of government and society in the West, especially since the end of World War 2. Coincidentally, exactly where and when the internet and the software culture we're debating came about. I'm saying that it's not a coincidence - the values of one directly lead to the advent of the other.

the actions of their government and the effects of trade bans on their citizens are completely separate issues

They are specifically and emphatically not separate issues. The aim of sanctions is to pressure the government to change course. That will not happen if their people are copacetic.

That's a big yikes from me family - history isn't so neatly packaged and the West means a lot of things to a lot of people.

The reason I've taken pains to try and steer this away from your hot takes is because solidarity among developers supersedes nationalistic rhetoric like you've been laying out in this thread.

By stating that a specific group of people built the internet you are very deliberately implying certain other groups did not - there are many countries and groups of people who have grown and shaped the web, and as such it cannot be claimed by any other group of people or central authority.

Please don't try and convince people that "no, it's actually a good thing that this happened because Iranians need to do something about their government". There is an entire history of why that's an awful (and somewhat racist) take to have.

I'm sure you'll have the last word here, but maybe it's more appropriate to post on your blog or something?

I feel like we're going in circles, Dyl, but I hope you'll reconsider your characterisation of my position as racist.

Racism would be the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah starting that "if the Jews would gather in Israel, it would save us from going after them worldwide".

Racism would be Hamas' founding document, inciting their followers to murder Jews anywhere they find them.

Racism would be the constant credible threats of annihilation that the Ayatollahs make against Israel.

Resisting against these dictators is a moral imperative.

I hope you'll think about how, from my perspective, it sounds like you're saying "as long as it's only Jews in the crosshairs, it's racist to tackle the shooter".

So let's tackle this one at a time:

Hezbollah is primarily based out of Lebanon, and Hamas primarily out of Gaza. Insinuating that Iranian developers should be punished for their rhetoric implies that you are coming at this from an intensely racial place, which is not welcome in a real discussion, political or otherwise.

You are still insisting that Iranians deserve to be punished for the actions of their government, and you're doing an incredibly shallow job of concern trolling - at no point did I say or imply that any culture deserves to be in the crosshairs for any reason. I am saying that the rhetoric you're using is racist, and you should seriously reflect on this stuff my dude.

At this point, you're conflating the statements of geographically discrete groups onto the people actually being affected by this trade ban (Iranian developers). That is definitively a racist thing to do, and it has no place on a forum specifically about tech. Literally nobody asked you if you think it's actually cool & good that this happened for your own political reasons, but the reasons you went ahead and gave are really telling about your opinions of other people.

Racism should never be allowed a foothold in any community, and in this case I refuse to let Islamophobic dog-whistling go undisturbed in a thread about the effects of Islamophobia on a group of developers.

Both Hizbollah and Hamas are Iranian proxies. That's nothing new.

I never said that Iranians deserve to be punished. In my very first sentence in this thread I dealt with that. Please, stop putting words in my mouth when I took pains to clarify from the get go.

You're intentionally misrepresenting me in order to lob ad hominems.

Pointing out the genocidal intentions of the Ayatollahs and their puppets is not islamophobia. If it is, then Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, and everyone else resisting the dictators is an islamophobe.

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They are specifically and emphatically not separate issues. The aim of sanctions is to pressure the government to change course. That will not happen if their people are copacetic.

This sounds a lot like you think excluding Iranian developers from a platform might cause regime change. Don't tell on yourself and then pretend like you didn't 😉

Saying I'm not racist in your opening remarks, and then being racist is literally the definition of the dog-whistling that I'm calling you out on.

At no point have I insulted you, so that miss me with that ad-hom rhetoric.

And mate, again, literally nobody asked if you think that excluding Iranians from github was good or cool or necessary - you decided to go out of your way and start this. It would cost you nothing to have not done this.

Pointing out the genocidal intentions of the Ayatollahs and their puppets is not islamophobia. If it is, then Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, and everyone else resisting the dictators is an islamophobe.

Finally, and say it with me this time:

like can you imagine if your career was hindered because the last residential school was closed in like 1997? Seriously, your points are old and tired and yes, racist. Just don't do it here, Benny.

There has to be room in this discussion to disagree without leveling personal attacks.

For the second time, I ask you to please refrain.

It is not prudent to debate or argue racism - you’re implying that dehumanizing a group should be up for discussion, and you’re being told in the clearest possible terms that your take is unacceptable.

You want to do that clapping thing again, or are you cool with leaving it be?

P.S. I have not ‘levelled personal attacks’ upon anyone in this thread 😘

I'm not going to get into the modern politics, but I did want to address some of the claims regarding the internet's inception.

While the US did make the specific technological advance that we now call "the internet," democracy did not play much if a part in it.

The internet was born out of a US department of defense project called ARPANET in the 70s and 80s. In other words, the foundational technology of the internet was a military project from the Cold War era. It just so happened that educational institutions found it useful and it grew from there, due to its decentralized nature.

But the history of the internet goes back much, much farther than that, because it's the culmination of millennia of technological and mathematic advancements.

In fact, were it not for the autocratic theocracies of the Middle East during Islamic Golden Age of the 8th through 14th centuries, we wouldn't have the foundational mathematics of algebra and calculus needed to create computers and the internet.

In short: technology transcends governments.

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