Amy Goodman Moderates Conversation With WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange and Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Žižek

DemocracyNow.org’s Amy Goodman hosted the talk Saturday, July 1,2011

I did know something about WikiLeaks beforehand but I wasn’t really fully aware of what it really does in our society. I think it’s because I wasn’t really involved and that I thought that I have no reason to. It’s a lie to even say that we don’t have to participate in those kinds of things—the things that WikiLeaks do. However, we wouldn’t want to endanger our lives just because we want an outright effect on the matters out of our hands. Viewer discretion, as well as censorship, is part of ethics that WikiLeaks should consider. Yes, we are bound to know the real thing. We are bound to participate in reformations for the betterment of our damned society but the young mind isn’t ready to take in that violence that they could easily get from the media. Though, as young as we are now, we should be as open-minded as possible because conforming to the society’s dysfunctional system, there is no change at all. The relationship between the media and the government is the most crucial part of mending the dysfunctional system that we have today. They shape the written history of the real world. Be it real or the alternative reality—but of course we prefer the real reality because we want to know the truth and nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, the truth is that we are afraid to know the truth, especially when we know that it would hurt our ego—our pride in ourselves or on something that we care for and work hard to live for. We only want to hear what we want to hear, not considering others but ourselves. True, right? That’s on the personal level. However, on the state level, information dissemination is—should, I think is the better word to use—subject to abide by the ethics that the country protects. That’s what I think is the reason why every state has their own ‘classified stuff. They didn’t want the people to panic, to be irrational and to act before they think out of fear. But, it is not really good for a country to maximize secrecy because it will lead to people being hungry for the truth and do some kind of rally or people power or strike that can lead to the downfall of a state. I think they could have disseminated the information in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm the people—but then again, we don’t know how the people would still react to the situations—and give them bits of information that can be available whenever they want to know. But, out of ignorance, both the state and the individual people have not been able to see the reality much more often. Honestly, people would care not much about politics compared to musical TV shows like Glee or something. You know what, one thing I’ve learned in the talk was that information is important, it is critical; it is a matter of life and death. However, more importantly, it is important over time. What I mean is that most information is valid long-term. But, that information can lose importance after a while. What might be so important today might not be so important tomorrow. For example, a man was critical of cancer, he needed his medications at a certain hour. The nurse, probably new, wasn’t able to administer the medicine to him on time because of lack of information in his file because of the ignorance of some doctor. When the nurse reached the room, the man was already dead. Is it the nurse’s fault he died? Well of course not. It was the doctor who misinformed the nurse about the needs of that man. Using this example, I could say that the government was the doctor. The misinformed nurses are the citizens of the country and the sick man is the country’s problems. The government didn’t inform the people of what was really happening. As a result, the people went with their normal, everyday lives. At some point, the problem was already very critical and then the people were late to find that out—maybe from the media (like what the WikiLeaks have been doing) or the government itself. The people were hurt because the government wasn’t that reliable because of their quest for extravagant secrecies. That sucks biggie.

 

Before other things, I just wanted to share my experience watching a live broadcast for the first time. When I first heard that we’ll have to watch a live streaming, I was excited because I’ve never seen an international live broadcast—what more, a talk with the two “most dangerous” people in the world. I was skeptic at first because I didn’t think our professor would be so terror to require it to be part of the midterms because it wasn’t really discussed but yeah, it was a challenge. For the matter, I haven’t slept the day before the live streaming. Anyways, that day, I had a morning and a noon class. I had a very important training in the afternoon, and a paper to finish for my other subjects. I basically had no rest. Anyways, as I was waiting for the live broadcast, I can barely open my eyes. Yes, I’m too tired and very sleepy. 11pm came, more and more viewers flood to the site, making it lag. A few minutes have past; still, it said “please stand by”. I thought, “Hey, I think they also have the ‘Filipino’ time”. Ha-ha. Very interesting, at the same time, irritating. After some time, it already started. The voices were inaudible. The sounds were on a pattern. Sometimes it’s low, sometimes it’s very loud, most of the times, and it’s extremely loud or low. I can barely keep up with the conversation because I can’t understand what they were saying. The accent of Zizek was really hard to understand especially in the live streaming video that time. The British accent of Assange was also inaudible especially when he’s speaking too fast. I got really bored during the talk because it keeps on lagging also. However, how the both of them react to one another is kind of interesting and some are really funny. I like the accent of Zizek though. I didn’t actually made it to the end of the talk because I was really too tired. So anyway, I found out the next day that they have a replay. I watched it at the exact time because I got scared that if I don’t, it’s the end of life as I’ve known it. So basically, I got really mad. I decided not to watch it because I have to study the whole week because I’m jam packed with midterm exams and long quizzes. A week after the talk, I found out that they have the transcriptions of the video on the site. I decided to read it instead. Hmm, anyway, here it goes.

Now who is Julian Assange? He is the founder of WikiLeaks. I guess that’s why he’s being house arrested. He was allegedly the reason behind the encouragement of the whistleblowers like Bradley Manning. He is a threat to many nations who have deep dark secrets hidden among the words “classified”. He was even regarded as the “high-tech terrorist”. It’s amazing, his courage, he still does what he does even if the whole world wants to chase him because of the leak of classified information to the public.

Well, what do you know; information is regarded as the “power”. With enough information, you can do a lot. You can use it for good or for bad. It’s up to you. You can use it to suppress or uplift people’s spirits.

 

WikiLeaks is basically a site with which they put the classified items—probably those really confidential ones. On the side of the keepers, it was a really big threat for their classified to be boldly put up on the internet publicly—where everyone can see. I find it amusing—the whistleblowers—because they have such courage and determination to speak out under the threat of being imprisoned. They are the people who have high moral standards because they really want a change. So, they feel that the change must be sphere headed by someone. These are the kind of people who set a good example for everyone to follow despite of the threats. If we do it together, we are the majority. It really requires the cooperation of many.

Who is Slavoj Zizek? He is a Slovenian communist Philosopher. He is regarded as the most dangerous political philosopher in the West. And the New York Times regarded him as the Elvis of cultural theory. He has written a lot over 50 books about his expertise.

Slavoj+ Julian= hell on earth for the governments. They couldn’t even press charges to Assange because they have no right to. Instead, they are hunting the people connected to them in someway so they could interrogate them and force them to speak under sworn secrecy. There are others in prisons who are accused of being connected with WikiLeaks. They are on the process of unjustifiable torture which violates their human rights. One good example is Bradley Manning. He has the heart to stay strong even though they are torturing him. The government backfire that they are putting him under pressure conditions because they wanted him to speak.

The importance of WikiLeaks today, as I understand it, was that it was an ideology waiting to reform. We are undeniably feed with information. But, they do it in such a way that they only show that information on one angle that loses our attention because it’s not the full detail. Those information that just updates a few inconsistent details, forcing it to the viewers even if it’s not really the entire truth to what was really happening. No body really learned something new. We learn something from the media. Those scrappy media are the ones that alter the minds of the people. Although not exactly telling the real truth but not really lying either.

It doesn’t matter what you say, what matters is what you implied to say. It’s not the words that matter. It’s how you act/ react to the information that really matters.

They gave out a lot of examples on various topics at hand. What I like the most is when Lady Gaga was mentioned. How the heck did she get into the conversation? Ha-ha. Anyways, it was said that maybe we learned nothing new. It’s just that all that we’ve learned from the past wasn’t really taken in well.

Making an impact is very hard to achieve. All the more, if it’s not within the circle of common interests of the people, it would be that hard. How? Simply give them a scoop. Give them fresh details; give them more of the truth.

It’s funny how Zizek thought of Assange as an idiot first hand. He bites his words, finally. Information has to be concise and persist. There was this accuses from prominent people. A Sarah Palin insulted him by correcting his grammar. This hurts his ego. Power is in the high position. It does not mind responding. It does not do unnecessary movements, even for an instance.

In reaction to all this, I was extremely overwhelmed by the information that was laid out on their discussion but I did learn a lot. It did make me accountable for information about the realities of our own lives and the lives of the people around us. What really happen? He tells us that instead of being such a pessimist, we have to have an open mind about things. We cannot say that we are not aware. By now, we are already aware of the dangers under our feet. We are just too scared to admit it and respond instead by pretending to not know these things.

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