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Iraq introduces nightly internet curfew (netblocks.org)
155 points by Ahmed90 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 144 comments

Obviously this is wrong and tyrannical etc.

I can't help wondering though if this may have unexpected benefits for e.g.: sleep quality, civility in online discussions, exercise. It's hardly intended that way, but could end up being a net benefit for the well-being of citizens, particularly if it were implemented in a highly-developed country like the US.

Given that the curfew seems to be directly related to the large-scale protests where thousands are getting wounded and some killed, I wouldn't count on them having e.g. better sleep than before the curfew.

I think this is the most HN comment ever read.

And no, having an Internet curfew for preventing bloody protests won't improve the well-being of citizens.

Depends on whether it's successful in preventing bloody protests. Almost everything is better than war.

The best way to prevent protests is to stop doing things that your constituents want to protest.

If only! In America, there's a culture of 'fun protesting' where you wave signs about things you don't know about. Like your parents did in the 60's, but now just for a lark.

When we are talking about "best way" to do something, we probably imply a (rational or not quite) agent making decisions, not the government as a whole. A monarch is without a doubt such an agent. Does abdication[1] count as stopping doing things?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdication_of_Nicholas_II

So tyrannical oppression is ok because it stops the citizens from bringing attention to the tyrannical oppression through protests? That is absolutely not better; sometimes violence is required to spur change unfortunately

Some of the violence of past centuries brought us good parts of the current order, sure. But the relevant question is: are there any definite recent examples? Examples of violence turning a bad (sometimes really bad, I won't disagree!) peace into endless war are plentiful.

What about war and progressive social change

I'm thinking of different benefit - raising awareness of internet backbone being single point of failure for communication within any local community. Widespread mesh network technology would help with both fighting oppressive regimes and organising the crisis relief.

If I read this correctly, your post can be summarized as: "Disclaimer, people should have rights... yadda yadda yadda. But..... would it be so bad if they didn't have rights?"

I, for one, don't care at all about the positive externalities of taking away people's rights, nor do I see the merit in discussing them. It normalizes the taking away of rights when we discuss how great it could be when you aren't allowed access to information and freedom of movement.

Those kids might have nothing except go outside and assemble together...perhaps another instance of the law of unintended consequences?

This is already the case for those that are up in arms about these protests. People in Iraq aren't as fortunate as the west where every 5 year old has their own ipad for youtube or what have you.

The streets are still full of kids because no one can afford to give every child the latest smart phones.

Iraq isn’t Afghanistan, they might not be rich, but the country is in the upper middle income development band.

Citation needed.

Iraq is a war torn country. Minus the big cities like Baghdad and Erbil, most of the people don't have a lot.

When you're talking about the Internet, the US is far from a highly-developed country.

Can you elaborate?

Lack of competition, poor customer service, high prices, regulatory capture, lobbying preventing cities and municipalities developing their own service, price fixing, ISPs that take lump sums and tax rebates from the government for "infrastructure development and expansion" that don't materialise, lack of net neutrality, ... ?

Are we talking about Technology or Politics? As far as technology goes, it's not actually far from a 'highly-developed' country, right? Gigabit in some places (and growing), really decent broadband in others. Free wifi is ubiquitous, cellular technology is also really decent in places like the frontier states - Eastern Oregon, Montana, etc. Not to mention lots of actual technical hardware and software development happens in the US like Loon[1] and Starlink[2]. On the software side stuff like HTTP/2[3], AMP(for better or worse)[4], Chrome, Firefox, etc. originated in the US, didn't it? I'd argue the US is the most 'highly-developed' country for Internet technology, but I'm biased since I am from the US.

If you're just complaining about politics, I won't argue.

1: https://x.company/projects/loon/ 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellat... 3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP/2 4: https://developers.google.com/amp

Do they follow with a regular curfew as well?

The martial law introduced in Poland from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983 resulted in an unmatched birth rate increase. The 82-84 generation was big, with all the future consequences even after the fall of communism in 1989: overpopulation in schools, difficult job market, but many friends on the playgrounds. The generation of 88 and later didn't have these issues. But had others ;)

Thanks to Poland's quick economic development and rise in life quality & capacity, the 82-84 generation didn't create another baby boom, as their births were spread out over a 10 year period. Some had children at 25, some at 35. This, coupled with the 90-94 generation not willing to have kids early, of course led to an overall drop in fertility, which the current government is trying to fix by throwing money at it. The situation didn't get worse, but fertility didn't get much better either. Most don't want to have 3 or more kids these days. And that's what we need if we want to make more kids than the economic immigrants and the third world countries, so we can keep our retirement and workforce afloat. Or we put it on the shoulders of these immigrants. But then in a few decades the current western culture will be replaced with a new one. I'm not saying it's good or bad. But it's healthy to understand the possible futures. I know which one I like more, and hopefully will work towards it.

Boy did I go off-topic...

What's the impact in Iraq for businesses (big and small) relying on the Internet?

The impact is huge, I'm a software engineer in an app-based company the interaction dropped like 80% or something

"It is believed that Iraq has introduced formal curfew times after push-back from industry, which has incurred costs spiralling into the hundreds of millions as a direct result of the internet disruptions, estimated using figures from the COST tool."

This curfew is a scaling back of previous heavier restrictions.

This is the straw that would have me rioting in this streets.

This shutdown seems to be the consequence of rioting.

If you don't want people to riot, free internet during rioting hours sounds like a very effective distraction.

Ironically, it sounds like the internet was cut because of rioting in the streets.

Looks like a vicious circle

Nothing like stopping a fire with more gasoline

After work too, perfect timing



>At least 110 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded in Baghdad and in the south, since security forces started cracking down on demonstrators.

And the whole world is "outraged" about HK. Here on this thread the other posters are making jokes.

If they killed every single person in the country no one would give a shit. Same way no one gives a shit about Yemen.

It's the same everywhere: Attacks on Saudi oil refineries got world-wide attention and mention by world leaders, even tho not a single person died.

While around that same time, the US accidentally droned 30+ Afghani farmers [0]. The international response to that? It doesn't exist to this day.

[0] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-attack-drones...

I think that is mostly due to the fact it could kick off a major war.

Same thing is happening in Gaza where over 200 civilians have been killed in the March of Return demonstrations over the last year. Our Western media reporting is insanely narrow and single-minded. One can only hope that, since we are outraged about the HK situation (as we should be!), it follows that we should be outraged about other worse situations too.

The important thing to note here about the March of Return "demonstrations" is that is was not entirely peaceful.

From Wikipedia:

> Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, admitted in an interview to Al Jazeera "when we talk about 'peaceful resistance', we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support."

So you basically had a bunch of militants using civilians as cover. They were throwing Molotov cocktails and using kites with incindiary devices.

This is consistent with the typical strategy of "setup missile launchers in hospitals and schools so that when Israel fires back they look like the bad guys for blowing up hospitals and schools", literally using civilians as human shields.

To compare this with the Hong Kong protests is absurd and intellectually dishonest.

In eastern political systems such as China and Russia, the prevailing sentiment among the masses is cynicism. In democratic systems it is hypocrisy. Pick your poison.

The one where you have the means of living together with self-determination.

Would self determination not be reflected by approval of one's government? Presumably one is going to have a sense of greater self determination and government satisfaction if they feel that their government is pursuing their interests, and vice versa otherwise.

Harvard carried out a study involving a survey polling people across 30 different nations on a variety of different topics. [1] This includes (among various other more detailed categories) peoples' awareness of various world leaders, their self determined attention rate to news involving various leaders, and their general rating of those leaders. It reveals quite a lot of really interesting and surprising results. For instance about 88% of Americans do not know who Modi is, 85% of Saudis do not know who Putin is, but coming out on top is Israel which sports a less than 5% awareness of Modi. A number of the results really reveal how much of a bubble we all live in.

But the reason it's relevant is because it gives some third party measurement of how people within various countries view their country's leaders. As with all big data like this, people can prove anything they want - so I'm going to avoid giving any more specific numbers other than the neutral ones from above. Okay one more fun one, Tanzania just friggin loves everybody!

[1] - https://www.hks.harvard.edu/publications/reflections-survey-...

How do you define and measure self-determination? What level of aggregation does it apply at?

Never happened, never will happen. You have thousands of gallons of e-ink spilled over police brutality in HK, a few drops on Iraq, and humm-hawws and 'well, they are all terrorists anyways' on Gaza.

Otherwise intelligent people are incapable of understanding that their outrage is being directed to serve geo-political ends. Antagonising China is patriotic. Antagonising Israel serves no end, and is, also of course, anti-Semitic.

The truly ironic bit is when presented with the idea that many mainlanders may be more supportive of their government than of HK, they dismiss it as brainwashing, compelled speech, or just flat out propaganda. As if we arrive to the contradictory conclusions we hold independently, and from first principles, without any steering...

> Otherwise intelligent people are incapable of understanding that their outrage is being directed to serve geo-political ends.

"Direction" implies that there was a coordinated decision to inflate the importance of the Hong Kong protests by sending more journalists there to produce more articles. But Hong Kong was already an internationally important city with many journalists. Of course they were going to report on protests happening right under their nose.

For example, when the German broadsheet Die Zeit published an article on the protests, it was by the same journalist as always when there's something to report in Hong Kong. When they sent a team into Yemen, they weren't allowed into the country, operated from Djibouti and used a Yemeni reporter as a proxy to allow them to do interviews via video call; of course using a translator because there wasn't enough forewarning to learn a language for this assignment.

The difference in reporting difficulty explains the difference in reporting frequency.

If the media really wanted to patriotically antagonize China, they could have devoted similar attention to incidents in places like Nanjing, Zhuhai or Wuhan, but I only saw Wuhan make it into English-language media; that played out as usual when something happens where no (English-speaking) journalist is there to report on it.

>"Direction" implies that there was a coordinated decision to inflate the importance of the Hong Kong protests by sending more journalists there to produce more articles. But Hong Kong was already an internationally important city with many journalists. Of course they were going to report on protests happening right under their nose.

You don't need to send more journalists to a place to have more coverage of it.

You need to promote the articles journalists write to front-page headlines. You need to have talking heads who have never left the telestudio talk about the issue.

Sure, you have to deal with the constraints imposed on you by local authorities. Israel for some odd reason isn't super-keen on letting journalists into the Gaza strip, either. But that, itself, is part of the story.

There's a trade war going on, and China has never been in the Western sphere, and antagonizing it is popular and easy, and currently very patriotic, because they are also stealing all our jobs.

Antagonizing Israel is not patriotic, and it's a 'Western' nation, and it's not stealing our jobs, and also you will be in the company of a bunch of truly despicable anti-semites, and the people repressed there are definitely 'non-Western'.

The media cultivates this particular branch of selective empathy, in a way that just happens to coincide with geo-political leanings of our governments. And we eat it up, wholesale, without even a shred of self-awareness.

At this point, if a person doesn't read Al Jazeera regularly, I can't take that person's opinions on global politics very seriously.

It's not that Al Jazeera isn't biased, or even that it's less biased, it's just that it provides a viewpoint which is so obviously missing from western news sources, and if you're not making an attempt to expose yourself to that viewpoint, you are only hearing one side of quite a wide variety of global political issues.

I agree with this, as someone who rolls his eyes at the vast majority of what Al Jazeera publishes. I have a similar attitude with RT and Fox News and Breitbart; I may strongly disagree with a lot of their conclusions, but I do recognize the importance of understanding the thought processes underpinning those conclusions.

When you expose yourself to different news sources it also makes clear who is engaging in propaganda. It's only by comparing the information provided by various nations that one can clearly see who is manipulating the available information to push an agenda.

One extremely contemporary example of this is Hong Kong. In trying to find out what was going on, I was searching for videos of the police shootings. This [1] is the US cut of the first shooting. This [2] is footage of the exact same incident from ChannelNewsAsia, a Singapore news company. No need for commentary beyond that since I think the extreme difference between the videos, and the message they try to convey, speak for themselves.

I'd never heard of CNA before that. Seems to be quite a solid source of information [3]. Though I expect it may only a matter of time before that honeymoon fades. It wasn't long ago that I also used to think the same of Reuters.

[1] - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-anniversary-hongkon...

[2] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN4MvOrPotk

[3] - https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/international

Wow, yeah. The difference in impressions created between the two links is huge.

What is your interpretation of the Reuters cut?

This is the text from that article:

"Police confirmed that an officer opened fire at a protester, saying he was acting in self-defense. “A large group of rioters was attacking police officers in Tsuen Wan,” police said in a statement. “Police officers warned them, but they were still attacking police. A police officer’s life was seriously endangered. In order to save his and other officers’ lives, they fired at the attacker.” One clip posted on social media and verified by Reuters shows the protester, an as yet unnamed 18-year-old man, swing a baton at a policeman, brushing his right arm."

The article and video are designed to imply that the Chinese are claiming that the the officer who fired at the protester is the one who's life was in danger -- that brushing the officer's arm was placing his life in danger. Somebody only consuming that media would have no idea that in the middle of the group of protesters was a police officer who the protesters continued to beat, potentially to death. Note as the crowd disperses to the point that the beaten police officer laying on the ground would become visible, the video immediately cuts to a new frame - repeatedly.

This deception is made even more gratuitous by the inclusion of the police spokesperson's response. Without being able to understand the context of what was happening in that video, which is not provided, the spokesperson's comments sound completely absurd and basically like he's just overtly lying to justify shooting a protester. That in effect makes people think the officer's statement is simply propaganda. Somewhat ironic.

I think the whole propaganda war is idiotic. Let people see what's happening on both sides with complete context and judge for themselves. Real life is not full of Hollywood heroes and villains, it's invariably a million shades of gray. Debate and discussion these issues is healthy and productive for everybody. Most ironically, I suspect people would ultimately come to the same conclusion even with honest context. So why lie?

> I think the whole propaganda war is idiotic. Let people see what's happening on both sides with complete context and judge for themselves. Real life is not full of Hollywood heroes and villains, it's invariably a million shades of gray. Debate and discussion these issues is healthy and productive for everybody. Most ironically, I suspect people would ultimately come to the same conclusion even with honest context. So why lie?

Well, which conclusion do you think they would come to?

In general, I agree with you that the media should strive to give an accurate impression of the truth and let the public form their own opinion. But this is a really gut-wrenching position to take sometimes, because the it's so clear that public opinion isn't capable of nuances like supporting a cause without supporting all the tactics of its supporters. Just as life is not full of Hollywood heroes and villains, it doesn't have Hollywood endings either. The good guys don't always win, and often the good guys don't win because the bad guys are willing to lie, and ambguity makes the good guys indecisive.

You’ve just convinced at least one person to add Al Jazeera to his primary news sources.

I'm glad!

The need to get my news from international sources became apparent to me after hearing two radio reports on the same story. The local US radio said something along the lines of "Two Palestinians are dead after they attacked Israeli police." The BBC story said something like, "Israeli police shot and killed two Palestinian youths after the youths threw stones at the police." That's not even an openly pro-Palestinian organization, it's the BBC. There's still bias[1], but it's clear that the bias is in a different direction.

[1] I've been told by a 5-lingual friend that "throwing stones" is often a translation of a Hebrew/Arabic word (directly, "stoning") that sometimes includes behaviors like "dropping a refrigerator off the top of a building onto your target"--certainly a lot less innocuous than "throwing stones". I'm not saying that's what happened--I don't know--I'm just saying to be wary of assuming that any amount of secondhand reporting gives you an accurate impression of what's happening on the ground.

> the whole world > no one gives a shit

You should speak for yourself. There are people who care but that does not make a difference unfortunately (yet or maybe never).

As well you shouldn't speak in absolutes IMHO.

People that do care realise that "no one gives a shit" is a frustrated way of saying "too few care enough for it to matter in the larger scheme of things".

He isn't speaking in absolutes - you are interpreting it in absolutes. "whole world" and "noone gives a shit" are not absolute terms in common speak.

> Same way no one gives a shit about Yemen.

There is an undeniable discrepancy on how we receive and perceive information about individual subjects; Where our attention is directed, and from where it's deviated - what I'm surprised about is how this persists despite a medium like the Internet.

It persists because of the Internet, and the tendency of humans to cluster at the popular spots. News gets increasingly centralised. There is now almost a single "us", with a single focus of news cycle attention at any one time.

Oh, and the propaganda industry.

It persists because massive resources are spent on manipulating the public’s attention. Regardless of the medium.

Remember that Kashmir is still under 24h curfew, with no Internet / International calls since 5th August.

Remember that Pakistan is still an Islamic republic and recently blocked a bill that will allow non Muslims to become PM or President.


The world did not care.

> Remember that Pakistan is still an Islamic republic and recently blocked a bill that will allow non Muslims to become PM or President.

> https://www.news18.com/news/world/pak-parliament-blocks-chri....

> The world did not care.

I don't really see the equivalence between India and Pakistan's actions. Also, I'm not up-to-date on Indian politics, but how many non-Hindu leaders have been elected to top positions?

Indian Prime-Ministership was held by Dr.Manmohan Singh (a Sikh) between 2004-14, which has been the longest tenure in recent times. The President's position is mostly ceremonial, but by far the most popular occupant has been Dr.Abdul Kalam, a Muslim scientist.

It's true though that Hinduism is far stronger today as a political force than it has ever been. And just as everywhere else, mixing religion with politics is not a good idea.

Of course no equivalence at all. Pakistan has been engaging in a genocide of its minorities over 70 years.


> Before the partition of India, what is now Pakistan was a much more diverse place but tolerance has declined as society has become increasingly Islamicised and more homogenous. Minorities used to make up 15% of the population in these cities. Now they account for less than 4%.

Yes, both things are bad and should be reported.

So the guy I was replying to was not engaging in Whataboutism?

I felt you were. While your point is not unimportant, it stands separate to the original one.

Please read your own link and understand it.


While those numbers are obviously competely unacceptable by any measure whatsoever, the fact that 9 of the dead are security forces should show that the entire situation is also simply _much_ more hardcore all around, compared to HK.

Also not exactly Gaza-level lopsided...

I have hundreds of products in my house that say "Made in Hong Kong".

I don't have a single product in my house that says "Made in Iraq".

It's not strange that North America doesn't care much about Iraqi plight, as we have next to no relationship with them or their people.

Same as we all cannot afford to cry over every single other person's mother and father passing away, but we cry over our own parents passing.

>occupy a sovereign country for 12 years

>Continue to keep soldiers there

>no relationship

flyGuyOnTheSly, I...

Feeling sympathy based on economic importance seems bizarre. The economic impact of the HK protests on North America will be fairly minimal. The only reason to feel sympathy, then, is that governments are attacking their own people. That isn’t a reason to ignore Iraq.

Also it’s amusing that you’ve managed to elide the not insubstantial relationship of having started a war that killed at least a hundred thousand Iraqis and in all probability many more.

>Also it’s amusing that you’ve managed to elide the not insubstantial relationship of having started a war that killed at least a hundred thousand Iraqis and in all probability many more.

My government sending a few thousand troops over to Iraq decades ago does not bring me any closer to the people of Iraq.

If anything, it distances me from them.

I don't know anybody who served in Iraq.

I was always disgusted with Canada's involvement in the whole mess.

There are 10x as many People from Hong Kong living in Canada [0] as there are Iraqis [1].

So by that metric, Canadians in general should care approximately 10x as much about news from Hong Kong vs news from Iraq and I would say that's pretty accurate from what I have seen recently.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Canadians

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Canadians

There are a lot more things at play.

Hong Kong is ideologically closer to American's values, and so having China take it over can be seen as a form of indirect threat. It also plays into the whole trade war going on at the moment. Financially, American companies have more ties with Hong Kong than Iraq. ...

People are also influenced by what the media gives them to think about this week.

Your people invaded Iraq just 15 years ago. No matter what you say, I believe you have a rather large obligation when it comes to Iraq. It is easy to forget history, right?

I am a polish immigrant living in Canada. "My people" didn't do anything to Iraq.

FWIW, Polish army did help the US in Iraq, in the vain hope that if we kiss the US ass hard enough, we'll get visa requirements for Polish people removed...

> It's not strange that North America doesn't care much about Iraqi plight, as we have next to no relationship with them or their people.

> I am Canadian.

> I am a polish immigrant living in Canada.

you're North American, Canadian then you're Polish. just pick one. in the first example, you were speaking as if you're an American and others are right to point out that America does have some responsibilities regarding Iraq given the recent history. Canada was involved too.

North American != American.

For that matter, many in Central and South America take exception to the term "American" being applied to USA citizens. So the term "American" can in some contexts be ambiguous. However "North American" is unambiguously referring to residents of any country in North America. It's wholly reasonable for somebody living in Canada to speak of living in North America. Arguably Canadians and Alaskans have more of a right to the term than anybody else!

well, you did invade them. Overthrew their government. but sure, other than that, next to no connection.

>well, you did invade them. Overthrew their government.

A one-person invasion? And he even succeeded at overthrowing a government all by his lonesome self? That's impressive.

This mild sarcasm I used above is to draw attention to the ludicrous idea that any citizen, anywhere, is responsible for the actions of their government.

Hee and haw about how we citizens brought whoever to power. I don't care. Until the day that government corruption ends and elections become fair, the governments' actions are not my own.

Call me when that day occurs.

P.S. here's a bit from the comic Doug Stanhope that hits a similar topic. [1]

"‘Oh, was that us?’ Was that me and you, Tommy? We saved the French? Jesus. I know I blacked out a little after that fourth shot of Jägermeister last night, but I don’t remember… "


He’s like Liam Neeson. He has skills. Very specific skills.

I am a Polish immigrant to Canada.

Canada very reluctantly helped the US with their air raid campaign over Afghanistan, but as far as I am aware we didn't have much say in Iraq.

And either way, I fail to see how that translates to having a closer relationship with their people.

If anything, it distances them from our psyche.

Obviously the invasion of Iraq was the wrong thing to do. I am not arguing that it was right in any way whatsoever.

Canada is part of FiveEyes, thus aid was offered [0] and very likely taken.

The lack of Canadian large scale military participation was due to practicality and not moral objections to the invasion [1]:

"The weakness of the Canadian military had been a factor in its very limited role in the 1991 Gulf War. While the military had been asked about the feasibility of sending 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (4 CMBG) from Germany to the Gulf to participate in direct combat operations, the Canadian Forces were forced to report that Operation "Broadsword", a theoretical deployment, would likely be a failure."

[0] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/weston-canada-offered-to-ai...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Iraq_War

Again, I was not in the military in the early 90s.

I have no connection to Iraq personally.

I do not collectively harbor guilt and constantly stress about the horrible things that the country I choose to reside in has done in their past.

I have Hong Kong products in my house, and I interact with people who were born in Hong Kong all the time.

The same cannot be said for Iraqi products or people.

That is the point I am trying to make.

As a German, I consider that a very weird stance to have.

I try to keep up with the military involvement of my country, I'd guess other people in other countries would do the same.

Tho I guess in contrast to you I actually get to interact with a whole bunch of Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, and other nationalities out of the MENA region.

People out of HK are a rather non-existing sight at the local refugee reception center.

The responsibilties and attachments of a superorganism like a society differ too much from that of an individual's. It is so easy to let communcation break down when people discuss both of those things at the same time.

What’s made in Hong Kong? iPhones and electronics? I feel like most of the stuff in my house that has a “made in X” tag says something like China, Bangladesh, or Taiwan.

I own a lot of old video game systems that were made in Hong Kong, for example.

The invasion did have a lot to do with shaping the oil market to the US liking, so if you're a western consumer of petroleum industry - which you are - then perhaps you might find some connection with the plight of Iraqi people after all.

Lol pretending like Harper wasn't at the front of the pack right next to Blair hopping on the coalition of the willing

This comment breaks the site guidelines by being flamebait, by being snarky, by being unsubstantive, and probably other things too. Would you please not post like this to this site? We're trying for something a bit better than tedious internet ragewars, which is what posting like this leads to.

Your underlying point can of course be expressed substantively and I'm sure you can do that if you want to.


Sure, I'll give it a shot. Since the post has been flagged I'd imagine no one's gonna read it, but what the hell.

Since the day I first found Hacker News, some years before I created my account, this site and it's comment section has always been on my daily reading list. I'm a very infrequent poster, but have since then read hundreds of comments, pretty much every single day. I guess my personality leans towards trying to understand rather than be understood.

I don't really have any connection to the Silicon Valley, but from the moment I first laid eyes on this site, it felt like an invaluable resource of insight on a huge variety of issues, not just tech.

Sadly, these days I mostly just hate-read it.

On geopolitical issues, there's almost zero understanding from the commentariat, and if there is any, to make matters worse, a lot of the time you have to squint your eyes to even read it. There's a huge part of the written english webosphere, dedicated to discussing and analysing this, the most important subject of them all, <i>war and peace and prosperity</i>, from a completely different viewpoint, but you'd never know by just reading HN. Luckily you can go elsewhere, and I suspect a sizable number of past commenters have, in frustration, done so.

Here, all you get is the same tired neoliberal corporate media viewpoint. Constant denigration of the long, long, list of the enemies of the American political blob. The glittering valley’s technocrats opinions are indistinguishable from those of the shining city upon a hill.

In this dojo, the opposing voice is almost nowhere to be found, always shut down with cries of robots and unfair comparing.

Russian, Chinese, Syrian, Iranian, Venzuelean viewpoints? Forget it. All these countries have news and opinion sites in english, but never to be linked on HN. Getting those opposing perspectives is not for the HN denizen, unless it has first been approved for reading by the NY Times. HN comments have not yet reached the complete unbearable insufferableness of r/worldpolitics, but to me it seems like just a matter of time.

Sorry, but it just really grinds my gears to read someone casually say that the North American people have no connection to the Iraqi people. The US “embassy” in Baghdad is larger than the Vatican. Like all these endless wars, bombings and sanctions against the Middle East is just a minor matter. At worst a small mistake, that in the grand scheme of things is of little importance.


The consequences of the West's relentless and cruel war of destruction and chaos against the core of the African and Eurasian landmass will be the defining cause of most of the problems the United States, Isreal, Saudi Arabia and Europe will face the rest of this century. A thousand years from now, all history books dealing with the early 21th century will have The Invasion of Iraq as the focal point, with most everything else a mere footnote.

The United States has tried over and over to prevent any even bigger and stronger entities to form on it's opposing, much larger landmass. It has decisively failed, inevitably so.

In the 2020’s, whether it wants to or not, America and it’s shrinking list of vassals will have to come to terms with what roles they can have in this new world order, our shared future of mankind. If these formerly dominant parts of the world can not imagine a role for themselves that is appropriate, the rest of the world will choose for us.

>> If they killed every single person in the country no one would give a shit. Same way no one gives a shit about Yemen.

What's your point exactly?

Is it that human nature is broken, and that we should try to compensate for it [by trying to force ourselves to care more] ?

(Because I wonder how many atrocities there are in the world, and how that scales if every internet stranger needs to be angry about every atrocity or else...)

We should address the atrocities we are responsible for and try not to repeat them before getting outraged over the acts of others.

It has not really anything to do with human nature, its the power structures in the west that have vested interests to shape the mainstream narrative. Some atrocities are getting coverage, its not at all arbitrary which ones. Its more a sign of how incredibly effective they've become in pacifying the entire population in the west through media and politics, institutional corruption, sham elections, etc. Western democracy is beyond broken, will never get fixed and things will only get worse. But I agree with the majority of people who can still form coherent thoughts in their minds, much easier to just stick the head in the sand and deny that what I'm stating is demonstrably true.

If the West is bad at reporting, is it better elsewhere, maybe in China or maybe in Russia, even India? Or is it that almost everyone is like that?

Are people in Santa Barbara bad because they don’t keep up with things in Sparks NV too much?

Exactly, as long as it doesn't manifest itself in exactly the same manner as north koreas dictatorship, everything is fine. sticking head back in the sand

>Is it that human nature is broken, and that we should try to compensate for it

No, that if we should be aware, we should be aware for all injustices, not just follow the ones we are force-fed by hypocritical self-serving interests (e.g. our country's diplomacy and subservient media preferring this victim over that, or getting outraged at this player over that - because it suits some diplomatic plans).

Especially when they atrocities they point people to look at are much more minor than others they purposefully ignore...

In general, getting one's own opinion, as opposed following the government/media agendas of enemies and victim's du jour, and knowing when they're manipulated, is a good thing...

should see through crocodile tears hypocritic concern, and that we should be aware of all injustices

>> not just follow the ones we are force-fed by hypocritical self-serving interests

Nobody is force-feeding anybody. TV news is dead, the newspaper is dead. People read the news they find interesting.

If you really think the reason people prefer read US-weekly to civil wars in foreign countries is because "The Man" then you're in for a rude awakening.

>Nobody is force-feeding anybody. TV news is dead, the newspaper is dead. People read the news they find interesting.

Newspapers and periodicals still set the tone at higher echelons, richer/older/more socially standing demographics, politicians, journalists, academics, and so on. Whether in print form or web format doesn't matter much.

And TV still has a stronghold in most families. Even with the internet, people watch more TV now than they did in the 70s and 80s ( https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/when-... ) -- and it's not all Game Of Thrones and the like.

But the point is rather moot, as the force feeding doesn't need to happen through newspapers/TV. The web, and even social media, would do just as good.

The main thing is to have the same narrative fed 24/7, with small diversions (e.g. everybody agreeing that X is the enemy du jour, but disagree on being hawks or doves against it. For even more fun, usually the "doves" don't promote a much softer touch that the hawks, just disagree on the details and subtlety).

>If you really think the reason people prefer read US-weekly to civil wars in foreign countries is because "The Man" then you're in for a rude awakening.

Not sure what the above means.

But people don't even care about civil wars in foreign countries, until their government decides to be involved, and to the degree that it reflects one or another partisan view.

There are tons of civil wars and atrocities Americans don't know and don't care enough to learn about. They just take a second hand opinion on the ones they are told, from one of the opinions on offer -- if there wasn't one, they'd be blissfully discussing some actor's divorce, The Joker or whatever the media bring up next.

World affair savvy, the public, is not. Heck, most couldn't even name the name of the Vice President, or their Senator, but they can still manage to mumble that "X" (enemy du jour) is bad, because this or that news item caught their eye, it's what's talked about in editorials, and social media viral stories, and so on.

You yourself neglect to acknowledge there's also civil war kicking off in Ecuador right now.

People outside conflict areas only start to give a shit when it affects something they care about personally.

How did they neglect to acknowledge? They did not mention it in their examples, but framing that as non-acknowledgment seems quite wrong. There’s a lot of terrible shit happening across the globe. One cannot reasonably expect every instance of that to be exhaustively mentioned every time a person mentions a couple of examples.

I’m pretty naive to the Middle East, but the primary reason people are protesting is lack of economic opportunity (Iraq specifically), right? Is that someone’s fault? Can it actually be changed?

I don’t want people to be killed for protesting, but I don’t know if I care if that protest is successful or not. I’m open to ideas why I should.

It sounds like a bunch of people are protesting that their country and has few useful economic outputs, and that sucks, but I’m not sure what can be done about that.

The United States rolled in and installed a brutal kleptocratic state after starving the country through sanctions in the decade previous.

I guess that enterprising freedom loving American ideology didn't take. Oh well what can you do /s

I mean I’m sure American influence has been a clusterf*

But I guess what I’m trying to say is I can clearly explain why I want the Hong Kong protests to be successful. I don’t think I can do the same for Iraq

Protesters are burning Iranian flags.

And I think I understand that’s because they’ve elected an Iranian favoring government which they believe is causing limited economic opportunities- or perhaps anger at the government due to its violent response to generic economic protests.

My question is, why should I care if the protests are successful or not? It’s a separate idea from wanting protestors to receive humane treatment from the government.

I suspect that the increased Hong Kong coverage might have at least partially driven by heightened interest in the UK (ex UK colony) pushing interest in the anglosphere.

Mandatory Iraq was a thing, though ties are closer with Hong Kong.

Most people don't give a shit in the case of Iraq and Yemen because they consider both sides to be equally as bad.

I don't see how you consider people protesting against "corruption, unemployment and poor public services" to be bad.

Because when the groups leading the protests were in power they were just corrupt, social conditions were just as bad and they were as brutal and tyrannical as those now in power.

The group leading the protest? wtf? there is no group leading the protest and the current government and all the political parties involved have been in power since the US gave it to them in 2003, and before that was Saddam for 30 years and as far as I know no one else was in power and Saddam is long dead...

Please stop making ignorant statements about my country... kthxbai

> Because when the groups leading the protests were in power they were just corrupt, social conditions were just as bad and they were as brutal and tyrannical as those now in power.

Was this before or after the west decided to parcel up middle eastern land based on whims?

Who's leading the protest? My understanding was that it is leaderless.


These are the same Iraqi protesters that are burning Iranian flags. Clearly US has already put pressure on Iran backing current Baghdad government. I wonder if they'll also start pressuring Baghdad itself after this violence. Article says State department is expressing concerns but that's it.

It’s a conflict zone like east Ukraine/Crimea. Hundreds (thousands?) died, but it’s a conflict zone. People have different expectations about that. Especially when the protests were peaceful for months and years...

It's not actually a conflict zone.

Crimea might not have been much of a conflict zone but Eastern Ukraine was.

Sectarian violence isn’t a conflict zone? Northern Ireland wasn’t a conflict zone?

I’d say a conflict zone is an area of at least semi-active clashes. Sectarian violence may or may not cut it - were Nazi concentration camps conflict zones?

I’m not saying it’s safe or anything, but Baghdad was spared ISIS, the former green zone is open to the public, compared to what most of the rest of the country has seen these past few years I fail to see how you’d classify it as a conflict zone.

It's a billionaire controlled media empire. You want them to suddenly care about something other than money? I think you chose the wrong media to follow.


Isn't it logical (or at least understandable) to care more about the people who share the same cultural values and historical bagage than about other cultures which are harder to understand and relate to? Why should people care equally much about every single culture on earth, regardless of how much it relates to their own situation and life?

On an individual level that might be understandable, but on a larger scale, you end up excluding large groups and declaring them effectively less valuable, second class people.

Ultimately, wherever people are born, wherever they live, they are still people. They're not much different from us, they're just living in different circumstances. We could have been born there. Some sympathy is absolutely justified.

The problem that us Chinese see is the level of hypocrisy at play here. The narrative on the entire HK suppose is in the name of freedom and evil of China and thus democracy must be the solution. Iraq has been "liberated" with democracy and yet the outcry is not an issue. I make no judgment on the merits of democracy, but if the West continues to play the propaganda narrative behind a fear of threat it is hard to justify the reasoning thrown around.

The West does not act and think in a collective, we are used to opposing views and have zero issue with publicly decrying the actions of our very own governments and removing those from power. The Western people do not act and think in lock step with their respective governments. The issues that individuals and groups of people in the West value can be VERY different from our governments national security interests and also VERY different from even our own neighbors.

I do judge the Chinese government and their self proclaimed leader. I feel bad for the billion people of China who are unable to have free and open public discourse about their own governments actions, to hold and remove those in power peacefully and to be unable to find some sort of representation.

I think HK should continue its protests so that every individual and voice in the "West" can focus and view the shameful acts of the Chinese government.

It's also hard to miss for most people outside the US because a whole lot of them are still very directly affected by the consequences of this whole "crusade on terror" [0] going on to this day.

In that context, there is quite some massive cynicism at play when the US celebrates itself for denying Chinese officials visa over the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, when the US also refused visa to ICC officials wanting to investigate the treatment of Muslims in "NATO occupied" Afghanistan [1].

Particularly in the context that the US was quite on-board with the "Uighur Jihadis!" narrative not too long ago [2].

[0] https://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0919/p12s2-woeu.html

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/15/mike-pompeo-...

[2] https://www.voanews.com/extremism-watch/analysts-uighur-jiha...

You make it sound as if this line of thought only happened in the world outside. But it’s evident internally where I guess it matters, not caring about your own neighbor is leading to this very violence you speak against.

You’re saying world does not care. Let’s suppose that’s true. However, locals aren’t caring and are shooting each other. Who is worse in that scale, the outsider or the very locals are obviously are very uncaring about each other?

What's so odd about us only caring about our own (westerners)?

It’s unwinnable. You go in and take sides, it’s interference, imperialism (you’re doing it for the oil). You stay out and let them work it out then it’s craven indifference.

I mean Iran, Russia and Saudi are all over there. They don’t need another entity adding their two cents.

It’s like AOC, let’s get out of Syria. We leave Syria —how can you leave Syria they’ve been our allies, etc.

In that part, or any part of the world people only become you allies in war when there’s something in it for them. They’re not doing so as a favor. Just like us. When we went into WWII it wasn’t a favor. We knew that not going in would be worse for us.

> It’s unwinnable. You go in and take sides, it’s interference, imperialism (you’re doing it for the oil). You stay out and let them work it out then it’s craven indifference.

But it is winnable. What people want is for you to for once just go in for the actual ethical reasons, fight for the actual rights, secure the freedoms, stop the injustices. Not go to a country to secure oil under bullshit pretext of WMDs and terrorism, only to destroy a nation and create a terrorist state next to it, and only then leave it to fend for itself.

(I think everyone would think better of the US if the government said, "you know what, oil is really fucking important for prosperity of our citizens, and we're willing to kill people to secure it". It still wouldn't be ethical, but at least it would be honest.)

People worldwide are not (just) unhappy that the US plays world police. They're unhappy that the US proclaims to be the world police, but is in fact a world gangster.

And yet as the US disengages people are saying on my god, we’re abandoning allies, we’re letting them fend for themselves. The alliances are going up in smoke. The world depends on you guys to keep the peace, send troops and quash problems. Now we’re going to have fight ourselves and send our troops in, you guys are bad!

Again, the point is: if you engage for wrong reasons (or lie about reasons), then mess up and disengage, people have a point in complaining. What's being asked is: don't engange in the first place, if you must start shooting somewhere then do it for the right reasons, and if you absolutely must do something for the wrong reasons, at least be up front about it and clean up your mess afterwards.

Can’t disagree with you there. Blame Busch and Obama and their SimCity approach to geopolitics. That said, things are thorny and messy there and they have to be resolved locally, though if international pressure helps that’d be good. Yet, the chasm is too big right now. They’re gonna have to get tired of war themselves as other places have. Saddam’s peace was a forced peace. International peace would be in similar vein.

at least when you care only because of your own interests, you lose the moral high ground.


Is it? Humans are tribalistic. Family, town, sports team, etc. The further out you go, the less typical people associate "them" as "us." I'm not sure that it is non-westerner's race nor skin color as much as distance, culture, and lack of media exposure. Doesn't make it right, but I'm not sure it is racist.

Sure, it's trivially easy to slip into tribalistic behaviour. That doesn't make it right, decent or defensible. We should aspire to be better than our unchecked nature; not use it to excuse our failings.

Violent crackdowns on protests are par for the course in the middle east. Since the fall of the USSR (and all its puppets) 30yr ago they are not par for the course for nations as developed as China. The fact of the matter is that when China does it it's more newsworthy than when Iraq does it.

There hasn't been a military/violent crackdown in Hong Kong.

> security forces

This legitimizes the current puppet-government installed by foreigners.

I think a more appropriate term would be US-backed Junta forces.

Of course, some of us were saying this almost 20 years ago now: Don't invade Iraq, you'll destabilize the entire region.

I'm a one-issue voter: No foreign wars, period. Some of us do care about the well being of others, but it's impossible to have this kind of discussion because people are selfish. Everyone wants to talk about Climate Change, Socialized Health Care, etc, etc. Most people don't actually care about others, and it's why I want to slap anyone that discusses climate change. We have much bigger problems that we need to solve right now, or we're going to kill ourselves long before we fry the earth.

I'm glad to see this article rising on HN amidst the entire narrative on HK that's sprouting around the internet these days. It has finally allowing time for our minds to take a break and rationalize and see how much the propaganda has been swaying us all.

As a Chinese, I've personally been following Chinese forums and continue to see individuals that rationalize the behavior of the West and to try to put down flames that's only in the name of nationalistic pride, albeit few still. But it's an important theme, only if both side can put behind their bias can there be a better and more peaceful ending in the China-US conflict to bring benefit to us all. There are many intelligent and rational Americans, it's a sad story for Iraq and we wish them best, but at least the news is helpful in helping us collectively realize what the media has been doing to our brains.

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