Being a netizen, to use that popular term of sociological derivation, can be a difficult business. It presumes digital engagement, often of the sharper sort. To become a fully-fledged member of such citizenry, however, presumes access, a degree of Internet speed and appropriate platforms. Absent those, then different forms of activism must be sought.
Governments and authorities the world over have come to appreciate that either the activity itself is controlled (limiting internet access, for one), or the content made available on the Internet (the Great Firewall of China). The resonant cliché there is that the one who controls the narrative controls history, or can, at the very least, blind it.
Out of such tensions and tussles comes Julian Assange, a member of that unique breed of cyber insurrectionists, ducking and weaving through the information channels with varying degrees of success. To function as a publishing figure, he requires access to the Internet, a phenomenon that presumes an acephalous society.
For years, his enemy has been the concentration of information in the hands of the few, the greedy sort who horde information from the commonweal as they encourage ignorance. Publishing classified material has become a form of enlightenment, and it remains a furious debate waged across the political spectrum.
Little wonder, then, that Assange has become a political activist par excellence. If only he were merely, as Britain’s junior minister Sir Alan…