CLBR #162: Emily Parker’s Voices from the Internet Underground and Obie Scott Wade
In China, university students use the Internet to save the life of an attempted murder victim. In Cuba, authorities unsuccessfully try to silence an online critic by sowing seeds of distrust in her marriage. And in Russia, a lone blogger rises to become one of the most prominent opposition figures since the fall of the Soviet Union. Authoritarian governments try to isolate individuals from one another, but in the age of social media freedom of speech is impossible to contain. Online, people discover that they are not alone. As one blogger put it, “Now I know who my comrades are.”
In her groundbreaking book, Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground, Emily Parker, formerly a State Department policy advisor, writer at The Wall Street Journal and editor at The New York Times, provides on-the-ground accounts of how the Internet is transforming lives in China, Cuba, and Russia.It’s a new phenomenon, but one that’s already brought about significant political change. In 2011 ordinary Egyptians, many armed with little more than mobile phones, helped topple a thirty-year-old dictatorship. It was an extraordinary moment in modern history—and Now I Know Who My Comrades Are takes us beyond the Middle East to the next major civil rights battles between the Internet and state control.Star dissidents such as Cuba’s Yoani Sánchez and China’s Ai Weiwei are profiled. Here you’ll also find lesser-known bloggers, as well as the back-stories of Internet activism celebrities. Parker charts the rise of Russia’s Alexey Navalny from ordinary blogger to one of the greatest threats to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
This book introduces us to an army of bloggers and tweeters—generals and foot soldiers alike. These activists write in code to outsmart censors and launch online campaigns to get their friends out of jail. They refuse to be intimidated by surveillance cameras or citizen informers. Even as they navigate the risks of authoritarian life, they feel free. Now I Know Who My Comrades Are is their story.
Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote that the book is “a rigorously researched and reported account that reads like a thriller. It’s been a while since I have read a book that is so entertaining, not to mention so encouraging for the culture of liberty.” Vargas Llosa’s full article about “Now I Know Who My Comrades Are” can be found here.
“It is [Parker’s] tracing of the more subtle, psychological effects the internet has had on activists, regular folks, and authorities that makes this book an essential read…if one is restricted to a few voices, oh what voices Parker has chosen.” —The Los Angeles Review of Books
“One of the merits of Parker’s work is to have captured these characters not just glued to their keyboards…but also in their intimate reality, in the cafes or pubs where they seek refuge, in their families, in the political rallies they support or in the hiding places they seek out when persecuted. That fills this book with color and life…Some of the personalities in Parker’s book stick to memory with the same vivacity and dynamism of a Joseph Conrad or Andre Malraux character.” —The New Republic”
“This book is about twenty times better reported or written than any book ever written about the Internet, period.” —Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
About Emily Parker
Emily is currently digital diplomacy advisor and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, where she has been writing her book and leading a US-China innovation project called Green Electronics: A US-China Maker Challenge. Previously, Emily was a member of Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, where she covered 21st-century statecraft, innovation, and technology. While at State she advised on issues related to Internet freedom and open government, and traveled to the Middle East to explore the role of new media in post-revolutionary Egypt. She no longer has any affiliation with the U.S. government.
Emily is a founder of Code4Country, the first open government coding marathon between the United States and Russia. Code4Country brought together Russian and American software developers to identify technological solutions to challenges of government transparency. Emily is a former International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, an Arthur Ross Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and a Global Policy Fellow at Carnegie Moscow Center, where she researched the role of blogging and social media in today’s Russia.
Emily spent over five years working for The Wall Street Journal, first as a writer in Hong Kong and later as an editor in New York. From 2004 to 2005, she wrote a Wall Street Journal column called “Virtual Possibilities: China and the Internet.” She was also a staff op-ed editor for The New York Times.
She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The Far Eastern Economic Review, Project Syndicate and World Affairs. Her chapter on Chinese nationalism appeared in China’s Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges (Seven Stories Press, May 2008). In 2002 she worked at the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in Tokyo, where she researched how historical tensions between China and Japan would affect Sino-Japanese business relations.
She has worked in China and Japan, and speaks Chinese, Japanese, French and Spanish. She graduated with Honors from Brown University with a double major in International Relations and Comparative Literature (French and Spanish). She has a Masters from Harvard in East Asian Studies.
Obie is an award-winning author/creator with a new book – “Oddry” and a hit animated show SheZow.
SHOUT OUTS & COMMEMORATIONS
Congratulations to Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Winning the MLS Cup
For several weeks now, Landon Donovan – the most accomplished American soccer player in history – has postponed his retirement as the Galaxy advanced past Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders. Sunday was his final game as the Galaxy played in the MLS Cup and even that was extended into overtime before the Galaxy finally won 2-1. Congratulations to the Galaxy on a record 5th MLS Cup and to Landon Donovan for elevating American soccer through his spectacular career.
Human Rights Day
In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (pictured left is former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who was the U.S. representative for the convention). As a result, on this day is commemorated as International Human Rights Day.
The Nobel Peace prize is frequently accepted on this day and today marks the 50th anniversary of the acceptance of the prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The 130th Anniversary of the Publication of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
This story about a boy and an escaped slave It is widely recognized as one of the early great American novels. Ernest Hemingway declared that, “All modern American literature comes from” Huckleberry Finn. It has appeared in over 150 American editions alone and 200,000 copies are sold each year. Huckleberry Finn has also been translated into over 50 languages and at least 700 editions have been published worldwide.
It remains controversial to this day and is among the list of the most banned books by American schools and libraries.
Otis Redding Died in a Plane Crash in 1967
From Wikipedia: Otis Redding was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues.
His life was cut short at the age of 26 by a plane crash en route to Madison, Wisconsin. He died before his seminal work – Dock of the Bay – was released and went number one on the charts.