Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another substandard internet petition page

The organization Avaaz.org calls upon good people everywhere to stop "corrective rape" in South Africa (http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_corrective_rape/).

I found the platform more interesting than the issue. The "About" page on Avaaz.org does not mention who founded it, nor where it was founded. The obligatory disclosure of financial information bit states that it is "currently" incorporated... in the state of Delaware, USA. This anonymity in an organization with not a very reassuring privacy policy is suspect. Also, the etymology is not straightforward either: "Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—". Which several European languages, I wonder.

And now let's examine the petition itself. It talks about a "crisis" in South Africa, yet refers to only one, single case. Anyone who signs this petition without external knowledge has not grasped the basic norms of democracy. Avaaz, in enc...ouraging such behaviour, deserves to be condemned. And the demand itself is dodgy. Criminalize hate crimes? Rape is not currently a criminal act? Given the sceptre of AIDS and the other problems that a developing country has, I imagine that this one form of hate crime might take a back seat for a while.

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