I am very relieved to be able to tell you that the CPB has found a person I believe to be a capable new leader in Andrew Ford Lyons. Andrew has the decency, self-respect and common sense to be from the Pacific Northwest and the sense of adventure to live and work in this “United Kingdom” we hear so much about. Andrew has a background in web design (the new CPB site is sharp) and activism. Despite the latter, I believe he is the guy for the job. (You can read my farewell post on the redesigned site.)
Andrew is adding a focus on technological tools of use to bloggers in dangerous countries, as well as on building out from “blogger” to “social media user.”
My reservations regarding Andrew – I would have reservations about anyone talking over something I’ve spent four and a half years on, something I made out of whole cloth, something that has been imitated more and more as the years go buy and the threats to bloggers increase instead of decline – are about the nature of the beast. I have written elsewhere, in a post called “The Me Speech Movement,” on the reality of free speech campaigning.
Namely, people – with virtually no exceptions – see free speech as a right that their fell0w travelers, co-religionists, and other tribes share but that does not extend to groups who disagree with them. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten inflamatory emails from half-wits screeching about how the fact that they’re “offended” means the offender has no such right. To those people I say, one final time: FUCK YOU.
My hope is that Andrew, who is more clearly a public leaner-to-the left than I am (I find the left as objectionable as the right), very quickly learns the meaning of the phrase. I believe he will or I wouldn’t have turned over the keys to the screaming metal juggernaut that is the Committee to Protect Bloggers to him. But it will be a challenge.
If I never deal with another cave-dwelling America-hater (with the full run of the Sopranos on DVD in the media room of his daddy’s palace), another frothing-at-the-mouth Islamist (who hates us for supporting a blogger critical of Islam even as we supported him when he was arrested), another anti-semite (or any other species of beetlebrowed cave-dweller who disguises her hate with the costume of “Western” political liberalism) or another Republican as long as I live, it will be too soon.
But as many organizations as there now are who cover, as part of their mission, the safety and freedom of bloggers and civilian users of social media, the CPB remains the only organization wholly devoted to apprising people of threats to bloggers and of threatened bloggers. The organization is needed now more than ever and to sustain its mission, it must have a change of leadership and a new set of eyes.
Support the CPB.