Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Arrogance of Javally

One of my favorite sites was hacked yesterday by some character calling himself Javally and claiming he was a Brazilian hacker and superior intellect. The irony is this character complained of anti-Brazil Americans and expressed the usual anti-Bush/anti-American dominance sentiments on a website founded by Brazilians living in America and that features articles where Brazil is most often viewed positively. In fact, a large number of articles are written by Brazilians or people presently living in Brazil. In fact, some of them even criticize America and its foreign policies in a similar vein to this Javally character. Apparently the superior intellect doesn't bother to read the sites he hacks, or he would have known that.

To me, this arrogance of the hacker types is amazing. They invade people's lives and do destructive things and then act as if it is all in good fun. What a sad statement on where morality is going if young people think criminal acts against others are all fun and games. I feel the same way about those recently convicted for spamming. The perpetrators' made statements to the effect of "nothing we did hurt anyone" or "we did nothing bad." I for one hope they throw them in jail for a number of years. Because I am sick and tired of the 100+ spams I have to clean out of my email daily. It is ridiculous. But this attitude, to me, in indicative of a moral failure in society. And not just American society, either, but worldwide.

Mutual respect and understanding is a fundamental value necessary to any civilized society. Yet somehow we seem to have lost that along then way. There was the old saying in America: "My rights stop where yours begin." The idea is that you have freedom to be who you want to do, do what you want to do, say what you want to say, until it encroaches on the same freedoms which are someone else's. So we have a point where we all need to compromise in order to live civilly with one another. This is a hallmark of all civilized societies. I have seen it in Europe, in Brazil, in Africa. But there seems to be a lot of people in my generation and younger who just don't get it. People like this Javally, lost in their arrogance and overinflated sense of self-importance. And they bite the hand that feeds them -- trampling on the rights of people who
even agree with their core ideas.

While I have no problem with folks like this being thrown in jail, as they need to be awakened to reality, I often wonder what good it serves. Will they become more jaded? More criminal? What we really need is to reeducate their values so they can use their gifts and intellect (no one can deny they have talent and brains) to positive, constructive purposes. Imagine what they could to then? I have noticed this attitude creeping into American dialogue more and more. This past election, Americans adamantly disagreed and could not find any common ground or areas or compromise. Families were divided, friendships destroyed. In Ghana and Brazil, I have often been dismayed by the negativity of the politicking. How they slam one another with incredible statements daily. How they assassinate each others' character. How they always find the negative slant on everything the other candidate or party does. Yet they get together after and laugh and have a beer or a meal together like it's nothing. It always seemed very strange to me. But now I am thinking we have something to learn from them. Maybe we need thicker skins.

To me, the answer to these two delimmas must lie somewhere between improved moral character and willingness to accept differences. I pray that our country can move in this direction, and I pray that other countries will as well. This is not a culture specific issue -- it is of interest to all civilized humanity.

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