I sent this post as an email message to libreplanet-discuss mailing list.

Do you guys follow football? I mean the real football, not Amerikkkan one. There’s a club in Spain named Barcelona. They have a player in their team named Leo Messi. I think many of you know him.

Messi is believed to be one of the best football players in the history. During time, some people accused Messi of sexual assault and harassment. They even went to court for it and sued Messi. It turned out that all of them were only doing this for money, hoping that Leo Messi gives them some ransom.

There’s another player named Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is almost as same as Messi. He is again believed to be one of the bests in the history. He also was accused of sexual harassment and assault. Again, some people went to court and sued him, etc.

Some of the accusers never went to court but they tell very interesting stories on how they were assaulted. There were no proof and the teams (Barcelona and Real Madrid) never responded.

I can’t tell if those players who have a reputation of good behavior and charity and social work were really offenders or not, but I can tell one thing. Barca and Madrid didn’t let go of their best players because of some unproven accusations.

I remember Leo Messi once attacked a journalist physically because he was very angry but again, he made up to that, apologized, and never repeated such behavior because he was aware of how it can affect people. Again, we didn’t see any effort to ban Messi from playing football completely because that mistake.

I’m a football fan. I’m a fan of Manchester United, neither of those teams I mentioned but I never ever campaigned to throw out Messi and Ronaldo for unproven accusations.

I did not expect those teams to simply fire probably the best player of their history because some people said so.

Do you get my analogy here? I hear stories about an autistic person named RMS that he has assaulted women, harassed them, or sexually abused them. When I go and read the stories, I see what Stallman did was to “upset” some people. Not harassment, not assault, but upset.

Stallman shouted at some people or interrupted them while speaking. He hit on women or asked them out and insisted on that, which made them uncomfortable. If he was doing to me, I would be upset too, but I wouldn’t ever accuse him of assault or harassment. I wouldn’t expect FSF to fire its probably most valuable player that is known for his charity, effort for equality, justice, women’s rights, etc.

Why people expect FSF to fire its probably best player in history? I don’t understand that.

What people explain is not sexual harassment. He was an unpleasant person, maybe, to some people but he didn’t do anything to harass them.

Let me give you another example. There’s a different between patting some child on the butt and pedophilia. Now a pedophile most-probably does pat children on the butt but are all people who do that pedophiles? Hell no.

Please don’t accuse people of what they didn’t do because they made you uncomfortable or were unpleasant. If someone shouts at you, defend yourself or if the act of shouting makes you psychologically hurt, please be very very careful when you come out of your home because you may experience it almost every time.

If someone hitting on you makes you uncomfortable, ask them not to do that or ask security to help you but don’t accuse that person of harassment because looking at someone or being weird is not harassment. And again, please be careful when you come out of your house because you may experience it every day.

If someone interrupts you, ask them not to do that or argue back but don’t accuse that person of harassment because they didn’t harass you with that. Harassment is different. And please be careful when you come out of your house because people may interrupt you every day.

Stop with accusing people of things when they didn’t do that.

Also, please don’t accuse me of sexual harassment because I wrote this note. I don’t even know any of you and I did not harass you. Disagreeing with you is not harassment. Sending email messages is not assault.

I had to clarify that because as far as I’ve seen you people, the next open letter would’ve been for me. Don’t start arh-open-letter please. And yes, I’m mocking some people.

From my previous post, I should add this:

We should not let them win this. This is not just RMS, it’s a fight for truth. If we, and FSF, step down, we give them power to do anything simply because they want to.

The first mistake was made back in 2019 when the FSF bowed down by not standing up to the mobs. That sent the message, “we listen to you.” It’s only natural that the mobs will try again, with renewed violence.

If we had same attitude 40 years ago, there would be no FSF and GNU. It took someone like RMS to create what we have.

Canceling someone because he explained the meaning of some words is crazy and dangerous. And there’s more. Once they realized the issue with the words was not enough of an excuse, they started looking for more, resorting to intentional misinterpretations, exaggerations and lies.

And the FSF keeps listening to the same rant.

Richard Stallman is a scientist and a philosopher. That means he has an inquisitive mind. If he says he is skeptical of something, if he criticizes the status quo, it only means that: a doubt, a desire to understand better. And as a scientist, as soon as he discovers evidence that clarifies his doubts, or something that helps him understand, he is ready to declare it openly. He has done that, several times, as have many scientists on a variety of subjects.

History shows that inquisitive minds are not always welcome, specially when they challenge religious, ideological, or political views. If these minds choose not to self-censor, they need to be ready to suffer severe punishment.

Galileo Galilei was accused of heresy and brought to trial by the Inquisition when he declared that the earth was not flat. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for holding opinions contrary to the masses. There are many.

Yes, we are back to the Middle Ages.

Update: I received an email about this note. The message:

Hi Ali,

you conclude your last blog post by saying: “Galileo Galilei was accused of heresy and brought to trial by the Inquisition when he declared that the earth was not flat”.

Please be aware that not only Galileo was never tried for Earth’s roundness, the whole fact that the flat Earth theory was widespread in the middle ages is a hoax. Earth’s roundness was already well established in ancient Greece, and nobody ever doubted that even in the Catholic church. The flat Earth theory really originated in America. around the late 1800s.

Even the myth of Christopher Columbus wanting to prove that Earth was round is humbug. Everyone knew Earth was round, there was no need to prove it whatsoever.

The reason why Galileo was trialed was because he said that Earth revolves around the Sun, as opposed to the geocentric doctrine that was then accepted in the mainstream.

Lastly, I find your last remark inappropriate. The middle ages were not at all “dark”, most of the pre-modern technological advancements happened there. More relevantly, there was never a dictatorship of the angry masses which is what the cancel culture is about. If anything the angry masses had their chance to impose their opinions starting from the French revolution, at the height of illuminism – ironically, the movement that invented the concept of the medieval times being the “dark ages”.

I hope you will consider altering the conclusion of your article, as in its current state I feel it ruins an otherwise well written and very agreeable content.

Regards,
Alessandro

I’ve been asking those who signed letter to remove RMS from all leadership positions whether they’ve read RMS statement/email that lead to all the controversies we’re now experiencing but not a single person have read the complete message/statement.

This is madness. All those who I asked have got their info on the matter from news sites that only quoted very specific part of RMS’ message out of context. They’re asking RMS to step down from his job simply because they don’t know what he said exactly.

Let me give you a backstory.

A backstory

It was September 2019, just a few months after the world had learned of the horrific sex trafficking operation run by influential billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Revelation after revelation had come out of powerful people and institutions connections to Epstein. MIT was no exception. Epstein had donated $850,000 to MIT’s Media Lab, visited campus many times, and associated with several professors and administrators. Richard Stallman was not among the MIT professors with Epstein ties, and like all decent humans was appalled to learn of Epstein’s heinous crimes.

However, Marvin Minsky, an acclaimed AI pioneer at MIT who passed away in 2016, was an associate of Epstein having been a recipient of Epstein’s research grants. Minsky visited Epstein’s estate in the Virgin Islands where one of Epstein’s 17-year-old victims was “directed to have sex” with him. In response to this and the other revelations, a protest was organized at MIT and an invitation for it was sent to various MIT email lists. Stallman was on one of these and sent a reply-all response that included the following:

The announcement of the Friday event does an injustice to Marvin Minsky: “deceased AI ‘pioneer’ Marvin Minsky (who is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims)” The injustice is in the word “assaulting”. The term “sexual assault” is so vague and slippery that it facilitates accusation inflation: taking claims that someone did X and leading people to think of it as Y, which is much worse than X… The word “assaulting” presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing… We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates…

RMS simply explained the meaning behind a word. He is very careful about the words he uses. You can look at his glossary and anti-glossary on his website. Specifically about this matter, RMS has called Epstein a serial rapist several times but people accused him of defending Epstein and pedophilia. Something very far from truth.

Some also accuse Stallman of sexual harassment and “assault” which there’s no proof of and as a person who knows him, I can tell very far from truth. They also are annoyed that RMS had a mattress in his room/office at MIT and were seen shirtless, which I don’t know how it is disturbing. If you’re harassed or assaulted by seeing a shirtless person, man or woman, I think you’re the crazy one here.

Now with this short simple backstory, let’s get to what’s happening now.

(Don’t) cancel RMS

Few days ago, RMS announced that he’s back. Many people cheered this decision and announcement and some were upset. Well, many were upset and many are asking FSF board and RMS himself to resign over this decision. Complete idiocy.

This makes me mad not because I’m a fan of RMS’ work but because of idiotic cancel culture that is going on free software world. Misleading media and news, among those who just hate RMS are pushing lots of pressure on FSF and Stallman to make them resign from their jobs.

We should resist this. This is very dangerous. Giving organizations power to control literally the future of free software movement is dangerous. I would support a debate between RMS and anybody who wants to debate him on his claims and statements but quoting only part of his statement out of context to cancel someone is dangerous to all of us.

Imagine this. You say “those who say ‘rape is good’ are bad people.” Then I write a blog post about your statement and quote “rape is good” from you and ask people to cancel you. You literally said the opposite but because I quoted only specific part of your saying out of context, people get mad and try to ruin everything you stand for or have.

RMS is a diamond for free software world and we should keep him. Nobody can lead the movement and the Free Software Foundation better than RMS. I’ve always said, the difference between us and Open Source people is our principals. We stand by our principals and values no matter what.

If we don’t stand by our principals, which are based on justice, we’ll lose everything we have ever fought for. I highly oppose those who ask RMS and/or FSF board to resign.

I’m in process of canceling all my donations to organizations who signed that letter and I’ll stop any help I was providing to them whether they’re individuals or an organization. This is not an effort to cancel them but an effort to not be affiliated with any person or organization that doesn’t care about truth.

I would even cancel my FSF membership if they decide to resign or cancel RMS. A weak organization that doesn’t fight for truth doesn’t deserve any help or support.

Last but not least, I invite to read this great article: #Cancel We The Web?

Ubuntu is a very nice story from Africa. The motivation behind the Ubuntu culture in Africa is that an anthropologist proposed a game to the African tribal children.

He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand 100 meters away. Then announced that whoever reaches first, would get all the sweets in the basket.

When he said ‘ready steady go!”, they all held each other’s hands, ran together towards the tree, divided the sweets equally among themselves, ate the sweets and enjoyed it. When the anthropologist asked them why they did so, They answered “Ubuntu.”

Ubuntu meant ‘How can one be happy when the others are sad?’ Ubuntu in their language means “I am because we are”, a strong message for all generations. Let all of us always have this attitude and spread happiness wherever we go. Let’s have a “Ubuntu” Life.

I AM BECAUSE WE ARE.

I really like Bitcoin. I think the future of money should be something like Bitcoin in a way that nobody can control it or impose rules and regulations on it.

In past few days, Bitcoin has been rising in price. Tesla buying $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin pushed it to a new high and now everybody is talking about how tech and industry giants are coming to the market, and I don’t like this actually.

First of all, what I like about digital currencies is that nobody truly controls them. There’s no central bank for it and everybody can own it without a government being able to enforce laws on it, well almost. Tesla and Apple are the first giant ones that are believed to be involved in it and their ability to change the price or manipulate the market is worrying.

Imagine Elon Musk tweeting that Tesla is going to sell all its Bitcoins and naturally the price will decrease and then they buy more Bitcoins and tweet again that they’re not going to sell and well price will go back up and they get a lot of profit only with few tweets.

Second, privacy is a problem. Bitcoin is not a privacy-friendly cryptocurrency. Every Bitcoin transaction is published. Now, people might not know that my wallet belongs to me, but if I used it more than a few times it would be possible to figure out that it’s me.

Bitcoin is actually safer than credit/debit cards because you have at least some privacy in it while debit and credit institutes and banks violate your right over privacy and anonymity completely.

This is why most of times I use cash. I still own a credit/debit card as it’s needed but cash is my main way of paying. I really don’t want my bank to know about what I buy, when I buy it, and where I buy it.

Also, with cash, I can prevent being recognized at markets. I can buy stuff with a fake identity. Bitcoin makes it easier to pay and receive with anonymity (which is a part of our privacy rights) but it’s not focused on it.

The “capitalism <-> socialism” opposition seems outdated. I prefer to think in terms of “centralization vs decentralization”. Humans have evolved to perform best in small groups of less than 150 people. That’s why wherever there’s centralization and excessive hierarchy, there’s inefficiency and underutilized human potential. Capitalist monopolies and socialist dictatorships are equally bad.

In a natural environment, every small community is able to produce an outstanding leader and an independent thinker. In today’s world of trillion-dollar monopolies and bloated governments, the potential of hundreds of millions of people is suppressed by the limitations imposed by our artificial societal structures.

That is the reason why tens of thousands of people working at big corporations such as Facebook have failed to keep up with what our small team at Telegram has been implementing. That’s also the reason why countries like Russia fail to generate and retain global brands in their jurisdictions. Genuine creativity is rare in organizations and societies built on excessive hierarchies and lack of personal autonomy.

Pavel Durov

On 16 January, Facebook announced that it will be “banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective equipment in the US at least through January 22”.

To those of us who have been observing the world of Trump-supporting social media, this announcement is a manipulative piece of whitewashing that obscures how Facebook’s algorithms continue to divide people the world over, The Guardian has reported.

This is a disaster. Imagine a supporter of Trump who thinks his freedom of choice is taken away and the savior (yeah, ridiculous) is now thrown off the power. Imagine how angry that person is and now when the person logs into Facebook, the person sees ads about weapons and self-defense.

Imagine a supporter of Trump, angry enough to riot to the Capitol, seeing ads about weapons and tactical military-grade stuff. I’m not on Facebook and I have never liked it. I always promote not using Facebook and other centralized monopolies like it. You should avoid it too.