There’s news that the Germans in Afghanistan evacuated beer cans but failed to bring Afghan people and employees. When you check the priorities of governments and those in power, you understand more about how the world is being controlled and how those in power feel about people.

There are pictures of a C-17 airplane full of people running for their lives. Many got into the plane and many were left behind but the more saddening part is that there were seats for dogs but no place for more people who were in danger of death.

Taliban finally occupied the whole Afghanistan, well except for Panjshir where Ahmad Masoud, son of Ahmad Shah Masoud the popular guerilla, is holding resistance. They are promising a different Taliban but we all know that is just lies. They keep killing everybody, discriminating against women, enslaving children, and forcing their ideologies on people.

Taliban is no different than any other terrorist group or government. They are currently seeking for global acceptance so they lie. They use newly available resources to them, such as country-wide television, for propaganda and facade.

Now, in this situation, other countries are listing their priorities and in those priorities there seems to be no place for people. They are thinking about natural resources in Afghanistan, drugs, guns, businesses, military industry, etc. The question is, where is the people in those lists?

Whenever we hear politicians talking about the situation in the region, we hear them talking about the good for people and how they’re fighting for human rights and everybody, but when we check their actions, there’s only good for them themselves and the governments, their businesses. Why is that?

We people get manipulated a lot, and maybe we do something about it. The result of us being manipulated sometimes is to pay more taxes or be restricted in some ways, but the result of Afghan people being manipulated is them being killed.

Priorities. We need to check and sort our priorities RIGHT.

The Taliban, a terrorist group in Afghanistan, is now occupying the whole Afghanistan. As of today, they occupied 17 provincial capitals, including Afghanistan’s second largest city Kandahar. Taliban are famous for their cruelty and savagery.

Many Afghans ran away from them to the city of Kabul, the capital, and many ran to neighbor countries like Iran. I’ve heard the border guards of Iran accepted the refugees kindly but there’s reports that some soldiers mistreated the refugees and beat them.

Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary wrote Thursday on Twitter that he had been in frequent communication with terrified city residents, including a shopkeeper called Haji Abdul Hamid.

“People are scared. There is fear. There is chaos in the city,” Abdul Hamid told him. The shopkeeper said he managed to get his family out, but left behind his home and business, fleeing only with some cash and clothing.

It seems that the Afghan army is incapable of defending the country and the people’s forces are not capable of fighting the Taliban. There are horrible news, like women (and underage girls) being forced to marry Taliban forces.

Like always, nobody seems to care about Middle East and no international force is helping the people. United States army, which was there for decades, is now leaving the country and Biden says it’s Afghans job to fight with terrorists. It is true, but surprising that it comes from those who wrecked the country in the first place.

A year and a half since U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad brokered a peace agreement between the United States and Taliban leaders, there is no peace in Afghanistan and new so-called peace talks are being held in Doha, Qatar. At the talks in Doha, officials issued a statement urging an end to attacks on cities and “reiterated that they will not recognize any government in Afghanistan that is imposed through the use of military force.”

In Washington, the Pentagon announced plans to deploy 3 thousand troops to Kabul airport only to oversee the evacuation of dozens of staff from the U.S. Embassy. But as the Taliban’s military campaign builds momentum, some foreign governments may choose to accept the new reality on the ground and reach their own separate accommodation with the group.

Specially in Iran, Afghanistan’s western neighbor, some are trying to show a different and inaccurate picture of the reality of the Taliban. Many try to portray the Taliban as different from the past and different from the terrorists they are.

Yesterday, Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, an Iranian Sunni cleric who is regarded as a “spiritual leader for Iran’s Sunni population”, said Taliban is part of Afghanistan and should be accepted, and that Taliban wants to install real Islam and have god’s victory behind them.

Some journalists also reported that Iran’s government officials asked them to avoid using “savage” and similar terms for Taliban.

The situation is very saddening. Afghanistan needs urgent international action, and the Taliban should be rejected at any cost and never get accepted. No matter how much of the country they occupy, they are a terrorist group and should never be accepted.

Apple’s new controversial feature “protections for children” opens a back door in your iPhone. The feature is controversial not because it protects children, which is very needed and good practice, but because it chooses a wrong way to do so.

Apple has explained its privacy and security practices in its proposed back door but at the end of the day, it’s a back door, and there’s no such thing as “only-good-guys back-door”.

Many people are angry about it and many are already campaigning to ask Apple reversing its decisions. A very known one, Apple Privacy Letter, is a campaign supported by famous EFF, Privacy Foundation, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and many others is asking people to sign the petition on GitHub and says “Apple’s proposal introduces a backdoor that threatens to undermine fundamental privacy protections for all users of Apple products.”

I don’t use Apple products. They’re proprietary and against computer user freedom. Instead, currently, I use a distribution of Android operating system named LineageOS. I’m not going to sign any campaign or beg Apple to respect my privacy.

When it comes to privacy, Apple is not a hero. It wasn’t long ago that Apple turned over iCloud data to Chinese government. Apple was not a privacy hero then, and is not a privacy hero now. They are very good at marketing and selling products, but they’re not, at all, a hero of privacy practices.

I agree, Apple’s privacy practices are much better than proprietary Android manufacturers, but that’s not enough. Respecting people is not giving them some privacy. As long as Apple is controlling everything and doesn’t give people full control and right over their devices, including software freedom and right to repair, they’re not a hero in anything but violating people’s rights and freedoms.

Many mobile operating systems and devices are not easy to use, I fully agree. GNU+Linux phones are not very suitable for daily use and Android devices may have some problems such as accessibility issues, but the real answer to, the real solution of, this kind of controversies is not to beg Apple or anyone to respect us, but is to respect ourselves by running free software and privacy-respecting operating systems, and those are not made by Apple or any other proprietor.

You may say free software also has bugs and insecurities, free programs is not perfect. Yes, that is true. However, the difference between free and proprietary software in this respect is the handling of the bugs: free software users are able to study the program and/or fix the bugs they find, often in communities as they are able to share the program, while proprietary program users are forced to rely on the program’s developer for fixes.

If the developer does not care to fix the problem — often the case for embedded software and old releases — the users are sunk. But if the developer does send a corrected version, it may contain new malicious functionalities as well as bug fixes.

I urge you to answer to what Apple is going to do by installing and running a free operating system. Put yourself in control, and run software in which you can run freely, study, share, modify, and share your modifications. Free software empowers users and is the best answer for any situation, specially in ones like what we’re facing with Apple right now.

A controversial law which many believe will lead the country to block, censor, and shut down the internet was passed today in Iran’s parliament. The law, named “Preserving the Rights of Users in Cyberspace” was passed as 121 of 204 voted yes, while 74 voted no.

It is believed, and by experience seems to be true, that the point and goal of this law is to limit internet messengers and social networks, specially WhatsApp and Instagram, as they’re most-used social and communication tools, and then ultimately shut down internet, limiting it to sites and networks located inside the country. This way the government can have full control over what people say, hear, do, or share.

While I condemn the use of any proprietary app, I can’t agree to any kind of censorship. Whether it’s proprietary or free (libre), it doesn’t matter for me today because what people use should be up to them and nobody, absolutely nobody, shouldn’t be able to force people use anything they don’t like, for any purpose.

According to this law, social networks and messengers like Instagram will be blocked inside the country if they don’t assign a representative and according to article 17 of the law, their bandwidth/speed can be reduced too much that using them would be impossible practically.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in Iran and Iranian citizens do economic activities such as sales of goods and supply services. Iran’s officials, including Ali Khamenei, also use this social network. Mr. Khamenei recently said that the country’s cyberspace is abandoned and officials should do something about it.

Blocking social networks and messengers has a history in the country. Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Signal, and many Mastodon instances are blocked and people are forced to use internet censorship circumvention tools.

People are against this law. I can say the majority of people are concerned about the results of this and are concerned about their businesses, social life, communications, and privacy. While I don’t use any of those proprietary apps and services, internet being limited affects me too. Even if it wasn’t affecting me, I would still oppose it because it’s against people’s rights and freedoms.

I read a post on Bill Gates’ blog about polio. It talks about how vaccines helped us survive the disease and easily walk. Thousands of people were infected with polio during time and lost ability to walk or even stand. The suggested cure for polio was a metal tank, an iron lung, a mechanical respirator.

Polio attacks the body’s nervous system, crippling patients. In the worst cases, the disease paralyzes their respiratory muscles and makes it difficult for them to breathe, sometimes resulting in death.

Using changes in air pressure, the iron lung pulls air in and out of a patient’s lungs, allowing them to breathe and stay alive. During the height of the polio epidemic in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s, rows of iron lungs filled hospital wards to treat thousands of polio patients, most of them children.

Today, we don’t need iron lungs anymore as there’s an effective vaccine for it. Every person now gets vaccinated against polio and, since 1988, the world decided to eradicate the disease. Polio cases dropped since then by nearly 100 percent.

Before vaccines, more than 350 thousand people were infected in a year, facing horrible consequences and difficulties in their life but now there’s fewer than 200 cases yearly only in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which extremists force people to avoid vaccines using religious propaganda.

Today, some people are spreading false information about vaccines claiming a vaccine is a conspiracy to turn people to something other than a human or vaccines are tools to impose surveillance on people. Of course some vaccines are not effective, we’ve seen them, but to induce that vaccines in general are harming people, that makes no sense.

I’ve seen the effect of vaccines on people. From influenza to polio to tetanus and Meningococcal vaccines, I’ve seen how they help people live and be healthy and I’ve seen how without them people are harmed and face difficulties, even death.

I’m not yet vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) but I will be when it’s time for people my age. My grandparents and some relatives are vaccinated. They didn’t face any aftereffects. One of my relatives was vaccinated while his family were not, and I’ve seen how all of his family members got sick but he were OK. All of them recovered, happily.

Vaccines are results of scientific works, and I believe in science. People say science is always changing and is not reliable but that’s one reason I support it. Science always changes and gets updated for better. That’s why I rely on it. When it comes to vaccines, science is proven to be always working to get better, from iron lungs to polio vaccines, it’s always working to help people.


Part of this post is taken from gatesnotes.com. Check their terms of use/copyright notice.

Ahmad Haghighi, a Fedora GNU+Linux contributor and ambassador was removed from the project because of his nationality. He mentioned this in a tweet announcing his contributions and posts in “Ask Fedora” are removed. Even the long first post of the Persian Ask Fedora is removed.

Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader and engineer at Red Hat said that “haghighi linked to a bio page he created on Fedora wiki which states that his location is in Iran. Once Fedora as a project becomes aware of that information, we have no option. Personally, I do not think this is a good policy. But it is not a Fedora policy or Red Hat policy — we need to do it to comply with the law, which the US government enforces seriously.”

I stopped using Fedora because of the same thing. The fact that Fedora complies with U.S. laws no matter if it imposes injustice on people is very disappointing for me. I know they are forced to do this but that doesn’t mean I can ignore this injustice.

Free software philosophy won’t allow any restriction on using the computer program, but doesn’t say anything about who can contribute on the main project. I believe the base of that is to restrict developers from doing injustices to people and since I believe the philosophy of free software is to avoid injustices, I believe this kind of act is against the soul of software freedom.

This action, whether from U.S. government or anyone else, is very hurtful not only to free software community but to all people and should be stopped. Whether it’s law or not doesn’t justify the action. I understand they’re forced to but don’t ask me to understand I’m considered an illegal being because of my location or nationality.

American authorities seized dozens of news website domain names including Iran state television’s English-language arm Press TV, Yemeni Houthi-run Al-Masirah satellite news channel and Iranian state TV’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam claiming they were spreading disinformation. When you visit those domains, you see a takedown notice from U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Commerce.

The U.S. government also took over the domain name of the news website Palestine Today, which reflects the viewpoints of Gaza-based Islamic militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, redirecting the site to the same takedown notice.

I don’t support any of those groups and propagandas, my problem is something else, it’s the power U.S. has over internet, which meant to be for people and decentralized.

U.S. government has power over many internet top level domains. Most of the domains seized appeared to be “.net,” “.com” and “.tv” domains. The first two are generic top-level domains as opposed to country-specific domains, while “.tv” is owned by the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu but administered by the U.S. company Verisign.

Seizing a domain on a major country-specific top-level domain such as Iran’s “.ir” would be apt to produce widespread international condemnation as a violation of sovereignty.

Verisign is also the authoritative registry for the .com, .net, and .name generic top-level domains and the .cc country-code top-level domains.

Verising is an American company, meaning it obeys American laws and court orders, no matter where the client (one who bought the domain) is from or based. It also means U.S. government doesn’t go to the registrar for a takedown, it goes straight to the authority.

When U.S. government wants to take down, for example, example.com, if example.com is registered with a registrar in France, like Gandi, U.S. government should get an order from a French court which is unlikely, but since the authoritative registry of .com, which is example.com’s tld (top level domain), is Verisign, an American company, U.S. government bypasses the French registrar and straightly goes to Verisign and Verisign obeys the order.

This is dangerous. Internet should be for people with no authority. While I don’t support any of those seized websites or their propaganda, I do support an internet where nobody, no government, no person, and no ideology controls it. If U.S. can seize Press TV’s domain because it spreads propaganda against it, can it also seize my domain because I criticize their actions?

Majority of websites are using .com domains, this means U.S. has power on majority of web, at least its names. U.S. claims to be a champion of freedom, free speech within it. However, it acts very differently. Silencing voices and taking down internet websites claiming they spread disinformation is not respecting freedom.

Internet and web should be not controlled.

Close Windows, Open Doors
Picture courtesy of Free Software Foundation (CC BY 3.0 US license)

Two days ago, Microsoft introduced new version of Windows operating system and many seem to be excited and interested. Microsoft did some changes to the user interface and added what seem to be a cool feature, running Android apps, but, after all, it is same old Windows.

New versions of Windows might change the UI or underlying components, but they don’t change the only thing important to know about Windows: it’s nonfree software. Windows is closed to everyone, a proprietary operating system that neither users nor independent experts can view the system’s source code, make modifications or fixes, or copy the system.

This puts Microsoft in a dominant position over its customers, which it takes advantage of to treat them as a product. A nonfree operating system, just like any nonfree software, puts the developer in a controlling position over users’ computing, unlike free operating systems and programs that respect people.

Windows is privacy-violating, discriminatory, and a spyware. However, since a long time ago a group of hackers and a community of freedom-minded people are using and continuously developing a free (as in freedom) and privacy-respecting operating system named GNU, and most of them are using the Linux kernel.

By contrast, free software like the GNU+Linux operating system is developed by professional and volunteer communities working transparently, freely sharing their work with each other and the world. Users have meaningful influence over the software development process and complete choice over what code they run.

This means the software usually treats them with respect. Even if a free software developer took a page from Microsoft’s book and began abusing its users, it would have no way to keep them locked in — when this happens, independent experts copy the source code, remove the offending bits and help people switch to the user-respecting version.

Avoid Windows and install a free and privacy-respecting operating system. Close Windows, Open Doors.

It’s June 23rd, Alan Turing‘s birthday. Turing is considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He aged 41 years, but would be 109 years today.

Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts; the Labouchere Amendment of 1885 had mandated that “gross indecency” was a criminal offense in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES (a non-steroidal estrogen medication), as an alternative to prison.

Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as a suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning.

Today, in a good news, the new £50 note featuring Alan Turing has been released into circulation by the Bank of England. A man who once was persecuted because of his sexual orientation is now pictured and celebrated on the highest bill in England.

Happy birthday Alan Turing, father of our computers.