Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nate's Response to "Uganda hit by anti-Israel hackers " article

My initial reaction to the performance and article was primarily confusion, given that Uganda is not typically mentioned in the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Furthermore, I was confused as to why anyone would spend a considerable amount of time to hack in and graffiti a Ugandan Ministry of Defense website with such anti-Israel material, when Uganda, as far as I know, has no current interests or involvement with Israel. True, there was the involvement of Isreali military advisers during the Idi Amin regime, but they were expelled in 1972 as Idi Amin turned toward Libya and the USSR. Indeed, the Israelis killed 45 Ugandan troops in the 1976 airplane hostage standoff at Entebbe Airport during Operation Thunderbolt. So, to say that the Ugandan government is cozy with Israel, much less actively supporting Israeli pursecution of Palestinians, seemed a little confusing.

Complicating my confusion was that, in the performance, it seemed as if the Uganda government was dragging its feet in pulling down the website and cleaning it of the graffiti. In the article, however, the delay was attributed to a miscommunication between the host of the MoD website and Ministry of Defense Command. Why the MoD would not administer its own website also struck me as unexpected.

Coming finally to the content of the message, it struck me as almost disrepectful that the hackers were using the website like a sign board, by which to hurl attacks at their primary target, the EU. This secondary concern for the Ugandan MoD website might help explain the hackers motives as simply looking for a way to get attention.

In sum, I think my confusion itself is an interesting reaction, if for no other reason than it signals a large ignorance on my part of the web of international relations in the area. I typically think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as dealing exclusively with American, EU, and Middle-Eastern actors, an assumption that I am calling into question. Furthermore, I am starting to realize the depth of my ignorance of the international relations between uganda and parts of the globe aside the U.S and the EU. Finally, I putting some thought toward the issues of electronic security in the area. Many people speak of using advanced technology to "leapfrog" countries across the late industrial revolution directly into the digitial age. Yet, this dependence on the technological services of outside companies, even through to the MoD, leaves a big question mark about the vulnerability of so called "leapfroging" economies to cyberterror/war. If you want to cripple a society, simply sabotage its infrastructure. The internet is quickly becoming as critical as power grids and highways, but could be infinitely more vulnerable.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Victoria's response

I found this article interesting for two reasons. One, I had no idea that clothes had such an environmental impact. Two, I think its very strange that Uganda only or mostly only sells second-hand clothing. When I usually think of consumption and environmental impact, I think of food waste, sewage, plastic bottles, etc., but never of fashion. The last point about second hand clothes is an example to me of how much outsiders treat the "third-world" as the third-world. I am not even sure if Uganda is considered a third-world, but this article makes it seems as such. It is just so interesting and sad to me how we expect certain people to have less and have no qualms about it. We think its fair for others to not have the things and opportunities that we have.

Fast Fashion From UK to Uganda: A Reflection

Article link:

I found this article very interesting in the way it explained the intertwining and influence of the “first world” on Ugandan culture via globalization.  The article discussed globalization by describing the example of the UK's throwaway fashion as an environmental alert, saying, for example, that non biodegradable clothes tamper with the soil's productivity in Uganda. Apart from all this, what I found most interesting about this article was the issue of globalization in a more general sense. I thought a lot about the kinds of potential ideas that get trafficked when fast fashion hits Kampala-- that, perhaps, people from the UK or even America are generally wasteful or ungrateful. It also seems to me that an instance such as this could potentially lend Ugandans the opportunity to glorify the North for their access to wealth and power. If given the opportunity to respond to this article or speak to Ugandans, I would demystify the notion that everyone that resides in a “first world” country are all rich, or all white, or all uniformly equivalent in their ability to access resources.