Kambale Musavuli’s tribute to Aaron Swartz: a freedom fighter of a different kind

The young man fought against the bill giving the US government control of the internet.  

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz

Aaron H. Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist. Swartz co-authored the “RSS 1.0” specification of RSS and the online activism group Demand Progress. He also was a member of Harvard University Ethics Center Lab.

On July 19, 2011, he was arrested for downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR. Swartz committed suicide on January 11, 2013. 

A sad day… a great young man has gone… I have just found out that Aaron Swartz, the brightest and most courageous young man I have lived to know died last night [11/1/13]. He was 26 years old.

Kambale Musavili reflecting on challenges his native DRC has to address to get sustainable peace

Kambale Musavili reflecting on challenges his native DRC has to address to get sustainable peace

If you don’t know who he is… you probably remember the black out campaign to stop SOPA that companies like MOZILLA supported by turning their website black to act against the bill giving the US government control of the internet.

When we saw him last month, I was so impressed by his courage to be willing to fight his case against the US government… he was very clear that we needed to make sure we protect our freedom and privacy. He promised to work on doing a workshop in Congo to teach the youth programming… and just loved the jokes he shared about his case…

Finding out that another soldier for justice, freedom…. anywhere around the world… the man who fought for each one of us to not be spied on officially by the government… that this man is gone is painful, shocking and quite sad.

Thank you Aaron for teaching me why it was important for Congolese to also fight for internet freedom. Say hello to friends on the other side.

This story reminds me of what some governments around the world are doing to their internet users. Rwanda has for example stopped for its citizens access to all the main websites that are critical to the Kagame’s regime. 

“On Tuesday, August 6, 2012, Mussa Fazil Harelimana, Rwandan Interior Minister, announced that Kigali had adopted a new law to monitor phone calls, e-mails and website visits made from Rwanda.” 

Aaron Swartz was probably against similar actions from his US government towards American people. 

It surprises sometime when people inside Rwanda inform those outside that such and such website cannot be read because they have been blocked by the authorities. The regime goes even a step further in duplicating and running fake websites to confuse its citizens on the issues that the genuine websites are raising.

 

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