From Connected: Engagements with Media edited by George Marcus. 1996.
Computing for Tibet: Virtual Politics in the Post-Cold War Era by Meg McLagan. (Excerpted from the Tibetan Bulletin, November-December 1993
The spread of new media forms and the tremendous growth of transnational and international movements and organizations has coincided with the breakdown of traditional cold war alliances and enmities. For interstitial groups such as the Tibetans, this confluence of events has meant the opportunity to create a new political space for themselves in the contemporary world order. (161)
[regarding using GreenNet to send out new bulletins about Tibet via TIN -- the Tibet Information Network. McLagan interviews Robbie Barnett, TIN's founder, who says the following about "who reads GreenNet."] It's a passive, imaginative process, you're addressing an imaginary audience, you're not trying to reach anyone.... TIN is just creating a historical monument [in cyberspace] to the statements of these people in Tibet. (169)
[Barnett] The printed reports were a priority. The conference [on-the-'net] material was just my personal desire to see something placed somewhere as a monument. So that people who were in that world could read it.... I'm not interested in communicating.... I remember the reason I wanted to show the stuff on GreenNet was because I wanted Tibet information to be read by someone who has nothing to do with the church of Tibet martyrs and would-be empathetic martyrs. (170)
[Barnett] Electronic communications has this tendency, once it is open ended, to appeal to the lowest common denominator.... We often end up with exaggerated, highly inflammatory anti-Chinese racist commentary. This is a huge problem with network culture. It is open to the most inflammatory material -- to emotional fascism.... I'm not interested in it; I just use electronics as a way of putting out stuff that has our name on it. (170-171)
[Barnett, concerning his archival material] In a way, it's not very good because it doesn't do anything, it just sits there and waits for somebody to use it, but as it happens there are people who want to use it. So even though we are independent, it is an entirely dependent process because we don't carry anything through to anywhere.... It isn't activist at all. It's just that the material is used by activists. We don't see ourselves as part of an activist movement, although we are aware that activists see us as part of their movement. [Barnett refers to the news which TIN publishes as news that they "print."] (174)
[now from an interview with Tseten Samdup, the information and press officer for the Office of Tibet in London. Samdup, speaking about access, says the following.] In America, you can make one phone call and speak for three hours for ten pence [sic]. In this country you can't.... Outside of North America, information is costly. For instance if Dharamsala [in Tibet] wants to send something, they have to dial New Delhi, they can't just dial locally, there's no local host. It gets very expensive.... I think it is democracy for the privileged. I call it democracy for the haves, not for the have-nots. (184)
[Samdup] I put out information according to our own agenda.... I think there is a difference [between "Western" and "Eastern" views] in terms of the possessiveness of information. People in the East tend to keep things to themselves.
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