The beauty of blogging and the Internet is that it allows you to communicate in a unique way with people outside of those that you would normally come into contact with. In our modern world we now have the ability to travel far and wide, but just as importantly we can now talk to complete strangers. Here in Maine I am always amazed to run into folks that have never left the state. If it wasn't for the media and television they would be quite isolated. Reliance on the media as your main source of information about the world has its pitfalls. For the first time, we now have a tool for exchanging ideas and informing ourselves outside of the traditional methods of the past. Surfing through the blogosphere I am always amazed by the variety of blogs and information available. There is not much you can't find if you are determined to look for it.
The free discourse in the blogosphere, and I use the words "free" and "discourse" in a very loose fashion here, is replete with people espousing every idea imaginable. Many of these ideas are, to put it mildly, both uplifting or informative as well as hateful, misinformed and downright evil. Luckily when we run into something we don't like we can move on and go elsewhere or we can even decide to use the power of words and disagree. As a blogger I have been privileged to meet some pretty interesting people since I started blogging. People that I now consider friends. People like Ted, Yiannos, AntigoneSis, Demo, Scruffy, GANYC, Peter, and Hermes have made me think about who I am and how I view the world. Perhaps I have been able to do the same for them in some limited way.
Recently, I was perusing a blog written by a woman who lives in Greece under the pseudonym, Devious Diva. I have read some of the things she has written in the past and quite frankly I didn't agree with much of what she had to say, so I moved on. I note however that her identity was revealed by other bloggers that not only disagree with her but seem to have an ax to grind. Reading the comments after her post I was struck by one which likened what is taking place in the blogosphere to a "war," a war of words. Unfortunately, this is more than speech directed at someone that says something disagreeable. It is a direct assault against the person's privacy and an attempt to silence her. Rather than using rational arguments and facts to debate ideas we don't like, some would muzzle speech that they find unpalatable.
Devious Diva has been accused of being anti-Hellenic. That particular point is certainly open to discussion as evidenced by the title of her blog: "This is not my Country," and many of her posts. As far as I am concerned however, what I consider egregiously anti-Hellenic is the inability to hold a rational discourse with those we disagree with. The problem nowadays both in the United States and elsewhere in the world is humankind's inability to rationalize, discuss and arrive at a consensus, even occasionally. We are too busy yelling and calling each other names to listen to what others have to say. I readily admit to being guilty of this in the past. Some folks eventually find it necessary to demonize those they disagree with, and in the end try to silence them through one means or another.
Greeks are better than that. Our ancient ancestors showed us how to conduct a rational discourse. Now is the time to set an example for others to follow.