Last night the Livius.org ancient history site was hacked and defaced. It is down at this moment. The vandalism indicated that the culprits were a Turkish-speaking Islamic group. We don’t quite know why they did this, or what they disliked about the site.
Jona Lendering created the site, which is invaluable for people interested in ancient history and the raw historical data. I don’t agree with every opinion expressed, but Jona has researched in detail some areas of ancient history which are of wide interest. To attack this site is no better than burning books.
In a week when I have been researching the stories about the supposed Moslem destruction of the library of Alexandria, it is curious to witness an actual, real-life Moslem attempt to destroy literature.
We live in fortunate times. Out of pure generosity, the USA has given the internet to the world, and it has made freely available a huge mass of data and enjoyment and learning to us all. It has made it possible for ordinary people to contribute, in such a way that every one of us benefits. It is an act of astonishing beneficence, which we take for granted. In turn we lesser contributors do our best to increase the amount of knowledge available online, accessible to everyone and anyone.
Then there are those who take this gift, and seek to abuse it. It is inevitable, given recent history, that there would be Moslems who do this.
The suicide bombings of 9/11 raised the question in some minds of whether Moslems should be permitted to use aircraft at all. It wasn’t Moslems who invented aircraft — they enjoy something which they could never have created by themselves. And then they abused it, as guests in someone else’s land.
Must we now ask whether Moslems should be allowed access to the internet? Is that what it will take, to put an end to this sort of activity?
Of course I doubt that this is practical politics! Nor, in calmer mood, would it be quite fair to penalise ordinary Moslems who have committed no crime for the actions of those who claim to represent them. But this was an evil act, and we need to stand up and resist attempts to intimidate us of this kind.
UPDATE: Jim Davila presses the claims of Russia and China for priority of disconnection here, although perhaps he didn’t realise it. Surely, in a tolerant and diverse world, we could agree to disconnect all three?