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Yahoo! News   Fri, May 30, 2003
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World - OneWorld.net
Internet Mirrors Anti-US Tide
Fri May 30, 6:39 AM ET
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Kalyani,OneWorld South Asia

NEW DELHI, May 30 (OneWorld) - The US-led war on Iraq (news - web sites) has triggered a climate of global anti-American fervor, clearly reflected in the growth of Web Sites spewing hatred on Uncle Sam.

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While the US witnessed a spate of hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent war in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Iraq, anti-US campaigners are actively using the Internet to voice their resentment.

Web Sites -- ranging from those launching a virulent tirade against the US, to those critical of US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are being used as a medium to articulate the strong tide against the US, say experts.

"The Internet has become a popular medium for spreading information about a cause," says Indian Internet expert, Rakesh Raman, who has extensively studied the use of the media by fundamentalist groups.

One such anti-American Web Site, humiliateamerica.com, is scathing in its attack on the US. "The world community has to act before the US dismantles all multi-cultural and multi-lateral world bodies, the right thinking American people have to act before America becomes a fascist state, Muslims all over the world have to act before American Army writes the walls of Kabah that "U.S.A was here". The Asian people have to act before Asia gets involved in World War III," it urges.

Other sites - such as islamic-world.net or islamicity.com - provide Internet users with filtered news on the Iraq war and its aftermath. The site is critical of the US role in Iraq, which it describes as "not only a very bad idea," but "completely insane."

The increased Internet activity, believe experts, mirrors the rise of anti-American sentiments across the world in the aftermath of the war. "Nobody likes a bully," remarks Indian journalist Saeed Naqvi, whose team of reporters was covering the Iraq war for India's state-run television.

Naqvi, who has been to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Latin America, Afghanistan and Palestine in recent weeks, says he was struck by the strong tide of sentiments against the US in different parts of the world.

"People, including ordinary soldiers on the streets, are spewing venom on the United States," he says. "The feeling is so strong that in many most countries, U.S. embassies have gone in for heavy fortification," he adds.

In Iraq, the fall of Saddam Hussain has not, as Washington had expected, diminished popular dislike of the US. On May 27, Iraqi attackers opened fire at a U.S. military checkpoint, killing two American soldiers and wounding nine outside Al-Fallujah town, west of the capital, Baghdad.

"People are frothing at the mouth about the Americans' callow exercise of power," says Naqvi.

The anger is widely reflected in humiliateamerica.com, which has been pressing for a boycott of American goods. "We have to liberate American occupied Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait and other Asian countries and dismantle American sponsored racial apartheid regime in Israel and put an end to all racial discrimination against Arabs there and establish democracy in Israel," screams the site.

A related site, savekashmirmovement.org (SKM), which proclaims that it seeks to promote pluralism, democracy and secularism, says it is launching a campaign "to kick out American murderers from Asia where they have a military base, either by peaceful means in countries having democracy or by all means in countries under dictatorship or monarchies."

In reaction to the site's strong views, savekashmirmovement.org has been mutilated by hackers, who posted remarks such as "This web site is trash" and "Stop this! Please do not enter" - on it.

Web sites such as these, Raman holds, will mushroom for a while, but eventually disappear, leaving no lasting impact on public opinion. "These Web Sites do not have a long life," he stresses.

Raman recalls that during the movement for a separate Sikh homeland in India, there were 70 Web Sites promoting the cause. At the end of the movement in the mid 90s, the number had dropped to seven.

"Though the Internet is ubiquitious, its reach in many developing countries is limited," says Raman. In one-billion-strong India, for instance, there are only 2 million Internet connections.

 

"There will be Web Sites and counter Web Sites, but their impact will be minimal," he concludes.


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Prev. Story: U.K., France, Germany Ask U.N. to Send Home Iraqis (Reuters)
Next Story: British Soldier Accused of Iraqi Torture  (AP)

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