9 May 2006 roozbeh   » (Master)

Google: Last year this time, I blogged about my being angry about racism against Iranians, Sudanese, North Koreans, etc. by the US government and companies.

You can (re?)read it in chronological order:

OK, Google, since you have not corrected your mistake (and I know people like Behdad tried hard to change that), and at the same time you know that you don’t need to be as discriminating as explicitly requiring participants to not be citizens of certain countries, but probably only residents of these countries, (since you allowed Behdad, an Iranian citizen residing in Canada, to run as a student last year) I am hereby calling you racist again! You racists!

Side note: Behdad has some insider details about how things are at Google’s side, and why it is actually the fault of the some of the people related to the company, and not the US federal government. But I can’t disclose that information. If you are really interested, ask him, and he may be able to tell you.

Final notes: Why do I care if I’m not a student? Well, because this mainly discourages students of Iranian origin to apply for a program which may help them get involved in free software projects. In order to find that they may apply, they need to first, confirm that they are not Iranian citizens (i.e., lie), and second, get in direct communication with Google to find that they may actually apply. Also, please note that Google’s behaviour doesn’s even stop Iranian residents from applying. I personally know a group of students residing in Iran who applied in a friend’s name last year and even got the money. I also know a few people who are doing the same kind of (Google-encouraged) cheating this year.

For those who are aware of the US politics, to me this is very similar to the African-Americans’ case in the US. Two random quotes from the Wikipedia: a) In older times, “[...] when black Americans were enfranchised against the wishes of many white voters and their politicians, measures were introduced to obstruct or discourage their access to the ballot. Their low attendance at the ballot box was explained away as laziness or indifference to the democratic system.” [1], and b) In more recent times, the year 2000 CE in Florida, “According to the Palm Beach Post, among other problems with the list, although blacks accounted for 88% of those removed from the rolls, they made up only about 11% of Florida's voters.” [2]. Of course these Democrats of African-American and Hispanic descent were allowed to appeal, like in Google’s case, but did all of them know?

Why should you care? I will just copy the famous quote from Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis arrested the Communists,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.
When they locked up the Social Democrats,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
When they arrested the trade unionists,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist.
When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.
When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest.

Good night, and good luck!

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