Anonymous has begun another big op with a bang, and the Westboro Baptist Church became a primary target after threatening to picket the funerals of the Boston Bombing victims. Anonymous, the mysterious group of internet revolutionaries and freedom fighters hacked and took over the Westboro Baptist Church Facebook page, and as of this posting were still running strong with it, posting pro equality messages and hundreds of memes an hour. Initial reports are shaky, since it looks like Anonymous has posts on this Facebook group going back four months. It is hard to tell whether they hacked the primary site, shut down Westboro’s own site, or are just attempting a very convincing parody. It doesn’t really matter which of the three is true in the end, they are spreading their own message of equality that is far surpassing and drowning out any worthless Westboro threats.
As news of this (possible) occupation of the Westboro account spread, countless other Facebook users began to join in on the activist digital frenzy, posting quips and various links of their own on the Westboro wall and various comments sections. This takeover was even mentioned this morning by the popular and witty Facebook and Star Trek icon George Takei.
This is just a small piece of the current “Op’s” agenda; Anonymous is attempting to rally as many as possible to share the above video. They are asking all to openly resist the current center of power that they see as being the top 400 wealthiest people. This is in regard to a claim that those 400 people own more than half of the wealth in the United States. Anonymous believes that through political funding these top 400 control every aspect of the United States government with an extended arm of bought off politicians and policy fermented by greed. It should be noted that Anonymous does not claim the United States stands alone in being shackled by corporate wealth. As their operation manifesto states, they believe that all governments have become corrupted by wealth and corporate power. They see the United States as the top offender and the most mired in a bog of political greed.
Some see the work of Anonymous as little more than digital terrorism. Some see them as heroes and freedom fighters. More to the point, some may see their actions as being without lasting impact – for what does it really achieve to take down a Facebook page for a few hours or a few days in the long run? How many people’s minds are really changed? No matter what differing views people have of these hacktivists, let them be highly lauded for resorting to information and education rather than violence. Unlike the Boston perpetrators, they sow no fear or terror, but attempt to provide knowledge and shake the populace out of their stupor.
Maybe there is a lesson for us to learn here and ponder over in watching Anonymous’ tactics. An example to remember as we salivate over whatever vengeance we wish to dole out for the villains of Boston: Knowledge is more effective than bullets. Education is more impactful than a bomb. And tolerance, more calming and peace generating than riot police. The people you target with knowledge may not always be changed, but dead people most assuredly cannot learn or evolve.
It remains to be seen if this strategy by Anonymous of providing knowledge and information can cut through the thick cloud of American apathy as well as our fattened bellies and minds, but still they stand for something. They are trying. I applaud their efforts, and salute them as vigilant vanguards, voraciously vaccinating the vox populi, as veterans and vestiges of virtue with a vesuvian vigor. Good luck.
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