Julian Assange: a modern martyr?
While it is not clear what exactly will happen to the grey wizard Julian Assange, it is clear that he has already changed the world. Journalist or not, it is safe to say that Assange is the most debated, controversial and arguably, influential non-politician in the world today. Whether or not he will end up in prison for the rest of his life, or, as some have called for, dead, is moot.
Not only has he had an impact on the availability of information, he has also forever changed politics. No matter what the government does from now on, Assange will win and the rulers of the world will no longer be able to hide – themselves or their words. Along the same lines, imprisoning Assange will only further his cause and create more havoc for the government, thanks in no small part to the “poison pill” file. If he dies or is jailed indefinitely, the file will be opened. According to the Daily Mail UK, it is thought to contain damaging details on BP and Guantanamo Bay. Additionally, Assange's followers and supporters will continue to demand the release of previously classified information. On the other hand, if Assange is let off, he will continue to release “diplomatic” cables to the world.
That begs the question – is a free society viable, possible and liveable? Can there be a society where information is freely obtained and given out? Some may call this socialism. True, but at least it would be more democratic, because in reality, the only court that decides whether a politician – or any other person for that matter – is guilty or not, is the court of public opinion. Right now, in the non-political world, the public opinion is that of support for Assange.
To some, Assange is simply another victim of political oppression and censorship. To many others, though, he is already a martyr, having taken one for the team. Add to this the fact that in the cyber version of martyrdom nobody dies and that the leaks have the potential to save hundreds if not thousands or millions of lives and it is easy to see why Asssange could be martyred. Arrested for saving people? Who would’ve thought? Let us not forget that the main group calling for his prosecution (or persecution for that matter), the U.S. Government, is lead by a man with a Nobel Peace Prize, yet there is nothing peaceful about the way Assange is being treated. Perhaps Obama should hand over his peace prize to the very man he is trying to stop.