02 March 2007

Why Separate Countries in OMBFP?

I have received some negative feedback regarding the decision to create separate categories for blogs based on the base country of an individual's blog. I wanted to offer my explanation for this decision and hopefully demonstrate why people of any country should sign up...

There are two main purposes to the One Million Blogs for Peace project as I see it. One is to change hearts and minds, to help convince people that it's time to end the Iraq War. Another key purpose is to demonstrate a wide base of support for this perspective and to demonstrate the strength of the movement against the Iraq War.

Keeping a separate count is important for both of these purposes.

In changing hearts and minds, it is important to recognize that the focal point of the change needs to occur in countries currently prosecuting the war. Countries that never entered (or have withdrawn from) the war are already convinced that the Iraq War is not in their interest, and probably predominantly believe that it is a bad idea. Even if there are some supporters of the War in these nations, they are not impacting the war or contributing to its prosecution, so it is less important to change their mind.

Similarly, the demonstration of a wide base of support is more vital in countries currently involved in the war. We have to be prepared to defend this project in the face of skeptics and critics, especially in the United States (where almost all of the troops are actually from). If the bulk of the project is from countries who are not involved in the war, or if the count from all the nations is fully integrated, this leaves the project wide-open to dismissal. Where is the significance in a citizenry whose government never supported the war being in favor of other governments withdrawing from the war? I personally believe there is value in this sentiment, but clearly it does not carry quite the same weight as opposition from within a country currently fighting in Iraq.

Thus, I have decided to keep separate counts, and to classify those in already non-combatant countries as "Support Blogs". Perhaps I should find a more inclusive term and revise some of the project's front page to clarify this distinction.

I want to be very clear that Support Blogs from non-combatant countries will be able to participate in this project and contribute to One Million Blogs for Peace. After all, readership tends to cross borders given the wide accessibility of the internet. I still feel it is important to make the distinction, however, to fully demonstrate how much opposition to the war there is within countries currently involved.

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