Monday, December 25, 2006

Ethical issues…

I have been corresponding with a fellow webber recently over the building of his website. I got the call simply because I am out here in Belarus and he wanted to do some writing about this beautiful and interesting country. Anyway, during the conversation, the issue of ethics came up over using outside materials without giving proper credit. I got into this issue recently with a Polish blogger who took offence at my restating his blog's referenced news stories. These were not stories he wrote himself mind you, they were stories he found on the web but yet he believed he had the sole rights to them and actually went so far as to accuse me of plagiarism. I explained to him the meaning of the word, pointed out that if his idea of what the word meant were put into effect, his website was 99% plagiarism. I also pointed out that because I did actually reference him, I had in effect been giving him free advertising and that I would be happy to remove all reference to him at all if this is what he liked. He stopped bothering me after this. My first thought was he was just being a money grubbing scandalist and that, well, that's Poland for you.

But since that time the issue of ethics (and Polish ethics specifically) have been strongly on my mind and I have started to think about these sorts of issues and to ask myself some serious questions. Have I really done all I could have to deal with Poland over what they did to me? Has my issue really become a dead horse? Have I reached enough people? Have I made the point I set out to make? Or most to the point, have I fulfilled my social contract by posting this blog and the court papers or am I still needing my say, even after all this time?

These are some real ethical issues for me. Certainly the focus of this blog has shifted from the Polish issue to writing about Belarus. There were some original reasons for this that had to do with how horrible I felt, how sick inside I had become after rehashing the Polish issue over and over and over. For this reason alone I started to write about other things.

And then about a year and change ago I started the BEING HAD Times, and then everything sort of started to be about Belarus. I am not sorry that I did this because I have had more pleasant occurrences in my life, have met more people and have had more good things happen to me because of that newspaper and the association, so in that effect, it was absolutely a wise decision.

But in doing so I did stray from my original idea and because of this, I now have some new questions to ask of myself: Has this last year been nothing but a long vacation from reality or was trying to chase down the Polish justice system my original vacation from the world? Was BEING HAD nothing but a "healing experience", something to have done to try and get over what had been done to me? And lastly, have I been as serious about the project as I could have been?

I developed at one point in my life a theory of contracts. I do claim this as my own, but if someone had thought of it before, I don't know who they are but if anybody finds that this is so, I'll be happy to give credit.

The theory goes that in any agreement between two or more parties constitutes a contract. So long as all of the parties are satisfied, this means that the contract is in good standing. However, should one or more of the parties become dissatisfied, this means that the original contract is now in dispute.

Now, my original thought was that there were three possible solutions to the problem of bringing a contract back into good standing:

1. You could simply agree to quit the association (Or someone could die, therefore nullifying the contract. I am of course referring to death by natural causes, but certainly one could take the mafia point of view here and, of course, people do)
2. One of the parties could simply agree to back down and agree to exist in a state of dissatisfaction
3. The contract must be renegotiated

As I said, these were my original thoughts. But upon rethinking I came to the conclusion that really only one solution is really possible and this is renegotiation. The thinking is that even though a mutual agreement of disassociation could be reached, there is always the residue of poor feelings that remain. This same thought applies to the second possibility because of course simply agreeing to be a doormat to another may have its residual thrills for say, members of the masochists club or a genuine fascist- if there really is such a thing. But if you really are looking for the purity of human agreement, the only real possibility is to deal honestly with the situation; and not simply dealing with it, but trying to find the real and true solution to the issue at hand.

The point of all of this is that I am not so sure I am finished with Poland or my statement here at the BEING HAD Blog. For sure I do not seem to really have gotten through to Poland, nor have the ideas I thought I had been offering in this media space become a part of the real conversation. It is possible that people do not understand and the problem has been my ability to communicate my ideas, or perhaps it is because I have not had enough "success" to stir people's imagination. Or perhaps the world is simply too far gone to even think of things such as idealism or one man's quest for simple truth and justice. But in any case, I am thinking that it just may be time to step things up a notch.

I have been considering taking the step to move up to a .com for quite some time. The reasons I have not done so probably start and end with money and perhaps have had the issue of available time and energy in the middle. But over the last few months I have become convinced that there is not only still something to say about this but also I simply am not satisfied that the point has been made. This contract is still at issue for me.

So I am thinking that service and information wise, BEING HAD can do much more than it has been doing. Of course this refers to Belarus, but it also concerns bikes, bike issues and traffic safety, issues of corruption and mismanagement, abuse of power and most importantly, human rights as concerns freedom of thought, freedom of movement and freedom of speech. And our basic and inherent right to have a vested interest in the world we live in and therefore I believe the time has come to get a bit louder, a little bit bigger. I have at this moment the luxury of having a few people who think BEING HAD makes a point and have been willing to support the project. I need a few more as well as a few good people who might wish to become a real part of this next step. This means people in Poland and in the States who are willing to do some legwork, people who would be willing to spread the word and of course eventually some "real" legal people who would be willing to fight the fight that needs to be fought back in the heart of darkness.

Folks, my life got wrecked and the lives of some very good people spit on when a lying thief of a Warsaw traffic cop was permitted not only to lie in court about his actions and to slander my name, but the people in the court happily spent their time trying to figure out a way to help him do it. The Warsaw justice department decided to let their police start a riot so that they could take clubs to bikers and run them down with their cars because of this incident. Possibly (probably) we have a bit of political intrigue involving the Polish/US connection during the gulf war in how the American embassy decided to handle the situation- All this because I said that I simply wanted to be in Belarus for a while. And this is not to mention that country's being punished for no other reason than they demand to have an ethos and refuse to back down to foreign pressures. I'm sorry, BEING HAD is interesting as hell and it is about the truth. I say there is still a job that needs to be done and I say there are soon going to be a lot of people who are going to be asking for some justice in this issue. I say we are not old news, I say, we have only just begun.

More soon...


Blogger Mike said...

Adam, you have raised some important questions. I am not sure about your definition of contracts, I will have to think on this some more. But I am sure that during the darkest hours of Belarus' recent history, yours was the only American controlled English language blog coming out of Belarus that was not " a girlfriend of the cia and American foreign policy".

Now maybe there was some mission shift in that your blog originated as a way to work for justice in your case against Poland, but it has evolved into a very signifigant source of English language data on modern Belarus.

You have helped the people of Belarus in that the global blog community does seem to have a voice, and that many people in the world have likely been reminded that the US government isn't G_d.

I am sure there are many people who have taken a second look at our foreign policy where Belarus is concerned largely because of this blog.

I was not one of them, I was Pro-Lukashenka before I found your blog, but your blog gave me hope that I was not alone in my desire to support Lukashenka when he is right, and the people of Belarus in general.

So, who knows what will happen to your case with Poland. But your effect on Belarus has been signifigant. That is my opinion.

Your blog is actually my favorite online site to go and I personally love to read about your life there.

So, don't sweat it that you have evolved a little bit.

Morover, your effect on Poland is proably felt in some small way already. There are proably tourists who have decided to not go there, and travelers to Belarus who travel around Warsaw if possible. Thats money the Poles don't get.

Also, even though you personally haven't seen any justice in the case, I am sure that Zaremba has felt some pressure because of this, and ultimately there will be changes to the Polish legal system when enough people become aware of its problems. The Poles rely on tourism for their budget like anyone else, and when tourism start to slow down, the Poles must ask themselves why.

And, it IS possible that because of your case and this blog, there have been tourists and maybe bikers in Poland already who have been treated just a little more carefully because you stood up for yourself, and because of the blog.

As you become more and more widely read, there will be more and more people reading your story, and perhaps you will see changes, tangible changes in Poland because of your efforts.

Your struggle in Poland wasn't made easier by our embassy there, this is a great example of what I have been talking about, our embassy does what is right for it, not what is good for the American people.

Democracy my ass! Pound for pound and dollar for dollar American democracy sucks! For all the money we have here we should be like Switzerland squared or something. We should be the happiest most fair and most ethical country in the world! Instead we are a dangerous wildcard to the world, and a generally mediocre to shitty place to live domesticly.

But you know that ,you are from here. Your efforts in Poland were frusterated on multiple levels, but maybe one reason that our Embassy didn't help you is that there is a huge Polish community in Chicago and other cities, if our embassy had cried foul play, the Poles would have had a field day pointing at our own justice system in America!

Unless you are a millionaire or a congressmans son or something, the US embassy in any country doesn't give a crap about you. You are just an irritation.

The Embassy in Poland didn't help you because you were broke and they need to get to their next embassy party.

This is another reason Americans need to take some control over the State Department, the common people don't get any real help. They can give you a passport and they can talk shit about Belarus, but when it comes time to getting their hands dirty for a little guy, you get sold down the river.

Keep living in Belarus and telling us about your life. And keep up the work with the beinghad times! Plagerism? Give me a break, you are posting news stories from other sites, blog opinions are news stories, the next time some blogger gives you hell just give me their name and I will be happy to "review" some of their "work" , maybe after that they will be happy to be "plagerized" by you.

Mike Miller

Monday, December 25, 2006  

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