The real story is that ‘developing’ nations have done remarkably better at fighting COVID-19 than the rich and white. The real story starts precisely where the western map ends. Here be dragons. We be dragons.

The real story is that places like Vietnam and Mongolia have completely kicked COVID-19’s ass. The real story is that places like Rwanda and Ghana have innovated and survived. There are countless stories like this — from Sri Lanka to Trinidad & Tobago, but you wouldn’t know because we’re not rich or white. But you should know. Because we’re right. This information could save your life.

(But please keep posting about a vaccine, eating like normal, and relying on your institutions to save you. It'll all work out for you I'm sure.)

@alcinnz gonna tag you because I know you and I have fallen into this trap as viewing New Zealand as a good model for COVID response.

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@emsenn There may be better models to look to, but New Zealand certainly isn't a bad one. We're pretty well on top of COVID19 here unlike pretty much any other western nation.

In part though that's the luck of being an island nation making it trivial to close our borders (even if there were questions early on whether we had the political will that turned out to be unwarrented).

@alcinnz I mean, that /does/ make a bad model: there is a clear single thing that other countries cannot do that had a major effect on events.

@emsenn Well for me, it's mostly that New Zealand is the example I'm familiar than anything else... And it is a decent example of how effective a good lockdown can be... Or how to effectively communicate...

I've heard mentions of the others mentioned in the article, but mostly I feel a need to turn away from the trainwreck occuring in the US and anywhere else the "international" news covers. My father meanwhile can't turn away, and my sister wishes to have reality back.

@alcinnz I've been thinking about how to reply to this for a bit, and:

Why does turning away from the US mean turning to your own government?

If I didn't want to go to Waffle House because they might give me food poisoning, but I don't have anything but cheerios in the cabinet...

...I'd look and see if there's anyplace that actually has safe waffles.

Does that make sense?

It, to me, seems like a reliance on things coming from White cultures, to say, basically, "Well, if I can't look at the US, I gotta look to NZ."

Why wouldn't you look to whoever is /actually/ succeeding?

@emsenn Others probably should!

It's just they're taking good enough care of me, as a citizen, that I have the luxery of focusing my attention elsewhere. When I point to New Zealand as an example that's because it's what I know best simply by being in it.

@alcinnz <_< I dunno how to make it clear that you are "blind" in the same way the article accuses media of.

You should be /amazed/ at the opportunity to observe /anything/ of a culture that is better at handling, well, life, than you are. I mean, if an operating system came out that ran on your current hardware with the exact same features but used half the electricity, wouldn't you check it out and try and learn from it?

But instead you're choosing to focus on your own OS stack and those shittier than them, as though that's the extend of OSes available.

That's a categorically provincial way of looking at the world, and one that is not reflective of us sharing a planet, let alone a colonial history.

@alcinnz There are other nations who make NZ look like Florida, and didn't even have the benefit of being an island: you're gonna need a better justification for not looking to those cultures for guidance and education than "it's not easy."

@alcinnz Like this isn't just about how to stay safe from COVID: your culture has demonstrated a significant flaw in its ability to survive, while others have not.

The numbers are there to prove that, the question is now on you: what are you going to do about that?

@emsenn Yes, I am being blind and scared. I freely admit that.

Yes, I see *a whole lot* wrong with my culture.

I just want to conserve my spoons.

@alcinnz If you don't have the spoons to think about the world around you, except as packaged by your culture, then I think it's worth seriously asking if you're "being taken care of" in a way that actually meets your needs.

@emsenn I'm *mostly not* thinking about the world outside NZ this year.

@alcinnz My reaction to that is "ew gross" so I'm gonna sit on it for a bit, but, also, ew, gross, it makes me feel gross you boosting my like, MUD-posting if you're ignoring my helping-starving-homeless-posting and my your-way-of-life-is-killing-mine-posting. :\

@emsenn Fair enough, that has been our relationship.

Didn't know how to feel about it. My feed has been predominantly focused on a handful of topics I don't get enough chance to talk about IRL, and I try to keep it that way.

Hopefully I'll get over this, or find a way to look at the world outside NZ past the western dumpster fire.

@emsenn Probably next year I'll feel more comfortable peeking out from my hidey-hole again. Not much chance the world would be much better, but at least I'll know how bad you in the US have it from your federal government.

New Zealand would still be the example I know best, but it'd certainly be worth seeing who did/is-doing better. At the very least I'd need the positivity!

@alcinnz I think my biggest problem is that you phrase this as a choice motivated by fear, and you don't give equal or greater credit to the privilege that lets you be afraid, instead of injured, or that lets you experience these things as headlines, not violence.

Do you know what I would give to spend a week able to believe that the fight for open-source is meaningful? But I literally can't go that long without some white person harassing me in person with slurs or fists.

Or, hell: do you know what I would give to have a place that is predominantly focused on a handful of topics... I cannot talk about in real life because they result in physical violence from fascists and police? I mean, I posted about "hey lets not always focus on white people" here and I got called a redskin 3 times and a savage once! What do you get called, a nerd?

You're saying, "Look, I've got so much privilege I literally don't know what to do with it, that's stressful, let me just talk about computers."

But... you aren't pointing to your privilege. You're pointing to your fear, trying to be relateable.

Yea, alright: I've got fears too. I've got a boss that threatens to evict me and has tried to change the locks on me a few times in the past few months. I have no reliable income but need to keep providing Internet so my partner can make it through school. There was a pickup truck with a MAGA flag hanging from the bed that drove through my parking lot firing guns into the sky last night as I was going to bed, and I'm about to go do wellness checks at a homeless camp.

I'm scared too, and I don't have /anyplace/ I can turn to for escape.

And I'm a lot more privileged than a lot of folk I know.

That's fine if you wanna rely on your privilege to bask in your emotionalism: but please, have the compassion to recognize that as a privilege, and that by indulging it, you're making it /harder/ for me to ever get to a point where I get to relax.


I also remember that, it /was/ last year the last time we had a talk like this. You weren't ready to deal with this shit then, and things were a whole lot more stable than they will be next year. I don't think you'll look to other nations for positivity, if you aren't doing it now: you'll continue to let yourself be forced to look at the US, and continue to go "well, at least I'm not them."

I liked your boosts when I thought they were part of your approach to building up a set of tools that would let you tackle these issues, in your own way.

Now, they seem like a white man's attempt at plugging their ears and screaming "lalala" while the world around them burns: others have election news, others have sports or conspiracies against liberals... and you've got computers.


If you didn't have the courage to look at the reality of the world during a time of privilege and calm, and you don't have the courage to do it now, when you're privileged but on the potential edge of chaos, where are you going to pull that courage from if this chaos actually affects your life?


It's one thing to have a hobby to deal with the stress of the world.

It's another to hold that hobby but represent it as a solution to the stress of the world. That's what you give ever appearance of doing.

If you're just in this for the recreation, that should be a real loud disclaimer you make: "Hey I'm a fucking privileged white dude fucking about for fun, here's my opinions on things that don't affect me!"

Otherwise you're taking all the air out of the room when it should be there so folk ACTUALLY threatened by these systems can ACTUALLY plan technology to route around it, not be shushed and shrugged off while y'all work on your toys.

@emsenn Funny, I don't remember that. Yes, I need to change!

Let's make that my 2021 resolution? Also I need to get over my childhood loneliness...

I do hope I can help to reduce the harms of corporate harms of computing, and I think it's the best way I can help. But as you say I'm not the one who's being threatened.


@alcinnz Hard times to address the loneliness I think a lot of us have been cultivating in the back of our heads since we were kids. :(

I think you probably can... meet goals like that, but it'll take some hard thought about what the goals actually are: is it to reduce corporate harms, or eliminate them? I'd encourage you to maybe shift from trying to solve the harm to doing more to learn your place within it.

I used to think my MUD would be a meaningful tool for folk to like, grapple with the future and stuff - and if you read my posts today, I still do think that it'll be a useful tool for that, for myself and close friends.

But it took a lot of hard recognition of privilege that like... I'm simply not qualified to really address many harms, because I am far too insulated in layers of privilege to actually /know/ the harms.

Some stuff I can grapple with: restorative pedology for example. But other issues? I honestly dont' think there's a person alive that /can/ grapple with them: we just need to be setting the stage so that a generation or two down the line, the folk who CAN have the means to.

All of us alive today are too coerced by the kyriarchy to be honest judges of what a solution outside it might be: best we can do is work to know our place in the kyriarchy, to identify and preserve those parts of life it hasn't yet extinguished, and cultivate those as tools for the future.

/that/ I think your approach to code does well.

But... does someone kept alive by the kyriarchy, who doesn't look outside the kyriarchy, have much "life" preserved outside the kyriarchy that they can work with?

So if you wanna change, make space for that kind of living - that's what I'm talking about when I say "kill the cop in your head" - and look for examples of ways of living outside the kyriarchy. They have more relevance to computing than you'd think, p much everyone would enjoy a spreadsheet.

@emsenn Yeah, this sort of thinking is what steers me towards developing web browsers, rather than, say, a social network...

I know just enough to fear I'd just make social networks worse! That most who think otherwise are probably culturally blind.

@alcinnz Ahh but then you get into issues like, if your tool if useful regardless of a user's ideology, in a world with one ideology having most of the material resources, doesn't that equate to making tools for that ideology?

Which isn't to say that biased tools are the only option, but to emphasize that in certain cases (spreadsheets, web browsers, MUD engines), it is the context that matters much more than the software.

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Welcome to the Native Reclamation of Turtle Island

Decolonize food. Decolonize medicine. Decolonize housing. Decolonize from European place names, words, languages, statues, and accounting systems that DO NOT BELONG on Turtle Island, and are killing the whole planet. Decolonize education. Decolonize from social media platforms founded by corrupt white supremacists: Facebook and Twitter. Decolonize from genocidal settler cash, and the cancer that is C.H.A.R.L.O.T.T.E. #LivingWalls, not border walls....