tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Syria dumps two-timing Facebook over Golan affair

"Men always want to be a woman's first love; women like to be a man's last romance. " -- Oscar Wilde.

Syria. She's a loyal gal. She's a one social-media-forum kind of woman. She's dated around, cautiously: Twitter, Skype, The Tuque Souq. But then she picked her favourite: Facebook. And for awhile, she and Facebook had a good thing going. It wasn't easy; she has a bit of the emotional baggage of Lebanon with a dash of the co-dependent tendencies of Iran. But Facebook grew on her, and she finally accepted that she could be loved.

Then she found out about the affair. Facebook was two-timing her. And with her bitter rival: Israel.

The affair took place in the rolling fertile hills of the Golan Heights, where cool breezes and waterfalls beckon lovers intent on a tryst.

From the beginning of their relationship until just a few weeks ago, Facebook considered the Golan Heights part of Syria; if when you created a Facebook profile your biographical information included the Golan Heights as a place of residence, Facebook would automatically consider your country of residence "Syria."

(For those of you just joining us, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and has held the region ever since; Syria (like most of the world) considers it Syrian territory and expects it back someday in a hypothetical peace agreement.)

But after a campaign by Israeli settlers in the Golan, Facebook altered its policy and now allows users from the Israeli-occupied region to choose which way they want to swing, whether they want their profiles to proclaim them from Israel or Syria. Facebook wants it both ways.

So Syria says to Facebook: "Just turn around now, you're not welcome anymore." Many Syrians and their sympathetic neighbours have launched a boycott of Facebook* in protest. Will they survive?

* Irony alert: Syria has blocked Facebook access in the past, but Net-savvy Syrians often get around the blockade by going through proxy sites that offer shadow IP addresses to conceal one's country of origin. Now, with Syrians engaging a self-blockading boycott, Syria's government won't lose sleep over how to keep its nationals from logging on and posting pithy status updates.

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