4 Jun 2005 roozbeh   » (Master)

The Google Summer of Code thing is a piece of shit. This is a quote:

Who is not eligible?

[...] citizens from the countries on the US State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism, which we are bound by law from engaging in commerce with.

Please tell me how this is not racism (or encouraging racism). Not any Iranian, Cuban, Syrian, North Korean, or Sudani student, living anywhere in the world (including the United States), may participate in the program. If the governments of those countries actually sponsor terrorism (I don't say they don't, or they do), what the United States government is doing is "state-sponsored racism".

I'm pissed off like hell, specially since I can't push any single Iranian developer, living anywhere in the world, to try to get involved in Free Software using the very tempting prize.

Update: It seems that some people don't understand how this is racism. It's the "citizen" thing that is racism. Let me translate what the US government is saying: "If you wish to be considered an equal member of the world economy, you should get a passport from another country. We don't consider people born in Iran from Iranian parents equal to people born in Bulgaria from Bulgarian parents."

Second update: Someone on the IRC suggested that it is not technically racism if not applied to a race instead of being applied to a nation, and suggested terms like ethnocentrism or xenophobia (which are not really descriptive of the idea either). But I really believe that if it feels like racism, it smells like racism, and it tastes like racism, it's god damn racism!

Third update: I'm reading through US government material about Iran at their Sanctions Guidelines page and their short overview. Please note that my main allegation is toward the US government practising racism. But at the same time, I am saying that Google is helping that racism by generalizing the discrimination for all Iranian citizens, even those living in, say, the United States. To quote a part of the overview document at the US Treasure website: "Services provided in the United States by an Iranian national already resident in the United States are not considered services of Iranian origin."

It's like having a discriminating law against "black people born slaves" and then seeing people living in that jurisdication voluntarily applying the restrictions also to all black people (to remain on the safe side?). The original restriction is clearly racism, and the voluntary generalization is also racism. That is true even if it has been a mistake from the Google's side: you should take special care when you say these things. If you don't, you are automatically considering all Iranian people sponsors of terrorism. (Ask people who were at GUADEC what kind of terrorists me and my friends were...)

As per Murray's suggestion, I'm contacting Google now. This is of course fighting racism by quoting the exact text of the law: "Dear Sir, I believe I am not considered exactly black because of this certain piece of detail here in the text, as I have only got this blackness of the skin by some disease and both my parents have been caucausians. I only look too black for you at the first glance."

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