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Syndicate: The Thing Rome and AvaNa Net censored by the City of Rome


From: subjesus@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 17:48:44 +0100
To: list@rhizome.org, syndicate@aec.at
Subject: The Thing Rome and AvaNa Net censored by the City of Rome

If you are...

a cultural worker, a journalist who loves the truth, an artist, an
activist, a citizen who cannot stand any longer the hysterical emergency
created around pedophilia and any other phenomenon treated in an irrational
and irresponsible way by the State's men and women and media, we ask you to
spread this message.
______________________________________________________________________________

«Each person, each association, each institution engaged in these days
of dramatic news in the struggle against pedophilia, should reflect
more often on what's happening and then, overcoming stupor and
concern, ask themselves how all this could have ever been possible
and how a public administration could have made it possible.
And wait for a reply from whom can and must give it".
                                           Father Fortunato di Noto,
President of Telefono Arcobaleno

____________________________________________________________________________

Rome, 4 / 10 / 2000
The axe of censorship falls on the Roman Civic Network
AvAnA Net and The Thing Rome censored by the City of Rome


What is happening in these hours in Rome is incredible. In two days, two
squalid cases of censorship have fallen on the Roman Civic Network, hitting
two groups, AvaNa Net and The Thing Rome, highly active in these years in
the telematic, cultural and social fields. To determine the choice of the
City of Rome to obscure the pages of these two groups, the anti-pedophilia
hysteria fed by different organs of information and by a political class
incapable of distinguishing pedophilia from a critical reflection on the
same phenomenon, morbid images from common prints of the 1700s.

Let's ricapitulate the facts. Following the umpteenth denunciation by
Father Fortunato di Noto, the priest President of the "Rainbow
Association" (a name used by gay associations as well!), whose mission is to 
hunt pedophiles and satanists on the Internet, the vicedirector general of the
City of Rome, Mariella Gramaglia, decides to obscure on the 2 October, the
pages of AvanaNet, an historical group of the Roman telematic scene.

Various Italian national newspapers, such as Il Messaggero
(http://www.ilmessaggero.it/hermes/20001003/01_NAZIONALE/CRONACA_DI_ROMA/APRE.ht
m),

Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, report, on 3 October, extracts from
the site containing some messages on the presumed sexual pleasure that
minors would feel in erotic rapport with adults. That's enough to provoke
the denunciation of the courageous priest and the explosive declarations of
Gramaglia, who after having suspended the site, threatens to denounce AvaNa
"in civil and criminal courts to have offended her honor and that of the
City of Rome".

What the newspapers omit to say, or say in an incomplete way. is that the
phrases in question come from a book - published in its entirety on the
site - entitled "Let the little children..." and signed  with the
pseudonym Luther Blissett. Re-inserting in the right context - that it is an 
enquiry into the phenomenon of pedophilia and the political instrumental use 
that is made of it - the phrases in question in fact lose any morbid profile.

"Let the little children..." is in fact a counter enquiry on
pedophilia and satanism that in 1997 sought to make some clarity in the 
ubiquitous media hysteria and focused on the risk of a new level of limitations 
of civil liberties. In the text there isn't the slightest exaltation of any 
form of violence against minors or adults but, being a serious enquiry, the book
contains many citations from clinical  studies that take into
considerations sexual experiences between minors and adults. In particular
the citations quoted by Father Fortunato di Noto has been extracted from a
book of psychology "Child and Sex", published by Little Brown and
Company, publishing house that is part of the multinational group Time Warner.

The book (in Italian) can be found online at the following URLs

http://www.LutherBlisset.net/archive_it/227_it.html
http://www.ecn.org/deviazioni/blissetto/pedofilia/lasciate.htm


It's also interesting why AvANa had decided to reproduce  the book i its
entirety on the space given to AvANa  by the City.  In 1998, Lucia Musti,
Pubblic Prosecutor in the case against the satanist sect of "Children of
Satan" - (the case resulted in the absolution of all charges) - decided to
denounce some servers which were already hosting the text. In solidarity
with the denounced providers AvANa publicly decided to give space on their
site to the book.

Strange that the charge contested by Musti against the author of the book,
was the one of defamation via  press and "abuse of critique" toward
her operation in the proceeding against "Children of Satan". Strange that
a Public Prosecutor, usually very attentive to questions related to
pedophilia, didn't reveal any causes to proceed criminally against the
authors.

Without keeping in consideration all the context and all these precedents,
the City of Rome attributed the responsibility for the contents of the book
to AvaNa, throwing mud over a piece of history of social telematic in Italy
with its declarations. But the story won't finish here...


Second Act: the prints of the 1700s enter the scene

The second act of this sad tale begins on 4 October when the group of The
Thing Roma - one of seven nodes of the international network of The Thing
dedicated to net art and net culture- realised that an HTML document on
their site containing an interview by Ricardo Dominguez with Francesca da
Rimini, alias doll yoko, (originally published on The Thing New York in
1997), had been removed. A letter of explanation from Mauro Biddau, member
of the Vice Direction General of the City of Roma and webmaster of Rete
Civica was received by The Thing on the same day. In this letter Biddau
admitted to having removed two images from the HTML document (but in fact
he had removed the entire document) because "they were not in line with the
rules of agreement between the City of Rome and non-profit associations for
the development of the Roman Civic Network". But in reality this accord
limits associations to not using the net to transmit material which might
be offensive to anyone.

The incredible thing is that the images in question - that you can see
together with the interview (in Italian) at 
http://www.thing.net/~dollyoko/censored/dollyoko.html (or a
slightly different version in English at 
http://sysx.org/gashgirl/dolliv/doleview.htm) - have been
used in "doll space" (http://www.thing.net/~dollyoko), a well known work of
internet art, financed by the New Media Fund of the Australia Council, winner 
of two international prizes, exhibited in numerous festivals and its "perverted
pages" acquired by the University of Westminster.

Furthermore, the GIF animations in question had been created by an artist
using a Dutch printing press in 1789 (what a subversive date!), that was
one of the first illustrations of the political/literary works of the
Marquis de Sade (another noted pervert, unfortunately his texts are now all
legal and in circulation). Other images from this often reproduced series,
also capable of provoking "scandal" and "offence", even if they were created 
200 years ago, can be found
at  http://www.opkamer.nl/amea/members/sade.htm

After having stared at all of this we are feeling totally in accord with
Father Fortunato di Noto in the affirmation that:

«Each person, each association, each institution [...], should reflect
more often on what's happening and then, overcoming stupor and
concern, ask themselves how all this could have ever been possible
and how a public administration could have made it possible.
And wait for a reply from whom can and must give it".

We think that the time of waiting is over. And that it is necessary to take
back the words. Using all the means at our disposal, including legal means,
the right to our honour remains intact, our name unblemished, our ideas
trampled by people who live in fear and use this fear only for political
and electoral aims.

It is necessary to arrive at a total campaign that rebuts the dangerous
perception that is being created around those who simply intend to express
their true thoughts, to make political or cultural action, or in the end,
to breathe. Your help can be precious:

Please send this message to Mauro Biddau:

Mauro Biddau <m.biddau@comune.roma.it> Web master of the City Council of
Rome
Claudia De Paolis <cored@comune.roma.it> Member of the General Direction
of the City Council

Or:

Send them as an attachment images of the 1700s prints from this website

http://www.opkamer.nl/amea/members/sade.htm

Or from the Doll Yoko website:

http://www.thing.net/~dollyoko


Create your own form of protest and spread it.

Subscribe to this appeal at:

The Thing Roma <mailto:thing_it@katamail.com>


Best wishes,

The Thing Roma
http://www.romacivica.net/thething

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Contacts:

The Thing Roma <thing_it@katamail.com>
Marco Deseriis <snafu@kyuzz.org>
Giuseppe Marano <subjesus@yahoo.com>


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