Mark Shuttleworth on Western media, Iraq, IS and Ukraine

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It’s very rare that the CEO of a technology outfit that’s based in the West takes an open stance on hot-button geopolitical issues. It’s even rarer that that position is (somewhat) counter to generally held opinion in the West.

But that’s what Mark Shuttleworth has done. Remember Mark Shuttleworth? He’s the founder of Canonical, the company behind a very popular Linux distribution called Ubuntu. He’s a pretty busy guy, and has done a lot for the Free Software community. I just didn’t know that he’s tuned in to geopolitical issues.

Now I know. And if you didn’t, now you do, too.

His take on Western media, Western politicians and what’s happening in Iraq and Ukraine was published on his personal blog in an article titled What Western media and polititians fail to mention about Iraq and Ukraine.

He does not actually address the issues to any great depth. He dances around the key points, either because he does not understand the real cause(s) of the issues or he understands it (or them), but is afraid to say so because it will pit him against some very powerful forces, forces that can make doing business in the West a lot more difficult than it already is for his company.

Which one is it? Does he know or not?

The concluding paragraph of the article should help in formulating an answer to that question. Here’s what he wrote:

Russia made a very grave error in arming Russian-speaking Ukranian separatists. But unless the West holds Kiev to account for its governance, unless it demands an open society free of discrimination, the misery there will continue. IS will gain nothing but contempt from its demonstrations of murder – there is no glory in violence on the defenceless and the innocent – but unless the West bends its might to the establishment of societies in Syria and Iraq in which these religious groups are welcome and free to pursue their ambitions, murder will be the only outlet for their frustration. Politicians think they have a new “clean” way to exert force – drones and airstrikes without “boots on the ground”. Believe me, that’s false. Remote control warfare will come home to fester on our streets.

A good attempt. But when it comes to geopolitical issues of this magnitude, there’s always more to them than meets the eye. Based on the contents of Mark’s article, especially the concluding paragraph, I can’t say for sure whether he knows what the real issues are or whether he knows and is afraid to say so openly. But it’s still a very good read, especially coming from the CEO of a technology outfit. You may read the complete article at here.

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