Tech & Rights

You May Follow My Fitness Diary. Or Not

You do not have to be ashamed about something for it to be the case that you do not want to share that thing.

by Orsolya Reich

To tell you the truth, I am fairly anal. I log my finances, I have neatly ordered folders for my diplomas and medical records, and if I want to, I can check how my workouts went in the last 7 years and what my weight was on a particular day. When I am on a diet, I log my meals too. I am not really secretive about my private life. I share quite a lot with friends and acquaintances. And I am not ashamed of my finances (okay, probably I should not have visited the arts and crafts store five times in February), the way I eat (do not mention that big jar of Nutella, please), my weight or my training regime. Does this mean that if I were asked, I would have no problem with making my logs public?


You may say that there simply must be something in there I am ashamed of. If there were nothing, I would have no problem with the idea of making my logs public. But this is not so. You do not have to be ashamed about something for it to be the case that you do not want to share that thing.

Just think about your bedroom. If what goes on there is between two consenting adults, surely there is nothing to be ashamed of. Still, you can easily imagine people making fun of you, or worse, mistreating you if they got hold of the home video you made last night with your partner.

We are living in a world with many jerks. And many of our fellow citizens are not real jerks, but will believe and follow jerks if they are loud enough. It is clear that there is no shame in supporting rights defenders. But in a country where people are told by authoritarians that human rights defenders are traitors to national interests, many people would rightfully freak out when the government starts to force rights defenders to publish the names of their donors. They will fear that their social relationships or employment status will suffer once their donation becomes public. This is especially true if they donate to rights defenders working with unpopular groups, like the homeless, immigrants, Roma or LGBTQI people. And many of them, understandably, would rather stop donating.

So when some governments say that if people were not doing anything shameful, they would not freak out by the idea of doing the same thing publicly and they would certainly not behave differently, they are simply telling a lie. When governments force rights defenders to publish the names of their private donors, what they really want is to take away your right to show compassion privately. They want people to donate less and rights defenders to have less money to stand up for the rights of the people.

By the way, this is the log of my favourite workout.



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