As a historian and self-confessed bibliophile, I despise censorship of any kind by anyone at any time. If you disagree with an author, the simple course of action is to not purchase their work(s).
With the Internet, books are easier to come by today than in any other time in human history. You can shop in thousands of bookstores and never leave home. Click some buttons and the book is en route to your mailbox and will arrive in a few days.
An easy way to access the internet is via your so-called smartphone. What a wonderful tool. You can reach out to friends and family from just about anywhere on the planet. You can order stuff from anywhere on the planet. You can take photographs anywhere at any time. The flip side is bad characters and government can reach out to you, also. Your smartphone is imminently hackable, and your life is an open book. The folks who invented the smartphone just issued a new security alert warning of just that. Please download the latest software update to protect yourself.
They have announced the introduction of their thirteenth version of the device. I do not own one so I will withhold opinion on the value of the new attractions. My idiot phone (an older flip cellphone) meets all of my needs.
As I was writing this review article, I received an offer in the mail from my telephone service provider to extend my service for two more years. In return for which they will send me a “free” smartphone. Sorry folks, I learned a long time ago nothing is free. So, why is it so important to my provider that I carry a smartphone? Is my information that worthy of their analysis? I have no desire to collect information for them to be stored on the ‘cloud’.
Always On by Rory Cellan-Jones gives us the history of the smartphone since it was born in January 2007 up to this year. Yes, it is only fourteen (14) years old, but look what it has done to humanity. With great fanfare Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world and away we have gone. The author gives us an enjoyable ride through those years with anecdotes of the positives and the negatives. He wakes up each morning by the alarm on his phone and instinctively reaches for the gadget to check his email and Twitter account before putting his feet on the floor. Seven days a week. His phone is always in his hand, pocket, or briefcase and always on. Sound familiar?
The old analogy of fire is wonderful and terrible in that it gives us warmth and cooks our food but can destroy your property and millions of acres of forests. The smartphone is similar.
There are scores of highly trained professionals studying the effects the phone has on humans and the jury is still out. I will not belabor you with stories of what I have seen except to say it has given birth to a new style of rudeness. The phone always comes first. The phone rings and conversation ceases. Period.
There are governments, both good and evil, using smartphones to govern their citizens. There is a fine line between the good and the evil. The Chinese Communist Party has chosen the evil side. It surveils its citizens 24-hours a day with CCTV, informers, internet monitoring, and smartphones. It works quite hard at disguising/hiding its’ activities, but there is always a leak, so we know what they are doing.
The same device can be used to locate missing people, stolen cars, and the location of the nearest coffee shop. It takes nice photos and is handy in emergencies. It also surveils your every move and conversation. The choice is yours.
The Chief Witness
The Chief Witness by Sayragul Sauytbay and Alexandra Cavelius is the story of Mrs. Sauytbay’s life inside the prison camp known as China. Caroline Waight is the translator of the work.
A highly educated lady, she survived internment, physical and mental torture merely because of her ancestry. Lucky for us she has escaped to the free world and is telling us her horrific story. She is incredibly brave. Sadly, her story is not unique. Millions of humans are being subjected to the same genocidal treatment.
After decades of studying Nazism in Germany and Communism in various nations, I can assure you the Chinese government has learned from those two evil systems and has enhanced its methods in its stated goal to control the entire world. The Chief Witness is a tough read, but necessary for freedom lovers wanting to know their enemy.
I usually advise readers to purchase books I discuss from your favorite bookseller, but that is not the case with The Chief Witness. I suggest you go straight to the publisher or Barnes and Noble. It is not available on Amazon or Walmart. When the book was published last May I put it on my Amazon Wish List as a means of keeping it on my radar until my budget caught up. Amazon sent me a message that they would notify me when the book became available. In mid-August my budget caught up with my Wish List and the message was the same, so I checked Barnes and Noble, bn.com, and saw the book was available for the same price. I ordered it and it hit my mailbox four days later.
It appears Amazon has figured out a new way of censorship. List the book, but do not sell hardcopies. It has been listed since May 2021, but only on their Kindle, but not everyone has that toy. That limits distribution of the story the Chinese Communist government does not approve of. Kindle copies are easily deleted. A paper copy in your hand is yours for as long as you want to keep it. I’ll keep my copy of this book in my library for future reference.
I recommend both books to you as they are well-written and highly informative.
The Chief Witness by Sayragul Sauytbay and Alexandra Cavelius
Publisher: Scribe, 29488 Woodward, Suite 426, Royal Oak, MI 48073 or scribe-publishing.com
320 pages, published May 2021
Always On by Rory Cellan-Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum. Easy to find and order from your favorite bookseller.
304 pages, published July 2021