Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Founder of Demand Progress

This story really inspired me, taken from:

Dedication, xion, perseverance, and a never-ending desire to help his fellow man. These are just some of the words we can use to describe Aaron Swartz, a hero who fought for the freedom of information, even when it cost him his own life. And even when all the odds were stacked against him, Aaron kept on keeping on, knowing that all his work and effort will never be put to shame.

Aaron Swartz was a computer programmer, author, and internet activist who became famous for his fight against the “Stop Online Piracy Act”. A genius and prodigy like no other, Aaron greatly contributed to the development of many of the things that we enjoy today in the online world such as the RSS, Reddit, Jottit and others, at an age where many of us would still be playing video games and outdoor sports. As an activist he was very influential, to the point that even after his death, his legacy ensured that the movement to free information was going to move forward.


Aaron was really a person like no other. He was a prodigy, someone who possessed massive potential and had a great future ahead of him. In fact, as a testament to his remarkable intellect and prodigious skills, he won an ArsDigita Prize at the age of thirteen for developing a web application that is still being used today. He was a research fellow at Harvard University, and his influence was such that he became one of the leaders who successfully fought against the Stop Online Piracy Act.


Many who had the privilege of working with Aaron would tell you just how xionate he was when he set his eyes on doing something – it was like he was pouring his whole heart and soul into it, and this is why he became so successful even at a young age. Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, once said of Aaron in an interview:

“Every time you saw Aaron, he was surrounded by five or 10 different people who loved and respected and worked with him.”


Even when all the odds were working against him, Aaron continued to persevere. This is most probably why he lasted two years against the seemingly overwhelming might of those who constantly persecuted him through arrests and charges, wanting to keep him silent and discourage him from fighting for the freedom of information. In the midst of all the trials and tribulations, Aaron moved forward, keeping his eye on the goal that someday, everyone would be able to access the information that could make this world a better place to live in.

Aaron’s life, no matter how short it may have been, was not wasted. His actions and words continue to stir the hearts of millions of people today, and his legacy is the increasing desire of the global population to fight for the right to freedom of information. It was a short life, but a life well lived for Aaron Swartz.

“Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American and worldwide politics. His legacy may still yet do so.” – Cory Doctorow on Aaron Swartz

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