Change. A beautiful word that encompasses every aspect of life. Active or passive, the process of change underpins our very existence. From the day we are born to the day we die, the one thing our body, soul and mind does, is to change.
As the credit crisis hits the global financial markets, despite the aid promised by cash rich Gulf States, our current generation is still dominated by the American experience, a large part of which is driven by American culture exported around the world and American innovation.
On the one hand we have digital voting booths which despite the fiasco that led to GW Bush's reelection; reports observe that machines were faulty with some facilities loosing a thousand votes at a time. Moving away from political technology to social technology, the internet is spearheading campaigns far and wide. Obama's campaign was a masterpiece, as well as capturing donations from traditional high value supporters; they sought donations from everyday people - low value, high volume. Traction.
The past few years have shown terrorists have used the internet to push out their message of hate. They have exploited the innocence of individuals, and in the case of jahil (read: Muslim) terrorists, exploited the ignorance
The past few years have shown terrorists have used the internet to push out their message of hate.
many vocal Muslim have with regards to the teachings of Islam and the sanctity of human life. For some time, we the general citizens of the world were subject to video message after message placed on the internet by leading terrorist figures.
Recent events showed how a video clip of a leading Chinese politician who assaulted an 11 year old girl, that was caught on CCTV camera, spread via the internet, led to positive action. Caught arguing, threatening the girls father, even offering to pay him for her, as a man would to a pimp for a prostitute, individuals became outraged. An on-line campaign was launched; he was tracked down (Lin Jiaxiang, party secretary of the Shenzhen Maritime Bureau) and promptly fired by the Government. Corruption exists everywhere, but kudos to the Chinese government for taking the right decision.
Today we are witnessing the influence of information, its distribution, and its control. From traditional 'information' on buses displays, to indirect advertising by offering voters free coffee and doughnuts, to newer forms of information such as social networking sites like face book where over 1.7 million individuals donated their 'status line' to support Barack Obama. With more than 120 million active users of whom 36 million are based in the United States, these 1.7 million users represent a significant population demonstrating how new technology can affect change, initiate dialogue, becoming the terrorists worst enemy.
Terrorism thrives on disorder, chaos and ignorance driven by a misguided passion. As a movement, to affect the masses, it relies on misrepresenting facts. This is why under GW Bush, terrorism flourished. A couple of leading examples being the false implied association with Saddam Hussein as having something to do with 9/11 so as to justify a war leading to the farce that is Iraq today; to manipulation of international law to create a center for torture in Guantanamo Bay, slowly stripping away the freedoms, rights, processes of justice that differentiates us, the good citizens of the world from terrorists. The only way to combat terrorism is not by responding unjustly, it is to respond with justice, something the Bush administration overlooked in a desperate attempt to curtail the problem of jahil terrorism.
Obama isn't the perfect solution but he is the answer to many of our prayers. He has inherited a difficult legacy one where the world loves the American people but hates certain aspects of American policy as they affect eachand every one of us. The upcoming years will show whether he is capable of delivering his vision of change. And that, finally, an American Politician can pronounce the name of 'Pakistan' correctly, is for me a glimmer of hope suggesting that respect and fairness may be less of a dream becoming more of a reality.
Already, Obama has used new media and newer forms of information and communication to reach out to the everyday American. It is new technology that contributed to his victory, a trend which I personally hope will continue throughout his years in office. To me, if just 10% of Obama's vision of inclusion, dialogue and interaction, is achieved, America will find itself on the 'road to recovery'.
This is why 'they' fear him. They are scared of education. They are scared of people becoming informed. They are scared of stereotypes being removed. They are scared of their medium, the internet, no longer being the medium which they can exploit. The American people have spoken, the American people want change, and the power of democracy has shown that America may now return and exceed itself by becoming the once great nation (despite its flaws) it once was.
The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and not necessarily of Vibes.