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The world really is flat… but it doesn’t stop injustice January 5, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Education, Friends, News, News and politics.
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Pray for KenyaA few years ago a book titled “The World is Flat” was written by economist, Thomas Friedman. No, Mr. Friedman is not a member of the Flat Earth Society. The premise of the book is not that Christopher Columbus was wrong when he said the world was round and set out to sail West from Europe to reach the Far East. Instead, the premise of the book is that there are no barriers to competing on a global scale — the playing field is level — or flat. With today’s technology (especially technology like the Internet) political, geographical, racial, and even religious boundaries disappear.

Last weekend when I began to hear and read reports of the political and social upheaval in Kenya I immediately thought of a friend of mine. This friend owns and operates a free discussion board about Kenya. It was one of the earliest ones set up and since it’s hosted outside of Kenya, it’s immune from any influence from the government. This also let’s people be free to say what they want, hopefully without any chance of retaliation (assuming they decide to keep their identity private). He once blogged (here) about someone who didn’t like what was being posted on that discussion board and wanted my friend, as the sysadmin, to remove the post(s). Of course, the idea of “freedom of speech” is that people are free to express their opinions. Needless to say, with all of the sad and tragic things happening in the aftermath of the botched election in Kenya the discussion board is much busier than normal.

More than any point in history social and political injustices happening around the world can be documented and communicated to anyone (or everyone) no matter where they are in the world. The ubiquitousness of technology like digital cameras and digital video means that photos and video can be made of events and violence as it happens. Then, with the Internet and sites that provide free hosting of photo or video recordings and the availability of free blogging services anyone can publish what they capture. Why is it that when a government wants to control a people they start with the media? Because communication is power.

There is a lot of very sad news coming out of Kenya. The images and video footage of the riots and violence is really tragic. Thanks to Ruth, I just found out about this list of blogs covering the events in Kenya. I hope and pray that all of this communication enabled by technology will make a difference and people will come to the aid of the innocent Kenyans being injured or killed and their property destroyed.

I wish there was more that I could do about Kenya. Living in a flat world doesn’t necessarily prevent nor stop injustice and violence inflicted on innocent people.

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Comments»

1. DrBacchus - January 5, 2008

One of the interesting things that’s happened is that the video footage that’s been posted on MSNBC is being used for some vigilante witch hunts of various men caught on camera doing various unspeakable things to their neighbors. And there’s been talk of other footage being used to indict folks participating in riots and other disturbances of the peace.

Meanwhile, while technology is removing the anonymity of mob “justice”, folks are using the anonymity on my website to incite that very same violence, and saying other positively awful things about their fellow countrymen.

I guess the lesson is that people behave much as they always did, just in different places.

2. Ruth - January 6, 2008

Hey Matsu, thanks for passing this on further.


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