I have been having some lively discussions on Linkedin about our world. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, has announced his plan to bring internet to the world. Bill Gates says let's feed people first. While I have great respect for both men, I think both are right. Our world is definitely having an issue with food distribution. Much of that issue is directly influenced by oppressive regimes and how they treat their people. The influential governments around the world use sanctions and limited aid to cripple these regimes, thus food doesn't come.
Where my discussions became lively was in my assertion that the internet has played a part in the toppling of governments throughout the middle east. It seems to me that the more connected to the outside world these countries become, the less their people are willing to live without the basic freedoms they are witnessing elsewhere.
Perspectives are many and varied. When lines are drawn on perspectives, then confusion, chaos, and wars erupt. I remember an amazing trip to Egypt I took in 2000. I spent a month traveling the country and meeting its amazingly wonderful people. After climbing Mt Sinai, my wife and I climbed into a car with two young Egyptian men who were our drivers. On our drive home one of these young men asked,” Why do Americans support Israel?” The Answer I gave him didn't seem to satisfy his need, but it was the answer I had. I said to him that ninety percent of Americans don't know why. Ninety percent of Americans are just going about their day, taking the kids to soccer practice, shopping for the latest popular widget, or gabbing about the latest episode of their favorite show. I told him that,” Americans” for the most part are just not involved in whats happening here. On our trip we stopped and bought some geodes from some local Bedouins, after which I continued,” Do you think the Bedouin's are more interested in selling us Geodes or in world politics?”
The internet is opening the eyes of world to what people are doing with their day. Woman who can't walk in public without covering their face see other women going about their day with the sun on their face. People, who want to practice in religions that aren't “Acceptable” see others who can practice freely. They strive for change. Atrocities that happen are now reported through Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. We know more about the starving in the world due in no small part to the internet and the people who use it.
Edward Snowden released a bunch of documents showing questionable uses of the internet. Whether you agree what he did or not, he is a person separate from the government. There will always be individuals who are passionate about all sorts of issues. Though I do not agree with what he did, I think its a good thing that he did it. I want to live in a world where there are checks and balances. Edward Snowden proves that Checks and Balances is a natural part of how people interact. He felt justified because of the freedoms he was afforded. Who did he reach out to? He reached out to the people of the internet. Who have forced an open conversation about it. Controversial acts shine light where there was none. That said, the internet shows us where the starving are and helps us mobilize to feed them.
So I see the new rulers of the world are not the Politicians, Dictators, or Regimes, but the people who are becoming more aware and coming together as one world and it a good thing.