The Tamil community has suddenly entered the world of information technology and the younger generation has been using it without any self control and this has lead to many problems
During a recent conversation with a friend, the topic of internet and mobile phone use in the Tamil Eelam area, after the war came up for discussion and my friend was sad at the excessive and improper use of such technological innovations and the problems created after such improper use.
The Tamil community has suddenly entered the world of information technology and the younger generation has been using it without any self control and this has lead to many problems, my friend languished.
Many issues taboo during the war has now been opened up for our society. It is easier to culturally destroy a society when it has been already crushed politically. The chauvinist Sinhalese know this very well.
Uncontrolled use of liquor, drugs,films and information which actually do not give any sex education but only sexual thoughts and urge. Internet chatting without self protection. Threatening girl students and young women with obscene SMS messages, is spreading fast in the Tamil eelam areas. Finding someone from the younger generation without a cell phone is very rare.
Whenever a society gets modernized knowledge of how to handle the problems cropping up should also be imparted along with. How the younger generation uses the internet and mobile phones for creative issues actually come from such knowledge imparted.
Even in many African countries where severe property prevails, advertisements for mobile phones could be seen even in rural areas. The cell phones reach the people before water reaches the people in drought. Whether we like it or not we have got to approve this information technology.
Let us analyze the darker side of this information technology some other time. We will in this column see the important page on the growth of information technology.
The number of people using the social network services (My Services, Face book) and the internet communication services (Skype, Messengers) and mobile phone information exchanging services (SMS, MMS) are increasing day by day. Especially those using the social networking sites share their thoughts, political opinions and their readings. Based on this, those who have similar ideas sometimes gather themselves as a group.
Apart from this they meet in a cyber world or in the digital world and sometimes outside these worlds too. Bloggers meetings in Sri Lanka and India could be mentioned in this regard, but exchange of political opinion was avoided in these meetings, but there is no guarantee that such avoidance of political opinions will be permanent.
If you look at how the above information technology is used in other parts of the world, my above fact could be confirmed.
Former American president Ronald Reagan in the year 1989 has said that government wielding dictator powers could be compared to Goliath while they face defeat by David the Microchips. Later on another president Bill Clinton had said that censoring internet is like pasting jelly on a wall. Third on this presidential line up George Bush had said “just imagine internet gobbling the whole of China and see how fast freedom will spread in China”.
That is why China goes for very strict censorship on internet and when the need arises goes for total blockage in the provinces.
Action to ban the use of superior quality Black Berry phones in India and Saudi Arabia was on the cards. But the Berry Company had compromised with the above governments and is now continuing their business as usual .This is a good example of what is happening around.
While the internet and mobile phones bring together the people who raise their voices against governments which misuse power and oppression. On the other hand this turns out to be the proof in identifying those who engage in demonstrating against the power wielding regimes.
Recently a demonstration took place in Belarus against Alexander Lukashenka, the long time ruler of the country. The government had identified the ones who took part in the demonstration on that day from the list of those who had used their mobile phones on that day and is now taking revenge from them.
Internet and mobile phone networks are now blocked in Egypt and the American president says this.
There are some common values in respect to the whole world; they are the right to express thoughts and the rights of an individual to express his feelings. As such the use of social networks of the people should not be blocked.
But last year American senator Joe Lieberman had told that the American president should have the authority to terminate internet connection when the need arises as in China. This will be of need when a cyber war is taking place, he had added.
On the other hand American behavior in regard to Wikileaks shows the ugly face of America.
Now I have to ask a question.
We have been caught between a dictator family and Sinhalese chauvinism. Now are we going to put our internet connections and social networks for democratic use or are we going to drown ourselves as a cultural waste.
Whatever happens, long live the internet?
Ari Deva for GTN