Welcome to the New Year!
“Never confuse movement with action.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Even though historically the passage of time is commensurate to the progress of society, this past year, we have declined- the slave trade in Libya, threats of another World War and repealing the accessibility of the most necessary means of communication, education and information in the history of society- none of which fit into the norms of the 21st Century. Keep in mind, our celebrations are still merited because our role as a community, is to not waive indifference. To begin that journey, let’s first understand these issues:
From its inhumane inception in the 15th Century, through continued efforts of the world’s nations, most countries had eradicated slavery by the 19th Century, with the official abolishment conducted by the United Nations in 1948. However, 70 years later, refugees in Libya are still being auctioned off like items, to be used like objects and treated like filth. Following a disruptive end to Muammar Gaddafi’s reign over the country in 2011, the interim Government failed to implement its authority and establish law; leading to a civil war with the country fragmented into militias, tribes and gangs who find the trade of other human beings to be a “lucrative” industry. These sub-Saharan migrants, fleeing from the economic ruins and armed conflict they faced in their native lands, deserve the opportunity they sought when they left their homes. Recognizing the atrociousness of this situation, UN officials, EU leaders and government representatives from Chad, Niger, Morocco, Congo and Libya decided methods to break down this human rights disaster. However, what flared this resolution was the reaction to CNN’s images and videos of live auctions seen only a month ago even though the original reports surfaced in April. Protests around the world severely pressurized global authorities to finally take action; showing the power of a communal voice.
This same communal voice however, has been held to a thoroughly helpless role as we watch tensions flare between the American and Korean leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, who have both been the most disruptive leaders of their respective nations in the last few decades. Kim Jong-Un has tested 84 missiles in his reign- twice as many as both his father and grandfather- leading to the strongest sanctions ever imposed on a country to be authorized by the United Nations to constrict North Korea’s ability to stockpile Weapons of Mass Destruction. The negotiated armistice of the Korean War seems to be repealed as Donald Trump has been having a cold war of sorts on Twitter by posting highly controversial threats. This child-like back and forth is epitomized by the events which transpired when President Trump tweeted that “any more threats to the United States” will be met “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” As a response, North Korea threatened to fire four missiles near the American territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Rather than being the bigger man, this threat was also retorted and tweeted by Donald Trump who said that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.” This vain, egotistical game of (a lack of) wits has pushed the world onto the brink of another world war; a nuclear war led by egos and selfishness. One possible resolution could be the impeachment of President Trump set forth by the Democrats but in a Republican-led Congress, it is a long-shot.
A vote that did pass however, was the vote to repeal Net Neutrality- which disallowed Internet Service Providers from discriminating between content for their own gain; making the internet an even playing field with everyone being allowed the same access, control and opportunity. However, after Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai successfully repealed it on December 14th with a 3-2 vote, Internet Service Providers now have total control over our usage of the internet; giving telecom providers the power to decide what we see- choosing the content- and how we see it- proportioning the bandwidth based on usage. This allows large corporations to invest heavily in these providers and prejudice them into raising the required bandwidth for accessing their rivals’ websites, making the internet a battlefield for companies to fight, rather than a platform for people from all places and backgrounds to provide themselves the opportunities they are otherwise restricted. Furthermore, this makes it almost impossible for start-ups to gain users on their websites as they will not be able to pay up to get their content delivered faster. In today’s world where: the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no real estate, the world’s most popular media owner, Facebook, produces no content and the world’s largest taxi-company, Uber, owns no vehicles, connecting people has become has become the new landscape of business and every one of these founders would not have been able to achieve everything they have and provide everything they do without the access to a free, equal rights internet. This commercial discrimination could thwart the ability of future entrepreneurs, and subsequently disturb global development because regardless of it’s political disruptiveness, the United States remains the hub of business, trading and trends and its deterioration would inadvertently affect global advancement.
Our hope remains us. If the critics’ prediction of the outcomes of Net Neutrality hold true, the vote can be fought in court and that requires the one key that has the ability to undo all of these messed- consideration. These issues are not native to all of us, but they will affect us regardless. These issues might not involve us, but if they depreciate our world, we mustn’t look at borders. Most of us have the fortune of being residents in democracies where the majority goes, where the voices of the masses matter. Now what are we going to do with that opportunity?
“People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” ― Alan Moore
Leo Aakash Nair
Alpha Leo Club of SVKM International.
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