Little Green Laptops for the Poor

I was recently talking with a new friend, in Brussels, who was a frequent visitor to this here blog. And at some point in the discussion she said something that I’ve heard others mention to me as well. – While being critical and pointing out problems is good, coming up with solutions or suggestions will also be good. I felt it was a good point, though I fancy myself a critic above all, and let readers and better minds find solutions… something like that. I digress; I shall strive to pay more attention to solutions and at least glimmers of hope in my blogging.

But it is so hard to find the silver lining when I look at this World Summit on the Information Society. How bright and free can the future for information and society be, when you host the grand event in a one-party dictatorship? And of course, they decided before the meeting even took place, that in fact the regulation of internet domains will continue to be controlled by the American ICANN. You know, so the internet stays American and out of the hands of say – the world. But i guess I should expect nothing more from an event hosted by president Ben Ali who specializes in making journalists disappear and keeping European tourists nice and tan.

But wait— a ray of hope! Yes… if we forget just for a second about world poverty, hunger, injustice, lack of access to clean water, sanitation, shelter, health care, education.. oh the list goes on and on. – If we put all of that aside, the conference has shed light on a wonderful new invention that will bring laptops to the poor! The green machine, as they call it, will be rechargable with a crank, have wi-fi, and run on linux! There ya go little starving, traumatized, war-ravaged congelese youth… now run along and surf the net.

OK I’m using sarcasm, but I do love the idea of the anyone and everyone having computers. I just think there are, oh, a few basic needs that should get the same priority as laptops. But maybe if the summit tried to address those problems the Tunisian secret police would rush in and break all their computers and legs.