The world has been transformed in the past two decades. Technological advancement by the West and certain countries like Korea and Japan has been a phenomenon that has affected our personal lives. I remember only 20 years ago when we led peaceful and sedentary lives without cell phones.
Then advancement in technology brought phones with cameras, which the Haia would seize and smash. Now all phones have cameras and hundreds of other applications!
So if authorities in any country want to block information, they have a real headache. However, this technology brought its own headache. Social media while having positive features has in the hands of some become a divisive and deadly tool. It is being to be used by those who wanted to create chaos and confusion. To spread their evil ideology, terrorists use it to attract gullible youth to enter their ranks. Purveyors of pornography use it to spread filth.
In other cases, it is used by some who only want to promote themselves. These egotistic people flood your cell phones with texts, photos and videos about their activities. It is as if we have nothing to do in life except to watch and read about them.
Others use WhatsApp to send you long instructions and warnings about what to do or what not to do. Certain individuals preach about activities that will lead you to Hell. Others about behavior that will lead you to Heaven.
Then there are those who use social media to attack and defame others. If you disagree with someone’s point of view, you will be attacked left and right. And you will be attacked not only by that individual but by many of his friends as well. This is done in a very carefully studied and systematic way. Their main targets are women who tweet about the need to end the male guardianship system and the right of women to drive and play a more comprehensive role in society.
Like the Israeli Hasbara, they are waiting and watching. They are vicious. But the ones who make me laugh are those who loudly praise any decisions taken by the authorities. They beat drums of approval. If for any reason the decision is rescinded, they will praise that decision again. Such people can be found in all segments of our society.
Then, of course, there are those who use the social media platform to advertise their unbounded loyalty and patriotism. They will be critical of any writer or person who criticizes any decision or brings to light any shortcomings in society. They will incessantly harp on the need for patriotism. Mind you, it’s not all words and no action. I wish to remind them of the statement of the 18th century British literary critic and essayist Samuel Johnson who said: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
We all can be patriots without making noise about it. John Milton the blind poet of England said: “They also serve who stand and wait,” in reference to those who wait for an opportunity to do good.
And to those who are so loud on social media about the need for patriotism, let me ask them to join us in working to preserve our society.
Let them help in creating awareness about traffic safety, water and energy conservation, family values and cleanliness. Let them help to mentor young children in their own families and neighborhoods and teach them to become law-abiding and useful citizens. To me, the best exhibition of loyalty and patriotism is action and deeds and not hollow and empty words.
And do remember Samuel Johnson!