Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2018 Contents opinion A19
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
‘De chirren will take
back de streets’
As I looked at AC360’s “The Parkland Diaries”
on the night of March 23, my mind went
into overdrive. This documentary recorded
the wounds, feelings, thoughts and future
of the United States of America, through
the eyes of young people; the survivors of
the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
mass shooting. This took place on Valentine’s
Day, February 14, 2018. Seventeen students
and teachers were killed, with no mercy. The
survivors, fed up with gun violence, through
tears and grief said, “Like we are in a war
zone; we did not sign up for this.”
Over 500,000 young people took to the
streets, on Saturday, March 24, descending
on Washington DC, visually expressing
through placards: “Enough is Enough”,
“You are not going to knock us down”, “We
are not going to let you win”, “ Vote them
out”, “ They have not seen the last of us
yet”, “ Tougher Gun Laws will not stop the
violence”, “ The Time is Now”, “Protect Kids,
Not Guns”. It was reported that there were
over 700 rallies throughout the United
States, and from the looks of it, there are
more to come.
Then in a playback, my mind saw the Black
Power uprising spreading from the USA,
to the Caribbean and across the world.
Van Jones compared the Civil Rights
Movement, with what is happening today.
He remembered at that time they did
discuss having college students en masse
involved, but decided to leave them out.
From this movement, black people learned
that they had as much right to the pursuit of
happiness as any other citizen.
The movement made an impact. Powerful
personal changes came. He observed a
change in the dynamic, as the student
movement gains momentum. He sees a
sustained movement, moving from emotion
to strategy. Wow! Moving from “Thoughts
and Prayers,” to “Enough is Enough” and
then to the strategy of “Vote Them Out.”
He said that getting a permit to march is
easy but getting people to register to vote is
not that easy. There will be many potential
new voters heading into the next election.
He sees intensity in the movement. I do
too. A map of the world illustrated all the
European and Eastern countries where
students are mobilising in support of their
peers in the USA. This kind of intensity has
the propensity to radiate and permeate
all the spaces in the world where young,
intelligent citizens are fed up of the
corruption, the violence, the destruction
and the patronising “why should kids be
telling adults what to do?”
I sat, hearing in my head, 3 Canal’s (1999)
“ Talk yuh Talk.”
“Doomsday reach; Plan yuh retreat.
De chirren comin’ to take back de streets.
De power of de word in de conscious stylin’
Pavin’ a way for a brand new morning.
De power of d word in d rapso styling
Rockin’ de roots of de vampire system.”
“Everybody talking. Nobody listening.”
Anna Maria Mora
Batsman Joesiar Balram makes a pull shot as wicketkeeper Mary Balram
looks on during a friendly wind ball match at Surprise Grounds, Diego
Martin on Saturday.
PICTURE ABRAHAM DIAZ
Paying the price
Technology is a marvellous thing
that has made our lives easier. Recent
generations have enjoyed such an
unprecedented level of device and
digital assistance, that living without
it seems unthinkable. Unfortunately,
it is also a double-edged sword. And
we tend to forget what we have
sacrificed and surrendered in order to
Facebook, the social media platform,
is one of the most recognisable
brand names in today’s world. What
started off as a networking service for
university students in February 2004,
has expanded to include over two
billion users. The light blue banner
of its website now graces all our
computing devices; all you need is an
internet connection and a willingness
to join and interact with the world’s
largest online community.
Its popularity is based on the concept
of having a virtual life that exists in
parallel to and reflects the real one.
This allows someone to share their
thoughts, experiences and photos in
real time, and receive instantaneous
feedback. It’s fun...for the most part.
But the risks and dangers, whether we
are aware of them or not, whether we
choose to take them seriously or not,
have always been there. Perhaps it was
only a matter of time before all that
free-flowing information came back to
bite us in the virtual backside.
The recent revelation that personal
information from over 50 million
Facebook accounts was sold to
Cambridge Analytica, a British political
analysis firm contracted by the Trump
presidential campaign, inflamed
the nascent concerns pertaining to
privacy in the digital age. The fallout
was immediate: Facebook’s stock
plummeted and politicians from
both the US and UK are calling for an
investigation to determine if users’
rights were violated, and whether the
company should be held liable.
Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in
an interview on CNN last Wednesday
(21st), admitted that, “...this was a
major breach of trust,” and promised to
implement the necessary safeguards to
ensure that it didn’t happen again. As
sincere as he was, this might be a case
of trying to close the stable door after
the horse has already bolted.
It’s easy to place the blame on
Facebook or Cambridge Analytica,
but the truth is everyone who
has an account shares part of the
responsibility as well. Facebook isn’t
a service, it’s a multi-billion-dollar
business that deals in data—our data.
Every post you make or like, every
article you share, every quiz you take...
all that data is recorded, compiled, and
then sold to interested parties; it’s all in
the fine print.
Those parties, in turn, use that data to
seek out relevant people to advertise
products or supply information
based on a statistical likelihood that
they might find it interesting. This
is called targeted marketing, a tool
that’s almost as old as the practice of
advertising itself and has only been
made easier by the wonders of the
internet. But the personal data we
may think is innocuous is also used to
create “personality profiles” and, as was
supposedly the case with Cambridge
Analytica, can be used to manipulate
how we think by exposing us to certain
types of information that preys on our
In light of this knowledge, the question
is what are the users going to do about
Mr Zuckerberg didn’t come into our
homes and accost us for our personal
information—we gave it up voluntarily.
Sacrificing our privacy is the price
of living in this technologically-
dependant civilisation. Even here
in Trinidad and Tobago, where we
facetiously refer to Facebook as
“Macobook,” there’s the insatiable
desire to know what everyone around
us is up to. But what stops either of our
political parties from hiring a foreign
entity to mine our data to use in future
campaigns? The ethnic divisiveness
of our democracy is a vulnerability
that can be easily exploited. Vigilance
is not enough because once we put
something online we lose control of
where it goes. The safest thing to do is
also the easiest—log off and turn off.
The hard part is living without it.
Land Registry department in a mess
Dear Registrar General, please sort
out the mess at the Land Registry.
Attorneys cannot be made to wait
over three weeks for title searches,
deeds and the like. This has been
going on for almost one month now.
How much more unproductive
and unprogressive can the system
be? Your staff has use of only one
electronic system, and are they
now on strike? The business of this
country’s administrative and legal
systems as well as the lives of simple
and ordinary citizens and business
people are negatively affected due to
this inefficiency and manifest lack of
care! Please remedy this situation.
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