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Digital Neo-Colonialism

By Roya Monajem, Tehran

"Will you help me to finish a documentary film I am producing for the French TV, ARTE about Internet in Iran?" A young film-producer, a relative [1], asked me a couple of years ago. For 48 hours we worked and Imamzadeh Internet was produced.

Until then France was for me the Western cradle of Freedom of Speech. It is difficult to describe my emotions (disappointment, despair and similar reactions) when I found out later that this short documentary about Internet in Iran was censored in a couple of places! Why? I kept asking? Imagine huge billboards advertising mostly LG monitors in a row ending with a gigantic picture of the leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini. In our original version, speaking in Persian the narrator of the documentary film "Imamzadeh Internet" said here: "Perhaps we are facing a new form of colonialism that may be called Digital Neocolonialism." In fact this was the English subtitle on the above frame.

What a great accidental discovery we had made! Not only that, but we had a place to announce it. I don't remember exactly whether the whole scene, or the voice of the narrator was censored as well or not, but the English subtitle was not there.

Digital Neo-Colonialism, how I can feel it with my whole being! While writing these lines, my senses inform me how I experience it everyday, each time that for example, I use our digital telephone, watch TV or pass huge billboards of the city, read newspapers, go to any big supermarket, see the huge apartment buildings -skyscraper - through my favorite window, a frame with the picture of a section of any ugly, cold, nauseating polluted and identity-less third world city, emerged as the result of western colonialism, with the peak of Damavand at the border of this frame. It was once easy to guess which city belongs to which country, if one was familiar with the architecture of the corresponding country. Now if we put photos of big cities of the world, particularly if taken when air pollution is high (as these days of Tehran), it is almost impossible to distinguish Venice from Esfahan, Dubai from LA, Beirut from Buenos name it.

Indeed there is a great difference between 'export' of civilization in the old ways of old days and our new contemporary ways! Look what old nations 'exported' to the world during their conquests and what is 'exported' now, in the age of Digital Neo-Colonialism. What a great difference there is between the charter of human rights of the Old Persian King, Cyrus and that of Presidents Bush-s!

But are they really different? Wasn't, isn't subjugation of other people, nations, countries their common interest and aim? Isn't the same old story repeated only with different weapons, artilleries, technology, politics and tactics?

The smug of Tehran which has reached a dangerous level these days is enough suffocating, I better not add to it by remembering the history of humankind on this beautiful planet that we humans seemingly are destroying.

Digital Neo-Colonialism may be the herald of the emergence of a new human colony throughout the world. A colony of human beings with the common language of a digital type (i.e. based on numbers), incapable of making any traditional religious patriarchal moral philosophical judgments based on the immemorial dichotomous world-view dividing this one world of ours between gods and devils, and thereby good and bad, right and wrong...

Members of this new human colony are incapable of making such judgments and are forced to remain impartial because of their genetic make-up. This is the first time in history that the world is facing racial fusion on such a great scale.

The family trees of these people have now a considerable number of 'grafted' branches. They can come from a Jewish American grandmother for example, a Christian European grandfather, a Moslem Persian father and a Buddhist Indian mother, to count only one set of grandparents. In this way, the historical absurd hatred between different races, religions and countries automatically vaporizes into the air. Doesn't it? Despite the fact that such persons' Buddhist mother could have been quite prejudiced about her faith and their Persian father about his country, and their Jewish grandparent boasting in his thoughts, words and deeds about his membership among "elected people of God," while their other Christian grandparent used to tell them great stories about the role of Christianity in Modern civilization. As the result no matter what actually is happening in the world they are living in, such as the recent serious attempts of the world's rulers to start perhaps another cycle of "Crusade Wars," these apparently 'de-mystified, irreligious, immoral, de-identified' members of this new human colony grown up in such amalgam of different religions and nations, are now genetically forced to remain impartial despite all the familial, social, educational conditionings and brainwashing they have gone through since birth.

And thanks to the advent of Digital Technology now widely accessible to all, these people fortunate enough to have been liberated from long lasting oppressive, suffocating, destructive, inhuman tribal, national, religious, racial prejudices can find each other and hopefully join forces to create a new world with a unified world-view.

1. See: Imamzadeh Internet

... Payvand News - 12/15/05 ... --

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