Dear President Obama and President Karzai,
Desperate times call for desperate, and perhaps creative, measures. In response to the NPR report from May 19, 2009 called “Assassinations On The Rise In Afghanistan” (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104263248), I will offer from my humble viewpoint an idea for your consideration.
With technology as powerful and empowering as it is, put money into communications infrastructure that cannot be readily destroyed. If we really want to affect change then we need to protect people who are taking the stand… like Sitara Achakzai, the prominent female politician and women’s rights advocate who was gunned down outside her home as she chatted with her neighbor, or any of the dozens of politicians, government employees, activists and Muslim clerics have been targeted by the well-organized Taliban militants in an attempt to silence critics and disrupt the government. Let’s arm them with the protocols and technological tools that enable them to do their jobs without being open targets.
I suggest that people in power are given mobile communications tools that enable them to write and speak to the population and collaborate with other leaders in remote and safe areas. I suggest we enable the good guys to promote a message of piece, equality and social development through technological tools which broadcast them to the farthest reaches. I suggest they sign up for leadership duties agreeing to certainly safety protocols, and the use of certain technological tools, so as to ensure their survival and effectively build a society that can stomp out extremist forces.
From innovations coming out of academia and early-stage companies, to used 2nd hand cell-phones, I believe some of the simplest and commonly available tools could be game-changing if placed in the right hands and implemented correctly.