The movie “The Gods must be crazy” starts with a scene set in the Kalahari desert, where Bushmen live a blessed life without any knowledge or wants of the ‘civilised’ world beyond and limiting themselves to their primitive tools and implements. Into this world, an empty Coca Cola bottle is dropped from a plane above. Initially this is viewed as another gift from the Gods, but soon it becomes a ‘property’ to be owned and this leads to clashes and violence among this hitherto peaceful tribe.
In the Boing Boing Blog, Lisa Katayama seems to suffer from severe pangs of conscience and wants to know if she had unwittingly dropped a “Coke bottle” in the midst of a bunch of poor kids in a town ‘called’ Jalandher and sullied their technology-free lives with the temptation of electronics.
“A few years ago, I went on a trip to northern India to see the Dalai Lama. I traveled with a lawyer, a politician, a publicist, and a translator. One of the places we visited on the way up from Delhi was called Jalandhar — it's in the Punjab region and is home to a lot of sweatshops.
While we were there, we met a bunch of kids who lived with no electricity but told us that, when they grew up, they all wanted to be computer scientists. So we whipped out our cameras and iPods — the closest things we had on hand to real computers — and showed them how technology works. We figured they would enjoy it, and thought it could be a valuable experience that would stay etched in their minds as something to aspire to as they continued their studies.
Later, I found out that one of my travel mates thought what we had done was cruel. We had seduced these poor kids with luxuries they will probably never be able to afford, and sullied their pure, technology-free lives with the temptation of electronics.
So who's right? Did we ruin these kids for life or give them hopes for a better future? Does it not matter? Is there even a right answer to this question? What do you guys think?
Poor Lisa Katayama. Can some of you go across to the Boing Boing post and put her conscience at rest please?