As US forces leave Afghanistan and Iraq, I have a proposal: Give every child pre-loaded tablets filled with apps and Western culture, so that they can see we’re not all bad.
Fill an iPad mini, (or any other tablet) with top Hollywood movies, books, music, Wikipedia, medical information, and loads of learning apps. Also, load an unerasable copy of the Koran into them so that they can’t be destroyed.
Put a lot of Taliban literature in it too. Let the Taliban have an app in all the AppStores.
And let the new tablet owners decide for themselves which culture has the most to offer them. Or they can pick and choose from a huge range of ideologies and religious interpretations.An Internet connected tablet is truly a window on the modern world in a way that no other single device has ever been able to achieve.
It’s a high definition media delivery device and it’s a high-definition media broadcasting device. It’s a mobile Gutenberg press and it’s the paper.
There’s never ever been a product like today’s camera equipped tablets — they can be used to create important media, and display it. It’s both sides of the screen at once.
They are a creation of this extraordinary media age that is permeating into every nook and cranny of society. Afghani and Iraqi kids should be offered the choice of joining in this unfolding modernity, the cost to entry is small. And there’s lots of advantages.
Young girls who face problems in getting the education they need would be able to study behind closed doors at home. Everyone would benefit from the factual and medical information they contain. And everyone would get a chance to sample our rich Western culture, which has succeeded in attracting people all over the world.
NGOs can build the supporting infrastructure of Wi-Fi and recharging stations. I hear Mark Zuckerberg is keen on bringing connectivity to under-developed parts of the world. How about a joint-funding with Bill Gates’s fund — every iPad is distributed with a mosquito net and a polio vaccine pill. Jeff Bezos can deliver each one along with a free Amazon Prime membership for every family, and before long there’s many other brands that would love to hop on, with small gifts of their own. We could win the war with a shower of love, with what our society loves — high-quality materialism. It works for us so why wouldn’t it work for others too?
The iPad gift basket for kids program wouldn’t cost much given the billions of dollars already spent. It would be a thoughtful parting gift that says, “Sorry about all the other stuff, we meant well if even if it didn’t always seem that way. Enjoy your iPad and gift vouchers.”