The Internet: A Human Right
“History is written by the conquerors, not the conquered. Africa was conquered. Interpretation…whose narrative? – The conquering that they did can be reversed, and they don’t want that- white supremacy is a thing, as real as day and night.”
“Lizz, people are woke, because people are exposed. People are exposed because the time that we live in, has connected us all. The most important thing that needs to happen in Africa is that data needs to be accessible. Data must fall! If data and cheap mobile devices are accessible, everyone has access to the internet. That’s going to awaken a lot of people. Data must fall! This is what capitalism is doing to us. They understand that the masses need to be kept “down” so that they can reap the rewards of our stupidity. Data must fall! I’m telling you that the internet is a human right. This is what I believe”.
This conversation commenced when I approached my friend complaining! I had recently bought a laptop and now I MUST PAY FOR WORD AND ALL THE OTHER FUNCTIONS! Really?! I mean, I already bought the device goodness me! It’s so unfortunate that only a handful of us can actually afford such “living expenses”. This made me think of the general African population.
The minute an African child thinks that he/she is almost standing on the highest ladder, society keeps adding and adding “more planks”. Increasing the gap between “the top” and the “bottom”- the poor. The African child will always be at a disadvantage. It is the system designed to keep the African child “down” and no matter how we try reach the top, we simply cannot. Then we look at a larger scale and see how corruption, sacrifices, killings, violence and all sorts of injustices one partakes in, in order to “survive”. Where we sell each other out, trying to make ends meet.
The poverty rate in Africa is alarmingly so high, moreover with what the world is currently facing and going through. Schools had to be closed to control the spread of the virus. And what about those in rural settings? Online studies will be impossible, data is too expensive. The child won’t pursue an education because of these factors, kicking him/her to the curb and thus the vicious cycle of poverty continues.
For how long will the African child continue to hold out his hands to receive? When these very same hands can be used to bless his soil, grow his riches for generations to come.
The Internet: A Human Right seeks to address such issues, that something as small as a data-less society can really help in the long run. Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to education”. This means that by no means, should education be hindered. In my opinion, not by poverty, not by lacking anything. This is one life factor that should be attained by and accessible to all. With that said, the hindrance of this right is indeed a human right violation. The access to free internet can not only be of great benefit to those seeking education but those seeking employment as well. The techno-age has granted easier ways of both learning and working. For example, teaching English online is a huge growing income platform. On a larger scale, employment can be sought after and people can make a living, differently, still being able to provide for their families. Thus decreasing the poverty rate.
We look at the story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian boy in 2001, who at age 13, was thrown out of school because his family could not afford to pay the fees. He resorted to sneaking into the school library and learnt how to build a windmill from scrapyard material in order to save his village from famine (see the movie “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”). With such a great impact the library had on his learning, imagine how great an impact free internet access would have on the young and growing African mind.
The Internet: A Human Right in part, poses the notion that free internet access is indeed a human right. For the purpose of learning, growing and working. No one should be without the internet. No one should be without education.