“I can’t connect…my hands are itching for connection.”
Growing up in Guyana, I have experienced countless and unexpected blackouts (power outages). Just last year, during my last visit there, I was subject to many blackouts: prolonged, sometimes unbearable, stretches of hours being disconnected from the cooling mechanisms of our fans and from the infinitely intriguing realm that is the World Wide Web. The mobile data service in Guyana is of no service: in addition to be exorbitantly overpriced, the service is specific to particular locations and even then, the data is limited. Below are memes that speak thousands of words about blackouts and mobile data service in Guyana:
Image Source: Facebook
Image Source: Meme Center
Towards the end of Super Sad True Love Story, when America finally buckled under the insurmountable pressure of their Credit Market Debt (100 Trillion!), the entire country fell into a state of virtual blackout where they were not able to connect their äppärät to the global digital world. Even Lenny became distressed because he was unable to know if his parents and friends are safe, amidst the tumultuous fall of the American Restoration Authority. While Lenny tried to use that time to further connect with Eunice, she betrayed him by starting an affair with Joshie.
My question to you, my fellow classmates, how would you react if the entire Digital World was to collapse? No internet, no data service, no electricity and the like: your phones useless creations of sapphire, glass, metal and chemistry? In my younger days, blackout sessions were spent either outside, exploring the vastness of nature that was the countryside, or inside, reading from the plethora of novels at my disposal. Last year, I spent those days in quality conversational time with my parents or reading novels or indulging in a spontaneous outdoor activity.
But today is neither last year nor ten years ago: we are in a technological time that will only keep advancing. As such, it is difficult to imagine a day without technology. I have already mentioned my cousin’s tantrum and anger when his iPad died and he was forced to live outside of the virtual world for less than three hours.
What would you do? How would you react if our world was plunged into a virtual breakdown, as Lenny’s had, sans the violence and bloodshed?
This article touched on the ongoing and indefinite Internet Ban in Anglophone Cameroon, an attempt to decrease and prevent riots. The hashtag #BringBackOurInternet has been created as outraged Anglophone Cameroonians demand the ban to be lifted so that their digital story can, once again, continue its narration. How do you feel about the Cameroonian Government, using the internet as a form of violence prevention but with it, an accompanying and unavoidable form of suppression arises?
Blackout In Guyana. (2012). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Meme Center: http://www.memecenter.com/fun/184223/blackout-in-guyana
GT Troll. (2015, August 25). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTTROLL/photos/a.261464997266037.62935.261453177267219/870426523036545/?type=3&theater
Sahara Reporters. (2017, March 8). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from Anglophone Cameroon Enters 50th Day Without Internet: http://saharareporters.com/2017/03/08/anglophone-cameroon-enters-50th-day-without-internet
Shteyngart, G. (2010). Super Sad True Love Story. New York, New York, United States of America: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Retrieved March 8, 2017