by A. M. Mustelier
The future is here, we may safely say, when from the tactile screen of our smartphone we interact and find out what’s happening all the way around the world; and although saying it is ontologically incoherent, we really believe so. In this Future, lack of information is no longer a problem; instead we have information overload.
Everyone reports about everything at every moment: there’s news, fake news, overblown news and diminished news. We’re a civilization of pro bono journalists, with a gleam of humanism when denouncing injustice –or what we believe is injustice, as each one’s subjectivity comes into play. But when something equally reaches most subjectivities, a wonderful phenomenon takes place: the content becomes viral (if you pardon the adjective) or turns into a trending topic. Essentially, the content becomes massively popular, like when you film your dog chasing its own tail. That’s so funny.
If the content is infuriating, as is the case with the murder of American citizen George Floyd, the reaction is almost unanimous: indignation; an indignation yours truly shares for obvious reasons. The reactions in this future are then proportional to the fact that we all see what happens all the time everywhere: network campaigns, blackouts on behalf of the victim or to protest racism, millions of comments condemning the fateful event, thousands marching in several US cities, while others take advantage and loot in the name of the former.
We’re talking about a global event.
Therein lies the advantage of our interconnected future. If in the United States a racist cop murders a black man live, public opinion takes over, civil organizations take on their roles as never before and groups that had never agreed on one issue coalesce: nuns, the Amish, radical advocacy groups, thousands of honest cops, homosexuals, prison inmates, advocates of the family, governors, otakus, nerds, hackers; the list goes on and on, and it encompasses most of the world’s population. That’s wonderful.
But in our future, even just protests are fragmented. There’s discrimination against discrimination. If George Floyd had been a citizen of Haiti, Somalia, Yemen or Palestine, all the online activity and the millions of pro bono journalists wouldn’t have been enough, or they would have revoltingly ignored the news, and the puppy chasing its own tail would’ve beaten it by one or two million viewers. Here comes into play the phenomenon of visibilization, which responds to variables such as: geographical location, age group and social level.
In only one month of 2018, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army.
If 2018 is included within that future, meaning we all saw what was happening all the time everywhere, if logic had a solid grip on our societies, the worldwide reaction should have been the same as the one George Floyd’s murder unleashed, times a hundred, plus a coefficient related to genocide extended over time, since according to Rawan Sulaiman, Palestinian ambassador at The Hague, from 2000 to that date, 9,476 Palestinians had been killed by the armed forces; that is, the world should have taken Israel by storm and saturated social media until dogs chasing their own tails lost all meaning to mankind.
In this future it’s also possible that some troublemaker should point out that Palestine is a warzone, while in Floyd’s case the event happened in a civilized country at peace; and that reminds me of other areas at peace, such as the mountains of Central America, where every year hundreds of social leaders are killed by armed forces, or the large areas around Mexican bonded assembly plants, where every day dozens of bodies of women are found and disinterred in front of the impassive looks of the press and the locals. To be honest, the cyberpunk future we live in not only discriminates on the basis of religion, race, gender, economic level or sexual orientation. It also discriminates against the types of discrimination, and segregates them into intolerable discrimination and discrimination of the well-it’s-sad-but-what-can-you-do kind.
For now, let us settle for the fact that one murder –at least one– will not go unpunished.