Through a glass, darkly

Have we lost perspective?

Read time 2min 30sec

Before Ingmar Bergman used this as a film title and others in the entertainment industry followed suit, it surfaced in the King James Version of the Bible as a translation from the Greek in 1 Corinthians.

It's how I feel on the morning after Valentine's Day. I am trying to see this weird world in some sort of perspective. What is important? What should I focus on? What is my primary responsibility?

In my role as an advocate for the development of the ICT sector in (South) Africa, should I be concerned at the paltry mention of broadband in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Zuma? Should I question how he expects to achieve 100% broadband Internet penetration by 2020, based on the abysmal performance to date of the relevant ministry? Should I wonder why his speech writer/editor thought it okay to say, "...laid about 7 000 new fibre-optic cables". How long is a piece of cable?

Taking a slightly wider view, should I be exasperated that the SONA offered nothing of real interest to the people of South Africa? We could have expected the launching of an election campaign. We could have expected the underlining of firm action in support of reinforced policies.

The president used words like "urge" and "appeal" when referring to actions he thought others should take. What about instructing his ministers and officials to achieve results or be fired? It's as if being in government doesn't matter - being in power is everything.

Back to the ICT sector, but on a larger scale - should I be worried about the developments around the regulation of the Internet? There is so much happening in the forums around the world, where this topic is being debated, yet I see almost nothing of that debate surfacing in South Africa. Does it matter that the "free market" that is the Internet would be subject to significant government control if South Africa's government has its way? Whose responsibility is it to make sure that South Africa can transition to IPv6 smoothly? The Department of Communications' performance in the digital terrestrial television changeover does not inspire confidence!

And on a day when an alleged murder grabs headlines around the world, I am reminded of the fragility of human existence. Not by the violent death of any individual, but by the intervention of the universe. In Russia, a meteorite causes hundreds of injuries as it crashes to earth. A little further away, an asteroid with the power to extinguish life on the planet flashes past, a mere 28 000 kilometres from us. Now that makes me think!

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