As a ‘digital native’, what am I scared of?
I’ve been asked by another digital native, Prabhas, if I’d like to post a blog about what I’m afraid of, which is part of a blogathon.
Thinking of what my biggest fear about being online is, takes me back to when I first became a ‘digital native with a cause’.
If I consider the definition of a ‘digital native’ in a broad sense, I can honestly say that I was a full on, full time, ‘digital native with a cause’ from the moment I arrived in Palestine in January 1998 till when I left that fall day in 2001.
It practically started the day I set foot in Ramallah and within a week of moving there, a town situated in the West Bank hills, 10 km North of Jerusalem, I was sending out weekly, if not daily, emails, depicting my impressions of life there and inevitably reflecting the daily impact of the Israeli military occupation on Palestinians… and myself for that matter.
Within a week of arriving from the States where I had just finished my Master’s degree, I went from being an a-political sorority chick to a pro-Palestinian activist.
There was the internet yes, but no facebook, twitter, let alone blogs…no way to quickly upload photos, no Iphones or Instagrams.
I got a few letters published in my home town paper and even one in the Ha’aretz , Israel’s left-wing newspaper; I bombarded my family and friends with emails ; some of them were interested (particularly my family), some were baffled (why can’t you tell us more about personal life – as if watching soldiers firing machine guns at children doesn’t get a bit ‘personal’) ; and some, who got sick and tired of my ‘ranting and raving’, faded into the blurry background of friends from the distant past.
When I was in the midst of it, I was consumed by the emotion, the passion, the yearning for freedom and justice, the steadfastness of the Palestinians and yes, the anger at seeing blatant human rights abuses, the fear, the love, the hate… the arguments I had with Israeli civilians and soldiers at the checkpoints …the INTENSITY of it all.
It used to be a cause that I somehow engaged in every day, a cause that to me meant presenting a different perspective of the conflict to my friends/family and wider circles, but I left it behind for a while, for different reasons that would require a different blog post, another time.
And what is my fear ? Now, 10 years later, I’ve moved on in many ways, but still my Palestinian experience, ‘my’ cause, is with me. I’ve been ‘lurking’ online for a while, checking out blogs, tweeting the occasional tweet about yoga, photography, the Arab Spring, and oh yes * gasp * Palestine, and I’ve decided it’s time to contribute to the conversation.
And, yet, on my facebook page I am reluctant to post or comment on anything to do with the conflict. I lost quite a few Jewish friends when I moved to Palestine (it’s ISRAEL, not Palestine etc etc), but have regained many now that we’re older, wiser, mellower and all on facebook. I don’t want to piss people off, upset them, but I want to speak the truth, tell stories that present another side of the story, maybe in a way that can somehow effectively change other people’s narrative of the situation.
It feels good to express my ‘fear’. I trust that by being honest and putting the truth out there, with my good intentions, something positive will come out of it.
Watch this space (?) 😉