While browsing on the Internet I came across a blog that posted a selection of the 45 most powerful images f 2011 (http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-most-powerful-photos-of-2011). As expected the list included pictures illustrating some of the most significative events of the year, such as the10th anniversary of 9/11 and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But towards the end of the list, in position 38, I saw a picture with the following caption "An aid worker using an iPad captures an image of a dead cow's decomposing carcass in Wajir near the Kenya-Somalia border on July 23". The Reuters' photographer that took the picture explained in a interview the history behind the picture:
"I almost didn't take the photograph," he says. "I'd been walking through a remote Kenyan village near the border with Somalia shadowing a group of United Nations bosses who were there to see the impact of the recently declared Somali famine and region-wide drought. I'd become tired of such trips over the years, which I blogged about for Reuters here, and was particularly struck that day by the often surreal nature of the African aid circus. When I saw this official dressed in a suit and using an iPad to film a dead cow, I just stood and stared, pretty sure I had rarely seen anything so strange and incongruous, such an odd meeting of a world filled with ultra-modern developments and one trapped in a cycle of age-old problems. I finally snapped the picture just seconds before the man stood and caught me standing behind him" (http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=248333).
I believe this picture poses some interesting questions for scholars and partitioners that are interested in studying the role technology in southern countries from the same critical perspective as the photographer that took this picture. In particular, some of the questions that popped into my mind when I first saw this picture were:
Should we really care about ICT while there are so many other more pressing issues?
Is ICT bringing local governments, international aid agencies and other actors closer or more distant from the problems they are suppose to tackle?
What is the Southern and what is Northern in this picture? Does an African UN official using an Ipad fit in this sort of binary distinction?
I hope to hear your thoughts on the matter!