Migrants rescued by Topaz Responder Andreas Solaro/Getty Images

Connectiviteit en de moderne vluchteling

GENÈVE – Ze waren nog maar net van boord, de groep vluchtelingen die ik vorig jaar om deze tijd ben tegengekomen. Ze waren hun huizen in Syrië ontvlucht en half Turkije doorgereisd, en hadden hun levens in handen gelegd van een bende mensensmokkelaars die had beloofd ze naar Europa te brengen. Ondanks alles wat ze hadden meegemaakt, vertelde een van hen nadat ze op het Griekse eiland Lesbos waren aangekomen dat ze maar één keer in paniek waren geraakt tijdens die gevaarlijke reis: toen het signaal van hun mobiele telefoon was uitgevallen.

Dat signaal, hoe zwak ook, was voor de vluchtelingen de enige verbinding met de buitenwereld geweest. Toen het verdween – toen ze écht geen enkele manier meer hadden om contact op te nemen met familie, vrienden of wie hen ook maar had kunnen helpen – werden ze gegrepen door een gevoel van isolement en angst dat intenser was dan ze ooit hadden ondergaan. Het is een gevoel dat niemand ooit meer zou moeten ervaren.

Voor de meeste mensen in de geïndustrialiseerde wereld – en voor iedereen op de Jaarvergadering van het World Economic Forum in Davos – is connectiviteit een levensfeit. We hebben mobiele telefoons, tablets en computers, die allemaal zijn verbonden met supersnelle – en steeds sneller wordende – breedbandnetwerken. Tel daarbij een steeds verder toenemend aantal sociale media-platforms op, en we staan altijd in contact met elkaar. Informatie stroomt in feite zo vrijelijk en meedogenloos, dat we de neiging hebben ons meer zorgen te maken over te veel dan over te weinig informatie.

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