NGOs the world over are known for their immediate action whenever there is trouble brewing in any part of the world. They are there to provide people with the basic needs in order to survive traumatic times. However, one NGO has learned that sometimes people need to also contact their loved ones too:
Télécoms Sans Frontières provides communication to victims of disasters and emergencies all over the world. [...] The idea for TSF was born out of a situation that the founders were confronted by many times during their work with humanitarian charities around the world. [...] [They were] often approached by refugees clutching scraps of paper pleading with them to call their relatives when they returned to France.
Besides its headquarters in France, TSF has permanent bases in Nicaragua and Thailand, and now they are looking for a another base either in the Middle East or Africa:
“We are thinking of setting up a base in Burkina Faso, or perhaps in a country in the Middle East, such as Lebanon. That would give us a good strategic position.”
Both options in my opinion would be ideal but the question is: which area do they feel that this new base would primarily serve, Africa or the Middle East? A flight to Africa would take at least 3 hours with another 3 to reach the heart of Africa. Otherwise Lebanon would be a good choice if the focus is on the Middle East. Let’s not kid ourselves, there will be another war between Hezbollah and Israel which would give TSF direct access to the action.
I honestly do believe that communications, particularly the Internet, should be a basic human right (along with electricity). I know it’s beginning to sound like a Christmas list to Santa but the world has changed drastically and food, shelter and medicine just doesn’t cut it anymore.
On that note, I’d like end this post with two articles from 2009 on telecommunications and how behind we are in the Arab World:
The country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has ordered telecom providers to be ready to provide “every residence and business office with access to a reasonably priced and high-quality connection,” the AP reports.
The government said Internet service providers will provide 1 Gbps Internet services, 10 times faster than existing optical networks. [...] Fixed-line and wireless networks will be gradually changed to an Internet protocol-based network. Once the phone networks are changed to an Internet-protocol-based one, all existing phones will be replaced with voice over Internet protocol phones.
We can only dream…