Sunday, December 14, 2008
Not So Good With Technology
The Iraqi's have a new device at selected security checkpoints around Baghdad. A serious looking operator holds what looks like a toy remote-controlled car device in his hand, and wearing a pair of earphones, dutifully walks down the side of the car. What he's listening for I have no earthly idea; maybe the ticking of a bomb? Who knows?
This ridiculous display prompted a tirade of comments from my Scottish security partner about how the Arab culture is not the most technologically savvy on the face of the planet. My favorite remark described how you could give Iran, Iraq, etc... the most sophisticated fighter aircraft in the inventory complete with state of the art weaponry and in the end you will still have some guy at the controls wearing a green scarf around his head mumbling "Allah akbar".
I'm not sure why the Arab culture has not embraced technology. Maybe its a function of it's education system; preferring to spend time studying religious subjects instead of physics or chemistry. Quite possibly they don't need to, as they can afford to hire foreign "technicians" to manage things for them. This is certainly the case in much of the Middle Eastern oil industry.
I helped a 30-something year old Iraqi set up his first laptop. I got him a Yahoo account, an email address, login, and password. I did it all for him in minutes as he curiously looked on. When I got to the mandatory "security question" I scrolled through the various options to find one that was appropriate for him. OK, "What was your childhood friend's first name?" He looked at me with dinner plate size eyes and exclaimed, "They know that about me!?"