Data Mining the Social Web: One Dead Syrian Boy and One Georgian’s Response

syrian-migrant-boy-turkey“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”

– Bahá’u’lláh

As I have written about in my poem Headed South, there is a strong connection between climate change and the current Syrian refugee crisis.  The poem captures a spirit that I seek to expand on in my day to day work.  One can be drawn two directions if one ponders the themes of this poem.  There is the possibility of being radicalized into violent extremism.  Fascism, insurrectionary anarchism, revolutionary Marxism, or Islamic extremism are all open possibilities.  These modes of thought assign blame for tragedies such as this dead Syrian boy and catalyze forward more war against the targets of blame.  Often, these modes of thinking are subversive, being unspoken drivers of votes for politicians like Netanyahu, Erdogan, or Trump.  Rally around a flag in the face of crisis and defend the “homeland.”  From left to right politically it seems that it is the same in America, defend the homeland against the outsiders.  What if I told you there is another option?  The realist’s path of politics is not a game one should play at all.  Common sense holds that we all breath the same air.  We all have to drink from a common pool of water.  Should this not mean that we do politics as if the earth is one society?

I see a new kind of poetry project coming where I mine the Tweets between the English and Arabic language circles of earth to learn about how those on both sides of the current conflict that led to this dead Syrian boy washing up on a Turkish beach.  A philosopher can be a policeman of thought, what are the moods that led to this situation?  Data mining can be more about maximizing profits, it can be about finding the emotional causes of World War III.  I am tired of seeing Fox News demonize one half of my family and the Middle Eastern news demonize the other.  How could one not be ripped to shreds psychologically if you really feel it?  So, the response a poet mining Twitter, Facebook, Wikileaks, and the greater Internet for material for poems.  An Orwellian future is already here, so let us raise awareness for what is going on in art.

About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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