Alec Ross, State Dept Bundle of Joy Visits Pakistan for Twittersation on Innovation

One of the State Dept’s media digs recently announced that Alec Ross, the State Department’s Senior Advisor on Innovation has a presentation in Islamabad on “Developing a Culture of Innovation at Universities in Pakistan.”

Alec Ross and Pakistani innovators reportedly also got together for a “Twittersation” in Islamabad where the former answered questions about media freedom, innovation, entrepreneurship and other hot topics.

Photo from US Embassy Pakistan/FB

Wow, I’m almost speechless.

First there was Secretary Clinton’s “Townterview” in … gosh I forgot where now.  And now we have a “Twittersation”?

For those not terribly active online reading this, that’s a conversation consisting entirely of 140 character-or-less “tweets”on Twitter?.  What a great way to converse, but dammit 🙄 “Twittersation” is messing up with my auto-correct again.

Obviously, developing a culture of innovation is exactly what is needed in the aftermath of the widespread protests in Pakistan which includes angry mobs attempting to storm our diplomatic compounds in the country.

And clearly, in a country where three-in-four Pakistanis (74%) consider the the United States an enemy, developing the country’s culture of innovation should be our priority item there.

Never mind the cultural misconnection in the world where we lived in; or explaining the idea of freedom of speech, even the freedom to insult religion, any religion as one of our fundamental rights (see Anti-Islam Protests: Monica Bauer explains the cultural misconnection in the world as it is).  The last few weeks showed us that a large swath of the Muslim world lack a basic understanding on why we tolerate even our nutty expressions in speech, in art, in crappy videos/movies, etc. or why we protect even the ugliest speech. And here we are talking about innovation. Right.

Below are sample of comments generated via FB:

Amer Rai @Alec Ross……you talk of freedom of expression but USCG Lahore blocked my id without prior warning ,yes i did violation ,i talked some racist but that was not very serious

Shahbaz Haider Most of the participants playing with there cell fones, lolz

Nasim A Sehar wat is the result??will drawn attacks stop?or taliban will stop doing bomb blasts?this situation is very difficult for pakistan.

Abbas Khan not just tweeting … do some thing man.

Shazy Ahmed Khan i want to come america but i have ot much money so help me

Ali Raza we hate america.america is a big terirost of the world

Farook Janjua Help us in getting our public transport system organized.

Aftab Alam we need people to people friendships and equallity between pak and usa

There were several more comments over there. And because social media is about “engagement”, the US Embassy Pakistan’s FB moderator did just that … with one.

U.S. Embassy Pakistan Aftab Alam we agree

Go ahead and talk about innovation, nothing to do until the next mob attacks. You never know when you get to chat up on innovation again. Jeez! I’m getting a stomach-achy feeling that this 21st century statecraft/internet freedom is just full of yabadabadoooo!

No?  Okay, well, then would you please whisper loudly to the somebodies upstairs to wake the foxtrot up because this looks utterly hyper-ridiculous?  Thank you.

6 responses

  1. Ah Domani…most parts of the US could use language help from everywhere! But I’d say that offering language lessons to school children is not quite the same as organizing another country to be more innovative, or to meet our standards for elections (c.f. instructions to embassy Nairobi, as noted in one of your earlier posts…)

    • Ms. H – the Chinese classes were on my mind because I’m wondering when might we see Congress go up in arms about indoctrination of American kids. I am not opposed to language acquisition. DP jr. is hoping to start Japanese soon, so hopefully we will be an almost quad-lingual household before long. In any case — to go to Pakistan to teach the natives about developing the culture of innovation seems to rest on the premise that they don’t have one or what they have is lacking. And we do, and we even have a senior advisor who knows how to. Isn’t there an appropriate name for this in cultural studies?

  2. This would be funny if it were not so infuriating. What business do we have going to other countries and setting up programs to tell them how to create a cultural of innovation, whatever that is? Imagine, if you will, Japan or Germany running programs from their embassies to inculcate those nations’ views of correct economic and cultural behavior. Or, say, the Saudi Arabian embassy trying to make us understand how our culture has become degenerate and how to correct that.

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

    What is the matter with us???

    • Dear Helen, I don’t have to imagine. China is sending its teachers to our shores to teach school children in a poor school district in Georgia to learn Mandarin. I imagine they think us Americans are too backward with only one language compared to the tri-lingual Europeans and our bi-lingual cousins nearby. To compete in the 21st century, our kids need some Mandarin, and the Chinese are happy to help us. And just so you know China has high hopes for this “initiative.” Apparently, the Chinese-language program has the potential to be a model across for the rest of the United States!! I’m looking forward for a Chinese PRT to start reconstructing Detroit anytime soon, they need help over there, too.