The aftermath of Friday evening’s attacks in Paris calls for indignation over the continued cowardice displayed by ISIS and other radical terrorist movements. France, for the second time since January, faces mayhem from its own citizens trained in Syria or in Afghanistan. 600 families are either in mourning or paying the price of this despicable crime. Beirut suffered 43 deaths a few days before from the same criminals. The values which embody the technology sector, entrepreneurs and innovators, are the ultimate targets of these terrorists.
As shown by the Charlie Hebdo massacre earlier this January, freedom of speech and the media disturb ISIS and its pathetic followers. The three years since ISIS came to prominence have demonstrated to the world that a barbaric system which promotes ignorance and hatred does not deserve further intellectual clemency. They have enslaved women, closed schools, murdered peaceful opponents, and exterminated other religious groups everywhere their guns and oil money give them the advantage.
ISIS, although it profits from technology and social networks in savvy ways to disseminate its propaganda and recruit suicide bombers, stands against all the core principles underpinning Silicon Valley and innovation across the world. Social advances and the increased transparency brought forward by every leap in technology will eventually drive to more open societies, more democracy and more freedom of choices. This in turn will foster deeper tolerance in an interconnected concert of nations. The impact of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook coupled with this mobile industry catering to 6 billion users dwarfs the scourge of totalitarism, bigotry and prejudice.
Nowhere more than in tech, diversity meshes well with success. 50% of the US public tech companies are headed by CEOs born out of America. In every lab, whether in Palo Alto or Shanghai, engineers from Russia, China or Germany work elbow to elbow with others trained in England, Korea or France. And ISIS does not like imagination without borders.
The tech sector rewards talent, creativity and disruption. Every day, entrepreneurial journeys lead to transformative products, changing the way things were ordained until now. There is no sacred cow until it gets replaced. Since tech has now entered all sectors and become modern economies’ vital organ, it cannot be ignored by these agents of doom who seek revenge against the Western world and its achievements.
Facebook has, once more, shown the lead. Mark Zuckerberg is implementing features to help people during tragedies. Others should follow and connect their decisions to helping innocents against malevolent forces. Large and small companies should use their genius, their ubiquity, their voice and their resources to help civil society defeat terrorism. Technology after all is about making the world a better place.
In 2001, they tried to destabilize America and created a traumatic experience for a generation. Three days after the Twin Towers’ collapse, Michael Dell, ever courageous, sent me a letter vowing that terrorists would not make him change his course. In fact they must not be allowed to endanger society as a whole and the tech sector’s long awaited recovery as a result. The Western and modern world are bombing ISIS and it will take decades to eradicate, with technology and information, the roots and the crimes perpetrated by radical islamists groups. Paris, a city where I was born, is not the only world’s gem at war with terrorism. Silicon Valley, another gem, should actively prepare and join the fight. A noble one.
Alex Vieux, Chairman, Red Herring