Sunday, December 01, 2013

What is Google’s religion?

The scene opens in a bustling restaurant in Delhi, where a young woman leans in close to her grandfather, whose eyes sparkle with memories of his childhood in Lahore, Pakistan. He points to faded photograph of two young boys: “This is me. And this is Yusuf.” Every evening they flew kites together, before stealing jhajariyas from the sweet shop owned by Yusuf’s family.

A harsh reality interrupts these wistful recollections: “When partition came, we had to relocate to India overnight. … I miss Yusuf a lot.” The grandfather’s voice breaks, and now we understand. Geopolitical conflict, ongoing over six decades later, tore him away from his beloved friend. Distant memories keep the wound open, save for an impossible miracle to heal this life defined by absence.

Who will deliver the miracle? And what would it even look like? Google’s caption preemptively suggests that there must be hope: “Partitions divide countries, friendships find a way.” More specifically, the pastoral sway of Google gives them away, through an omnipotent knowledge and a universal embrace that transcends geopolitical cleavages and restores relationships wrenched apart by colonial violence.

At face value this commercial—which was released November 13, 2013 and which immediately went viral on YouTube and Facebook—tells a heartwarming story about reconciliation and reunion. But, of course, this reading is too simple, in a context carved in and through colonial and neo-colonial violence. Full story...

Related posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment