Happy April First.
Smug is something I am not right now. Â I wish that theÂ means to take advantage of this patently unique situation would appear. Â You have understood: Â Terrestar-1 could fundamentally improve the lives of millions of people. Â You have donated, you have volunteered, you have advocated. Â You are incredible.
I wish today wasn’t april fools and ourÂ humorousÂ acquisitionÂ of a satellite was true. I wish that I could join you in your joy, knowing that we have achieved something monumental in the pursuit of the betterment of mankind. Â We haven’t yet, but we will, because we must.
Several weeks ago I was invited to speak at the Satellite 2011 conference in Washington DC. Â I sat on a small panel and spoke to a room of enthusiastic morning-people. Â I tried my best to articulate how satellites, and communications in general, can (and are) directly benefitting peoples lives. Â I talked about Japan, and the thousands who were already listed on the Google Person Finder. Â I explained Ushahidi and how disaster mapping was so beneficial, so vital to saving and protecting lives. Â The effect on the telecommunications infrastructure in Japan post earthquake was described rather simply: Â “it didn’t even blink.” Â It stayed on,Â resilient,Â connectingÂ people in their hour of need. Â Brilliant.
I juxtaposed the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti and how the telecommunications were almost entirely severed. Â How procuring satellite comms was a nightmare, how groups like Invenio, frantically setting up microwave links atop toppled buildings, were the heros that saved many lives in that dire situation. Â Those links allowed NGO’s to coordinate, allowed them to ask for supplies. Â Internet access was the vital tool that helped them do their job.
I described theÂ torturousÂ moments for friends and family abroad as Egypt pulled the plug on it’s citizens. Â How the Internet, almost in unison, posed the question: “They can do that? Unplug an entire country?” Â How Tunisia used the Internet to control it’s population by tracking Facebook logins, how Libya is still holding its citizens hostage under a black veil of Â zero connectivity. Â During every revolution, governments worked feverishly to silence their people. Â Violating their freedom of speech, alienating their right to connect, to be informed, to be aware.
As I packed up my laptop and said my thank you’s to the panel a man approached me. Â With his hand outstretched he said,Â “I have 52 schools all over Africa. Â If you get your satellite, there are thousands of children who would benefit from it. Â Please consider us.” Â I said to him, “If we get our satellite, I would be honored if you would allow us to serve you.”
To that man, to the survivors, to the heros who are already serving those in their hour of need: someday soon the reality that we played out in jest, will be a reality played out in truth.
Thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Â Join us as we continue to work to Buy A Satellite.