The first time I heard the term clawback was during a graduate course on corporate finance. The lecturer was saying that shareholders have the right to clawback bonuses paid to company CEOs if the latter did not deliver, or mis-delivered. That was back in the 1980s.
Although most of today’s definitions and use of the term clawback have to do with taking money back from someone who is deemed to have received it without merit, the interplay between information technology and social media has added new meaning and applications to this concept.
Someone once said if your story is not on screen these days it does not exist. It is a bit of an exaggeration because books will always be there, and if you have any doubts about this take a look at Naisbitt’s High Tech High Touch. So yes, it is a bit of an exaggeration that is meant to emphasize a point: to give your story more reach, more power, more traction, more oomph, you do need to put it on screen. It may be the sliver screen, a television screen, the screen of a laptop, or the screen of any handheld device.
Western history is constantly being told and retold on screen. In the East, China and Japan joined this trend. In the Middle East, Turkey started putting its Ottoman history on screen some years ago, with several television series produced in a manner similar to Game of Thrones. Arabs attempted something similar a couple of decades ago with movies about Muhammad and Omar al-Mukhtar, both high quality epics, with Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas in lead roles.
The abundance of information technology and social media infrastructure creates its own demand for content - all kinds of content: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Content that can be accessed at low cost, from anywhere. And one use for content created for today’s media is to right an historic wrong.
Putting an historic wrong on screen catalyzes action for an acknowledgment of the fact that it did take place, and for it not to happen again. This is familiar content but it has been limited to a few subjects. The increasing universality of a set of acknowledged human rights, advances in technology related to content production, ease of access to social media outlets to transmit content, and the increasing availability of funding for content production (crowdfunding is but one example) will enable the wronged to seek justice, gradually and in phases.
Once an historic wrong is on screen, it acquires intrinsic power - it lays down moral markers and self propagates.
History has been written by the victors but is also in the eyes of the beholders. Today’s information technology and social media enable the defeated, the crushed, and the wronged to tell their side of the story. The are increasingly doing so and in process are gathering adherents and supporters.
The wronged will gradually translate this support into legal action to regain their moral and material rights. Laying the past to rest does not mean burying it in unmarked or misnamed graves. With the help of today’s information technology and social media, the wronged will be clawing back their moral and material rights, in the courts of public opinion and in courts of law.