ThinkExist Dynamic daily quotation

"Think of these three things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account"--Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Irony of Ironies

So there I was two days ago rhapsodizing about older women, only for me to hear yesterday afternoon (and be teased incessantly by work colleagues) that a great and personable young woman, also a colleague who has a great sense of humour, has “the hots” for me.


She is two years older than me.




Can anyone be that marketable?

Monday, November 28, 2005

elephants Posted by Picasa

Here's to you Mrs.Robinson: Older Women

It is an article of most healthy and mature relationships for the guys to be older than the women, even if by one year.

In 2003, I met, and subsequently slept -- in what would prove to be my loss of virginity – with a woman who was fifteen months my senior. She was great in bed, a fantastic personality, but bad for being part of my future indefinitely. We broke up about six months later, due to differences that were putting a strain on both of us, but not before many steamy and secretive sessions of afternoon copulation—both in her abode and, initially, a gym!

Off late, I have been attracted to three women who are older than me. The first is my next-door neighbour, who is around her mid-late thirties. She has a kid, but is, frankly, gorgeous in that slim and slender body of hers. She noticed I had been away from the country, and acknowledged this over the weekend.

"Welcome back" she said, with a smile, slightly waving.

"Thankyou" I said, contemporaneously thinking "if only you knew what I’d love to do with you!".

Bad, bad…

The second is someone who works in Geneva, whom I met in Tunis, but made several abortive attempts to have dinner with her; she just didn’t have the time as she was travelling in a group. The last day, which was fine, proved too difficult, and I gave up. We are keeping in touch, but I made the mistake of telling her my age – she is four years older than me – earlier when we first met, so I doubt she is going to entertain anything more than friendship with me, which is okay…

Finally, the third is a teacher whom I met en route back to Accra. She is lovely. My heart is almost palpitating just thinking of her... She has such a beautiful smile, and that’s what first attracted me to her. She is so youthful-looking, but I understand she’s a couple of years older than me. This is what my colleague keeps telling me.

On the plane back home, she was sitting all alone, with the aisle window. I kept on stealing glances her direction, and when our eyes met a couple of times, she would instinctively offer a warm smile. Oh, what a smile to melt the bones! I have never met any woman with such an endearing and warm smile. Not to mention the fact that she’s a bit of a looker, too! Wow…

Now, we’re having lunch next week, near where she works. It’s a purely platonic thing, but my mind is saying something – never mind hoping for something -- else. I don’t particularly like treading on dangerous grounds, neither do I like having lunch with very attractive women who are very much…married.

But, this will prove to be a great test of character. I am not a Don Juan by any stretch of the imagination, so I am not about to cause any break-ups anywhere! I am curious, though, as to where this phase is coming from. I have always, to some small extent, found older women attractive—though not to the point of initiating relationships with them, but this offbeat feeling towards the opposite sex is serious.

Maybe being single again causes you to re-focus energies on hormones, as well as usurp common sense or something? Do tell me, please…

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hammamet was a Blast, But It's Time to Go Home

The internet cafe -- Cyber Internet 35, rue Mokhtar Attia, 1000 Tunis--Tel:71.333.893 -- I am at is rather slow, as compared to the more expensive one at the hotel, wich runs like clockwork. a consequence, I am disinclined to write here too much, as I will probably end up paying around the same amount for what I would like to do.

All I can say is that Hammamet yesterday was a blast. When we left for the Gare de Tunis, it was getting to 10.30am. By 12pm, the train was taking off, with all seven of us on board. We had to get off another train, after travelling a good twenty-five minutes, before finally getting to Hammamet fifteen minutes later.

Shame on me for not following so much the history, but I suspect that is the place where Hannibal led the elephants on that abortive trip to conquer the Romans. I DID see many elephants--stone ones that is, and they were gargantuan, to say the least. Very life-like, and rather scary.

Hammamet is one of those places you just have to see, because other than the weather that was rather inclement--rain, and ice-cold wind--all of us enjoyed the place. Only problem is that the touristy areas are rather populated by Eastern Europeans, who pretend to be friendly when they want to get you to buy something, but are two drops short of rude when you tell them you're not interested, or rather diplomatically, "je reviendra".

They nknow you won't come back again, so they grunt something at you in their language. My colleague got a bag that was being sold originally at 90Tunisian dinars to 22 Tunisian Dinars! Talk about rip-off, and they expect deferential treatment when you refuse to buy? Please!

We were rather bemused by this young man of around twenty-three who had a chesire-cat grin on his face. "Ah, fantastic, bombastic!" when we told him we were all from Ghana, bar the very personable Tunisian friend of the family who was giving us a tour. Then he rattled out some cliched lyrics from some song, which promted visceral chuckles from all of us. He was humble, though, admitting that though he did not finish school "at least, I can give smile to people who come from all over!"

Or something like that.

Imagine the legendary Peter Sellers, of Return of the Pink Pather fame, emulating, or should that be feigning, a nasty Italian accent as Inspector Clouseau, and you get the picture of this young man.

I refused to spend, whilst all those around me pretended they were not spending:-) Honestly, women!! There was only one guy, and he was too young to relate to him.

The trip back to Tunis was a good one. We took a bus, and it took rather long. Almost two hours of travelling. God, I love long bus and train journies!!! I would have been in my element if it were not for the fact that I was SO fast asleep.

The warm bus, though endearing in the beginning, started to feel too warm, so I was compelled to open the window just a peak, to the annoyance of a few. But if there is something about the Tunisians, I got to give it to them that they can be very hospitable.

The example is that of the bus journey, which started off very full, with many people standing up. SOme of us found a seat, but three of us failed to land one, with the flurry of people jumping onto the bus, and seats. The eldest of my colleague's friends' family member, the aunt, decided that one of us should relinquish the seats for an old man.

I did.

The old man did not wat to sit down, cos he seemed to feel bad, but we insisted. He sat down, all smiles. Less than five minutes later, one of the young, hot-blooded males who had jumped to the back seat when we got on, gave up, yes, gave up, his seat for one of us. He stood up for a good ten minutes before he got down. He could have sat down till his destination, but motioned us to come and take a seat.

Not too long ater, a middle-aged man ALSO gave up his seat. It emerged that he was going to get down only about ten minutes later, too.

I was deeply impressed, and humbled.

One good turn DEFINITELY does deserve another. Respect definitely goes a long way. Granted, not everyone would have done the smae, but two people doing it was admirable.

I got home and landed so much in Jadeville that I couldn't spend long in front of the 'Net to make an update, so here I am.

Today has been another humbling experience. I spent most of the afternoon with a one of the members of Civil Society. A Nigerian, a graduate of the Universsity of Ibadan, who can quote Fanon and Shakespeare in one hour. A DEEPLY charismatic man, who spends a lot of time in Geneva in UN circles.

There are some SERIOUSLY great and interesting people in this world. Shakespeare aptly said some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have it thrown on them.

Well, if this ten nights in Tunis is anything to go by, the knowledge I have been exposed to just from listening to people has been immense. The so-called intellectual genuflection I referred to earlier, in my humble opinion, is apt.

I am such as small person when faced against such great minds.

Getting back home to normality is not going to be that easy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Taking Stock of WSIS: "Can do Better"--C+

So, it’s over. For a summit that went into the hundred thousands of euros, it was pretty disappointing. Did not attend ONE single workshop today. Most had been cancelled, or the people were too few to continue. Looked like many people needed to get out of Tunis the fastest way possible:-)

Couldn’t get out of bed AT ALL today. Terrible. I know I am rather lazy already, but this was taking the biscuit, as it were. Each time I tried to get up, sleep just overcame me. I was beginning very fast and furiously to get fed up with what the French call “la foule”, or the crowd at WSIS.

Since I am such a baby, I sleep with the tv on at the hotel. Snoring through "Hardtalk with Stephen Sackur" has just got to be laughable, no? He’s asking those tough questions to a former UN ambassador, or the Palestinian authority representative, and I’m just overshadowing his questions with snore…and more snore…

Behind the levity of these words lies, or sits as the case may be, a deeply disappointed young man. I wanted to watch the proceedings, as it were in situ. Instead, we were confined to watching it from the so-called Civil Society Bureau, et al, on erected large screens. The Swiss President, I hear, was rather impressive from the outset. He looked very charismatic, I have to say.

A female Nigerian acquaintance, of the good-looking kind, told me that there was a party tonite organised by the South Africans, and she was looking out to see whether I was there. Duh, you didn’t have my number. You could have called me, lady!! I am SO green. Yet again, it seems. At this rate, by the time I get back on Tuesday evening, I would have turned into a vegetable.

But enough about my brain.

Disappointment was written on many many many people’s faces. Especially given the fact that the Citizen’s summit was cancelled by the Tunisian authorities, made for an even mire lugubrious atmosphere: the sense of malaise about qou vadis with this expensive gathering was palpable. I personally was disappointed by the International Telecommunication’s Union's decision–one of the UN’s oldest UN agencies, est.1870s—that it was decided by the UN as a whole to have the summit in TWO phases.

A third one would have probably been more realistic, because at this stage, where does the role of ICTs for development go from here? Lost in a maelstrom of rhetoric or what?

The last UN summit I attended was in May 2001, when I attended the UN conference on Least Developed Countries. It was my first-ever proper UN conference. Held in Brussels, hosted by the European Parliament, I didn’t have to stay in any fancy hotel to observe one basic thing about the nature of these UN conferences—the amount of hot air around it. The difference, though, between that one and this is that, primo, it was agreed that there would be a review of the UNLDC3 in 2006. Will there be a review for this one? With the LDC one, it was also the third, with the first two being held respectively in Paris…and Paris:-)

There were a host of semantics there as there was here, with "deliverables" and whatnot. The difference with that one though, on the positive side, was that journalists and other civil society organisations obtained the opportunity to have their voice heard, and offer constructive solutions to the outcome. There was also a sense of closure about it all. I felt no closure around this.

What I saw was many people networking, some with fancier gadgets than others. Of course, the 100$-a-child laptop rocks, (even if the dollar sign was supposed to come before the "100", but come on, sue me!). It is a fantastic idea, but like another acquaintance said, $100 is rather expensive in many developing countries. Not using electricity, though, but a wind-up operation is even cooler. I REALLY like that. I actually saw it tested yesterday by the MIT people near the UN stand at the exhibition area.

I have to put it on record that I found the UN stand the most relevant and comprehensive. It at least tried to connect the ICTs, whereas most of those there—bar some of the governments—were just there to puff themselves up, especially the private sector. SO you have good gizmos, but how PRECISELY will that contribute to being used as tools for development. Didn’t quite click with me.

Anyway, many people went to the exhibition to get freebies, too. I thought I was the only cheap-skate! Even Senegal was giving free zip-drives, can you imagine!! With their flags all emblazoned over the drives, as it were. I got a free t-shirt from the African Development Bank stand. Others got luckier…

Seriously, though, let’s face it. It was great being here, and some concrete things, though small, went through, but it could have been a whole lot better. Consider this. Both the ITU and Japanese government disbursed circa 777000 odd euros – yes, you read right! – towards this UN summit. The UN Conference on LDCs in 2001 cost a vertiginous, or staggering, sum of 12 million dollars. I understand it was more than the GDP, or so, of a Caribbean country.

For the results that have come out, sobering indeed. Very very sobering.

All that said, I still think the world without the UN would be a far worse place than it already is, and so if expectations and hopes were dashed, people might just reflect that WSIS is a process and not an outcome.

Still, can do better.

Friday, November 18, 2005

When Andy Warhol Laments : My Aborted Fifteen Minutes with the BBC

I called my very good friend back in Accra this evening after a nice piece of pizza this evening. It was with shrimps this time, and was this side of heaven. She said she had missed my nagging and I should "hurry on home". Cheers, J!! Nice to know I am at least missed by someone, other than my parents.

Didn’t I say I was that pathetic? Oh, sorry.

Now, today has just been one heck of a long day. In the morning, I attended this very interesting workshop, entitled, "Framing Global Governance Processes Around WSIS". Sounded right up my street, and it was. Not to mention that it was organised by my organisation’s sister organisation in Uruguay—Third World Institute.

We looked at WSIS and the future, and how it is a process—not an outcome, etc. Two academics talked a bit about the semantics around WSIS and tried to make sense to us what we were trying to get out of the UN summit. I bemoaned the state of the private sector, and how we should not seek to endorse it so much at this summit, when exactly a month later, we shall be battling with them at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong! Didn’t sound very coherent to me, but hey, that’s only small me…

We looked a bit at power relations as, let’s face it, you’ve got the power, you’ve got it made. I am not at all surprised that the US will STILL maintain control, by way of ICANN, of the Internet. Of course there is word out in the conference circles that ICANN will need to incorporate more of the role of civil society, etc. Who knows?

Look, I will not bore you too much to death, but I thought a discussion away from me trying to chase members of the opposite sex or…a battery(!!), was called for. SO this is the change, but I can feel your eyes glazing over already, so please bear with me…

The weather…OUCH! One of the reasons why I am in here at all is to escape the cold. I am not kidding when I tell you that despite a cotton jacket and trousers, I am still feeling cold. Was so tempted to take my dinner indoors this evening. There was a chill wind blowing, and I don’t know whether it was a metaphor to signal the tensions that have been caused by some tussles between Tunisian security detail and other civil society activists over the semantics of workshops entitled "expression without repression=", as one blog has put it ( , but all I know was that it was DEFINITELY cold.

I got a call from my friend/former neighbour in Belgium. She is South African, and is this side short of VERY personable. Not to mention seriously attractive. Steady on, she’s got a partner, and she’s living in a rather lush part of the outskirts in Brussels. Very green indeed. Oh, I’m not talking about the scenery—I’m talking about me;-) I do miss Belgium sometimes actually, and this bleeding cold weather is minimising my missing, as it were. No, I’m not on drugs, just getting into Jadeville, and feeling rather creative with my alliterative skills.

Getting back to the weather very quickly, it RAINED almost the whole day today. Yes, it did. Must be one of the reasons why it’s so cold, now. Yet, as befits Tunisian night activity, many people are outside even as it is midnight thirty-four!!

Oh, oh, oh. I missed my fifteen minutes of fame with the BBC. Here are the two emls they sent me:

1. ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Kevin Anderson-Washington"
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 14:00:44 -0000

>I was just reading your posts about the WSIS in Tunis. I work for a
>BBC World Service Programme called World Have Your Say. It's a global
>discussion programme. We're trying to get a few audio diaries from
>attendees at the summit. We'd like to talk about tech/internet issues
>where you come from and what is being talked about at the summit.
>We'd ideally like about five minutes of audio both today and tomorrow.
>We could do this one of several ways.
>1) If you have a way of recording audio, you could send it to my Gmail
>2) We could interview you via Skype
>3) We could put you in touch with one of our BBC World Service teams
>Let me know if you are interested and if so, how we might be able to
>Kevin Anderson
>BBC World Service and Five Live
>(w - UK) +44.207.557.0293
>(m - UK) +44.7796.102.155
>skype: kevglobal
>"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" Alan Kay
>This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain
>personal views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically
>If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
>Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
>reliance on it and notify the sender immediately. Please note that the
>BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
>Further communication will signify your consent to this.


FROM: "Kevin Anderson-Washington" | Save Address

DATE: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 15:10:00 -0000
SUBJECT: BBC interview request update


Just an update. We don't need anything as complicated as an audio diary. We would simply like you to join our programme for about 15 minutes between 1900 and 2000 local time there in Tunis. I can provide you with a more precise time in just a little while. The issues will be the same, but we don't need anything as complicated as an audio diary. Just a couple of phone numbers - a landline and a mobile phone number for you.

thank you for your time,
Kevin Anderson
World Service and Five Live
http://www. b
(w - UK) +44.207.557.0293
(m - UK ) +44.7796.102.155
skype: kevglobal
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" Alan Kay

I sent him a text message, and he unfortunately texted me back a few ten minutes ago that the programme had already aired!!


The day you decide to leave not checking your mails, then Murphy’s Law strikes!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Excerpts from the Roundtable: Russia Speaks...and Defining Indigenousness

E.Krikunenko speaks about her organisation: "all indigenous people of russian, hunting, reindeer breeding. They have no access to internet, because we have no electricity. One phone line for 200 people in the community. This is why access to ICT is so important for us. To get noticed, education...and the opportunity to promote our rights". It is being chaired by one K.Deer, who looks like a Red Indian.

Hey, isn't he that guy from The Xfiles' Season 2, who got beaten up by Cancer Man, when Mulder disappeared??;-)

Intellectual Genuflection & How the CR-123 Taught me Humility

If you do not know what the CR123 is, allow me to explain very briefly. It is a 3V lithium battery that you use for your low-tech appareil photo, or camera. I specifically use "low-tech", because digital cameras being the rage now, it is very passé to see someone still angling around their low–tech camera—unless you happen to be called Emmanuel.K.Bensah. Ok, go on, laugh. I think I told you my Zire Palm 72 gave up the ghost just a few days before I got here, and didn’t have the time to do anything about it.

Well, today, I took my laptop along to the Civil Society Bureau (CSB) area at Palexpo Kram. My laptop said there was a device missing. The Wireless was supposed to be working, you see. I must have done something wrong, so I abandoned the whole idea and resorted to lugging it all the way around the place like a little kid I am. Honestly!!

Anyway, I sit myself at the cusp of historical change – smile! – cos I have finally found the battery I was looking for. The blasted CR123 was being sold literally minutes walk away from the hotel, yet this morning, shopkeeper after shopkeeper sent me going up and down the street like a madman. I almost thought this particular lithium battery was alien to Tunis! I cussed no-end, but I decided to persist tonight. I WAS NOT going to spend tomorrow morning sweating profusely walking up and down when I needed to attend a workshop at 9am on the role of institutions in the reformation of the digital divide.

Or something like that.

Anyway, it truly was a humbling experience. I had to go fifteen minutes drive away from my hotel to this place closer to the Palexpo, where the quintessential French chain of supermarkets is located. CARREFOUR it’s called. You can find their website here: When my colleague told me CARREFOUR was in Tunis, I could hardly believe my ears. If you have ever heard of BRICOBI, the do-it-yourself people that are even in Spain, well, back in Belgium, most of the GB shops ( were now being replaced by CARREFOUR. This revelation only went to confirm how UTTERLEY European this country is aspiring to be!

Anyway, at Carrefour, which is a HUGE department store, I thought I found what was the CR123, except that this was smaller. In my joy, I dismissed my initial reservations, and just picked it up. I have wasted a good 8 Tunisian dinars. Divide that by 1.35 and you get the dollar equivalent. Sorry, am getting tired again.

I thought you knew I am slow…

With regards to the workshops today, well, after the midday submission, I have to say that I was better inspired. I attended one on Regional perspectives and ICTs, where all the UN’s regional commissions (UNECA, UNESCAP, UNECE, ECLAC) provided an overview of their regions, and the extent to which ICT had empowered the region or not.

This session had the newly-elected Executive Secretary of UNECA there; UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panikpadi, former monk, and former director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) there; as well as His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who has made magnificent strides for his country in, primo, making the country bi-lingual after the egregious 1994 genocide, as well as propelling Rwanda through very good governance, and avant-garde ICT empowerment.

The Rwandan story is rather humbling. I spoke to two Rwandans at the Rwanda stand yesterday, and chatted with them. They did not want me recording what they were saying, so I took notes and assured them I was not going to quote their names. I got a bag of fresh Rwandan coffee.

Good stuff!!

I have to say if ever you get the chance; go to the country they call the land of "Milles Collines", or a Thousand Hills. Anyone who thinks Rwandans are primitive and still fighting has not yet matured from their atavistic state.

Harsh? Well, so is assuming Rwanda is so backward that they have not moved on ten years after the genocide. They are an example of a country that has done it, and a testament to man’s capacity to re-deem himself after horrific events happen to him.

One more act of PR: Rwanda is the only country on the sub-continent—not sure about the world, but possibly—that I know that has more women in Parliament than men—circa 49%.

Now, intellectual genuflection was what popped into my mind in the wake of all these revelations, because I realise that the more I read and talk to people about WSIS, the less I realise I know.

I am really not worthy. I am but a small bee buzzing around on the…yes, yes…cusp of this historical change blowing through the information society.

One concrete development: 12 May will from hereonin be designated World Information Society Day.

Gosh, it’s midnight twenty-two now. Another day gone. Another pizza—of a normal kind, sissoula!!

Till tomorrow, or as that should be, till much later today…

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Early Start, My foot! Pure Hubbub

Couldn't get out of bed his morning. I ended up arriving later than anticipated. I''m currently at the Cyber Espace are, where a predominant number of us, clad in suits and whatnot, are standing up checking our mails and whatnot, whlst a minority sit down. The cyber-espace place is cleverly darkened, as if it were lit, stands to reason that we would all be feeling rather hot.

I am getting rather pessimistic about this meeting; it is not because BBC World, in its characteristically objective reporting from its correspondent in Tunis opined that the meeting may "run the risk of being bogged there will be too much communication anad little action", but the fact that there are TOO many things to attend to. All interesting, and mostly going on around the same time.

Not to mention the sheer number of people milling around. There are several varieties: the lost and confused kind; the lost and concerned; the lost yet determined kind. I fall somewhere among all three!!:-)

A meeting started at midday, called "ICT and the Global DevelopmentSystem: The Transformative Potential of ICT for "Development for All" ". Look at me! It's gone almost twenty minutes past, yet here I am typing this...I best be off. There's another at 1pm that is more relevant, so I might just wait for that instead of rushing to this one that ends at 1.30pm...

You see, this is the type of scenario many of us are facing. The stands, whilst very psychedelic and interesting, offer a showcasing of company's products--not to mention government ones--that is fine, but I reckon they are more distractions than anything. The only one I have found really useful was the UN stand that provided many publications on substantive issues around WSIS.

Ofcourse, knowing the voluminous nature of UN publications, I would need an extra suitcase to carry them all back to Accra...we'll see.

My colleague just called me to find out where I am...we have a rendez-vous that I am not looking forward to. I sincerely hope this meandering of minds and ideas becomes subsumed by concrete outcomes.

It's time for the UN to reclaim the world stage--yet again!! And, please not without "deliverables", and "programmes of actions", but RESULTS. Please, we SO need that...

Midnight Blue, Reception Manqué

It's eleven minutes past midnight, and I am all one in the Internet cafe at Hotel Oscar, rue de Marseille. Music of the arabic kind blasts outside, whilst the usual security detail takes turns sitting in chairs. Musical chairs to keep them awake you could say. No wonder they smoke so much...

I am not completely lost over the idea that the BIG thing--ie the Summit--takes place tomorrow. The only reason why I am awake at all, instead of lying upstairs in my hotel room bed snoring away, is because almost an hour ago, I had a pizza shaped like a fish, and it filled me up so much I had to walk around Boulevard Bourgiba (apparently named after the Tunisian head of state that went senile and was replaced by the incumbent Ben Ali) to keep the weight from weighing me down.

As I type this, an apple and a consumed banana, along with a half-drunk bottle of water – that goes by the name of “Safia”—all in a white, plastic bag sit beside the computer. I am desperately trying to keep awake, so these inane details are solely for that purpose. Please forgive me

The reception was a non-starter, because the food came an hour earlier. But, honestly, hell have I never seen SO many people rush after food and drink like I saw this evening. It was disgusting. You could tell something was going on by the way the crowd was meandering collectively in the space designated as “meeting place”. Ofcourse, I joined them, too, and had some Tunisian patisserie. I decided against the drink, cos iut was hell-nigh impossible to get one! It was like it was the end of the world or something! Honestly…

My colleague decided not to come to the area at all…

So, yes, too bad for the social interaction front. My attempt to establish some social rapport with members of the opposite sex has got to be one of the most quixotic, or idealistic, of my many fantasies. In a place like this! Where a fraction are pretending to do something serious with the summit, whilst another are just there for the ride, and a smaller fraction there for the learning curve.

Seriously, though, let me not jest about this: we sit on the cusp of historical change of the information society. Internet governance as we know it will never be the same again after 18 November. That is if the EU has its way, and with the EU now a formidable 25 members, it has some serious clout to challenge the US on Internet governance. The US wants ICANN to maintain its non-profit stance and control to some degree the assignment of domain names; the EU is against this.

I sat yesterday afternoon – make that Monday afternoon – listening to countries like China disagree with the US over some wording, and a country like my own, Ghana, make some propositions over the wording that was adopted. We ought to have a streamlined text come the eve of the 18th of November.

We shall see.

When I really think what the future of the Internet is really going to be like, I take a quick gulp, and quickly dismiss my whims as they are—whims! Maybe I am being melodramatic. Maybe I am not.

Time will tell.

Just before I go:

  • UN summit aims for a fairer web

  • Net Dust Storm Blows Into Tunis

  • On eve of UN summit, progress made on global information, tech agreements

  • Got an early start tomorrow.

    Good morning.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Watching Tony Blair, My Dinner Awaits!

    The Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, Mohamed Ghannouchi, has invited ALL participants of the UN WSIS to attend "a welcome ceremony followed by a reception" today from 6pm to 8pm at Palexpo le Kram.

    This was the invite in the bags that everyone received upon registration the first day.

    Ouch, my colleague has gone AWOL, so I am left alone trying to figure out which particular meeting to go. Flies, regrettably, abound in the area I'm's the toilets that are FAR too close for comfort! They could have used some breeze or something, cos it certainly sullies the area!

    In any event, I watched Tony Blair at the Lord Mayor's banquet on BBC World yesterday evening. I taped most of it as I had to go out, but what I saw was quite funny. The script-writers must have been comedians. I found myself laughing at some of his cracks! Good stuff.

    But then he went all serious later, and talked about the war on terror, globalisation's inevitability, and other foreign policy issues. I heard from the running commentary prior to the speech that Blair is thinking of how he will be viewed by historians, and right now he has to be in sync with Gordon Brown, chancellor of the Exchequer, but also his principal rival, as Brown is set to succeed him, according to the commentary from BBC, "next year by this time".


    Later, when I caught the news, it was about how Brazil, India, China must do their best, alonside developing countries, to liberalise more trade, trade in services and whatnot.


    I was SO bored. Same ole, same ole...And the World Bank has entered the fray, too. Pisses me off no end.

    Anyway, look, I am looking forward to MORE social interaction, as it were. Who knows what can happen at a reception:-) Nudge nudge, wink, wink...

    Fingers crossed!

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Eyeing the Opposite Sex...With a Long Kiss

    Ok, so I do not think it is any secret that in a ny grand gathering like this, if you are a hot-blooded male, like myself, and very single, your eyes will be scanning the horizon faster than any ADSL connection you could think of:-) Forgive the forced humour, but I have to say it's been rather disappointing on the social interaction front here in Tunis.

    Suffice to say, the women are GORGEOUS, but they have no time for any other race than theirs, which is a shame, but, then again, not surprising.

    As far as gender equality goes, I think Tunisian guys are way off tangent. There is a stand for each country here at the World Summit on Information Society. Each country is represented, as is private sector, whatnot. I found my stand--Ghana, and I heard some horror stories from the ladies that the Tunisian men are "uncouth". They don't care whether theer is a ring on your finger or not, they will stop their cars and make signs to the women that they are keen to go to bed with them!! Can you imagine that...

    I can't, frankly, cos as a guy, I have had a positive experience> Okay, so they exude some degree of machismo that is characteristic of the stereotype of Arab men, but, honestly, they have been very friendly.

    Also, I hear that whilst there are mosquitoes here, the male ones collect nectar--huh?--whilst the female ones do the biting. Does black widow and queen bee come to mind?

    Oh, I FOUND BBC World for myself on the tv this morning. I wasgetting fed up with watching French tv -- TF1 and France 2, which, though helped to keep my French fresh, was boring me to death.

    Except yesterday. The Full Monty was on, as part of TF1's Cine Dimanche, as was that ever-so-sexy Geena Davis playing alongside Samuel L Jackson guessed it, the 1996 fantastic action thriller "Long Kiss Goodnight". I don't know how many times I have watched that movie, but I always get SO hooked with the film. From L Jackson's lines, to Brian Cox's about taking them to the zoo (after the shoot-out at the Central Station) to the bad guy's character, it is all so believable.

    That film remains on my top 10 best films. I'd love to do the imdb link, but seeing as I am at the cyber-cafe at the Kram Palexpo, where security is tight even on the Net, not sure whether it will be possible. Let's try. {ouch, they have blocked the "START" so that you cannot browse any other programmes on the computer. Smart. Which means if this gets lost, it gets lost!!!} ok. Here's the link:

    I also read in yesterday's Tunis paper that Geena Davis has an IQ of, what 140 or something, and that she is playing in a new role in the US as female president. The series is called "Commander-in-Chief" or something...

    Gosh, that woman is SO good.

    On a personal note, managed to track that gorgeous woman I bumped into at the airport Friday afternoon. She is working at one of the stands--the Rwandan one--and works for one of the World Bank programmes. She tried my number again, got through. I saved that number of hers faster than...chose your pick: blink of an eye/an ADSL connection/you could say "jack robinson".

    Regrettably, she is at the stand most of the time, but I'm eyeing this member of the opposite sex with...dinner in mind.


    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    From Accra to Italy With...Delay and Trepidation

    Suffice to say, I am now in Tunis, at this place called Hotel Oscar. The street name? "Rue de Marseillaise". For a country that is situated right between Algeria and Libya who have dubious histories of French involvement (remember how Nobel Peace prize winner Albert Camus refused the prize for his classic 'L'Etranger', which blazed the trail for existentialist thought, because of his perception of French imperialism. That was one of the reasons anyway).

    So how does delay and trepidation come into the story? Very easily.

    I wonder why people still fly with Alitalia. Last time I took it--in 2000--to come to Accra from Brussels, we weren't particularly impressed. There was, then also, a delay, and the serving of the food was late. This time, the food was on time, good, and very enjoyable, but the equipment looked like it needed to have "relic" parenthesised to it--and hey, if that word doesn't exist, I am coining it right now:=)

    Seriously, we were supposed to take off at 23h45. Instead, it was around 30 minutes later that we took off, when most of the passengers were dosing in the airport lounge. There was an apology over the tannoy, but being warned about the weather in Italy--misty and cold as it was--did little to assuage fears that we would get there on time.

    Thankfully, we did. Most were asleep within 15 minutes of the plane taking off, but had to be awoken to be brought food.

    The trepidation, thankfully, was allayed. The delay too--as we miraculously arrived on time in Malpensa, Milan. The treatment of those of us of a darker shade, even with our visas already processed, was nothing to laugh about. Being bungled in a room with around seven others, excluding my work colleague, tantamount to a cell and asked to have passports kept for about twenty minutes when it was clear that the Embassy had issued a transit visa for all of us, was humiliating. But that's another story that deserves discussion on Trials and Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen

    BTW, went to the Exhibition parc today -- Kram it's called. Tunis is many parts of Europe, especially Paris, in a time warp!!

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Unbearable Lightness of Blogging-Part I

    Here’s a nod to you Zee S-RawlingsJ, from Brussels, BELGICO.


    Seriously, I’m off..almost…to Tunis, Tunisia in a day and a half’s time for a good ten days for a UN Summit.


    Will be blogging from colder Tunis. Right now, I’m pretending to look busy whilst, in my heart, I’m preparing and getting all butterflies swimming in what will prove to be a phenomenal experience in a country that has, well, a dubious record on human rights, but is quite close to this side of paradise—weather-wise.


    Thanks for all the visitors thus far but honestly, what explains my site being considered a sensual site?




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