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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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.


    At Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:26:00 am , Blogger sissoula said...

    A pizza shaped like a fish -- why is that so hilarious? Well, the social scene may be a little disappointing, but I admire your determination to mingle. I'm sure that by the end of the summit, you will have met lots of interesting people. As for determining the future of the internet... sounds messy to say the least. Maybe you can grab some extra napkins while you're at the buffet.

    At Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:08:00 pm , Blogger Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

    ...and a suitcase for hire:-))

    Hope you're keeping well sissoula! You are right; it is very messy...


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