One of the key issues here is accessibity - as well as cost, of course. IF
say, the *public* library in Africa was re-invented in an "electronic" form,
as has been effectively done with many public library networks in the West,
where citizens can access the Internet very cheaply or for free, then the
objective condition required to start overcoming the "book famine" is
secured. In other words, given the book and paper famine in Africa, it may
be possible to leap-frog straight to the electronic age.
OF COURSE this still implies African countries obtaining the technical
resources, [and this may lead to such libraries having to charge] but with
mirror sites etc. it is at least a possibility. And it naturally does not
solve any of the problems re western cultural dominance etc. already
mentioned. But if access in widely available through libraries and resource
centres, then at least poorer people and those in rural areas will have SOME
kind of look-in - and access to climatic, agricultural, trade info is not so
useless to them. I was looking at Yucatan web sites yesterday, so the idea
of rural-based Net services are not so much a dream as a question of time.
At 05:27 PM 2/05/96 -0700, you wrote:
>>Do you mean to suggest that if people in Africa gain the ability to publish
>>their own web pages they will publish the same stuff we're used to so far
>>because their education is based on Western principles?
>I didn't say that, but probably. The internet is certainly Western
>dominated. But how do I know?
> Brushing past the
>>mistaken notion that all educated Africans are educated in the West,
>I didn't say "all".
> are we
>>to assume that Africans are so shallow as to be wholly formed by their
>>education alone? Can we assume that of Americans?
>Did I say "shallow"? No. Nor did I suggest it.
>Actually, one's education has a great deal of influence on onself, usually.
>An important part of the formal education process is to socialize the
>individual to be a responsible contributing member of society, one who obeys
>the rules, and participates positively. In classrooms societal values and
>appropriate behaviors are taught. This is hopefully reinforced in the home.
>People who are born in one culture and spend their earlier years there, and
>who then go into a totally different culture in their latter school years,
>are influenced by both cultures.
>>What is the problem with the "elites in gov't and in universities" having
>>access to the Internet?
>It's not a problem. As you say, that was the case in the west until
>some people - and I said "some" - believe that if African countries got
>internet access then all citizens would have access to it, and, in fact, the
>internet would solve the problems of Africans, and the continent would
>emerge into the 21st century. Some people believe the internet is the
>savior of all the African people. That the internet is what the average
>peasant needs. I'm talking about now, not 20 years from now. Who knows
>what the situation will be like in 20 years. Or even 5 years.
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