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AFRIK-IT  April 1998

AFRIK-IT April 1998

Subject:

Re: Flag Planters

From:

Dawit Angelo <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 4 Apr 1998 13:09:28 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Selam all:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear all, a complete treatise is awaits you below. Hope you
will forgive me if I stray a little. If I do, please understand
that it is only to help staighten out the list perspective.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. Lisse, my civilized is not the one that requires a <" " >
qualification. I meant the well meaning, honest, truthful,
selfless, pressured by a remotely moulded system yet staunch
wholeheartedly concerned pilanthropist civilized:-)-O Thank
god you cooled off, anyway. I agree with Watermeyer who
enlightened us about your achievements that your departure
will leave a seriouse gap in the list.

Neverthless, I beg to differ with you and Clement that this
is simply about flames and the following might show if we are
"in the right mood" as you hope.

I believe, it is generally an insult to the African intelegence
to read posts on a list carrying an Africa accronym subtly
inculcating the notion of, I qoute from a recent popular post
circulating the net, "a distant, benevolent world...who, at worst,
are doing not enough to help their sisters and brothers in the
so-called "third world." Also, I believe that the insult is to a
narower group -members of this list, if the list was initially
designed (I very much doubt it was) or contemptousely turned
into a test ground for measuring the popularity of often
replicative and self-serving IT projects that lack originality
and Africaness in a presumably "representaive" group.

However, I now gather that the leaders said it openly and
repeatedly and the reckless and irrisponsibe acts of small time
functionaries who have run out of and unable to come up up with
original project ideas might not warrant a far reaching
generalizations. Yet, it might help "rementants of the old
order" if there are any around, to remember that in the face
of billions flowing from Africa every year in the form of debt
servicing, unfair trade regimes and the resultant imbalances etc.,
that even buzz words like "partnership-in-development" and
fiscal etc. "reforms" will remain suspect and hollow until
proven otherwise. Also, a closer reading of African history
might help the adventurous bunch to figure that even the
most hardened who were bent on completely transforming the
continent that harbours the answers to the root causes our
modern absurdities did end up being transformed themselves with
out knowing it. Or else, they should be prepared if they insist.

It is amazing that a pretty staight foreward observation that
there could be no way for one to become an expert in a continent
yet to be discovered simply slips us. IT expertizse as applied
elsewhere is onething and "adotpting" and applying it to a
diffrent environment is quite another. There is no expertise
here but only colleagueail partnership in a long venture on which
we just set foot. What is there in letting Africans themselves
ititiate, discuss, consolidate and coin up projects. Trying to
replicate or impose this and then that solution is not only the
worst of apprachs but, it will only end up in inventing non
existing problems which at worest could lead to an imobilizing
fixation. To provide a solution, the problem has to be there first.
And identifying the problem is much more difficult that
prescribing a solution. Particularly so when one is quite removed
from the problem both physically and imotionally. Problem
prescription? Nooah!

I prefer to believe that we no more have lunatic remenants of
the old order who dream of "technical assistants" quietly taking
over the management of ministries and academic institutions
under the guise of rebuilding them, carefully-organized
structural adjustment programs, distance education or Y2K.
That is a seriouse problem. If the lunancy however is milder
though, we can try to come back to track discussing concerens
like taking away African teaching jobs, creating others for
retired programers who are not even in need etc. etc. until we
exahust the prescription first list if some are bent on it. What
can we do? May be the present flamewar is a blessing in disguise
to bring this list back to where it really belongs. Let us hope.

Let me close by asking why it is difficult to comprehend the
simple fact that we understand including the dirty tricks of
starving truely Afican ititatives while unduly uplouding the
trivial? that we also know how to read motives? Remeber, how
my piece on Digitizing Ethiopian Historical Works of Art
including the comment I solicited from the kind Prof. Gates of
Harvard was unceremounousely ignored? I am not implying that it
was a project of course though I wouldn't hide that I was bitter.

Now to the long overdue real action! Think! Creat! Discuss! Solve
real problems .... We can't stay poor forever in this list on both
the technical and the perspective front and keep wasting
bandwidth and time reading travel anecdotes.

Thanks god I am not looking for any crumbs, and can speak my
mind.

Sincerely
Dawit Angelo

At 06:40 PM 4/3/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Now that we are in the right mood,
>
>Should we developing countries accept that USAID conducts foreign
>assistance and humanitarian aid to advance the political and economic
>interests of the United States?
>
>el
>
>--
>Dr. Eberhard W. Lisse\ / Swakopmund State Hospital
><[log in to unmask]> * | Resident Medical Officer
>Private Bag 5004 \ / +264 81 124 6733 (cell) 64 461005(h) 461004(f)
>Swakopmund, Namibia ;____/ Domain Coordinator for NA-DOM (el108)
>Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees, Namibian Internet Development Foundation,
>an Association not for Gain. NAMIDEF is the Namibian Internet Service Provider.
>

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