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RE: [atlarge-discuss] Geographic representation (was RE: [atlarge-discuss] Vittorio Bertola's candidation statement)

Judyth Mermelstein wrote:

>Forgive me for throwing in my probably-unwanted two cents Canadian but I
really can't let this debate pass without comment. Several points
>are worth noting, I think:

Welcome, Judith!  Indeed they are.  My comments follow.

>Although many Americans have made admirable contributions to the Internet,
technologically and philosophically, it has
>been quite a long time since ONLY Americans were discussing issues like
democratization, transparency of governance, etc.

Agreed.  The language issue you point out is valid.  Unfortunately, there
are two factors I must point out:

  1.  We Americans are not to blame *individually* because our educational
system failed to teach us fluency in a foreign language, nor that our mass
media seldom discusses world events!  That is our disadvantage.  You should
feel sorry for us in this regard, and keep us educated when we get it wrong!
(Disclaimer: I'm somewhat the exception to the rule, having personally taken
four years of German in High School, learned "polite words" in Spanish and
Japanese, and speak a fairly fluent northern dialect of Thai -- my wife's
native language.)

  2.  Be it right or no, English has essentially become the language of
technology.  To interface with techies, we really need to do so in their
language.  Granted, many techies in other lands are also using their
language day-to-day, but get an international group of us together and
English is our common toungue.  And I suspect that is, in part, reason for
item #1: the powers that be have not felt the need to teach us other
languages since others are all learning ours!

>2.  The ICANN setup for regional representation is inherently skewed.

I imagine every region has its similar inequities.  That is why I'm against
"regional" representation.  One person, one vote levels the field a bit.
But you'll never totally avoid it, since numbers are higher on our side of
that equation, too!  I would hope that, regardless of where they are from,
our elected officials will put on their "world constituency" hats when
making decisions, and that we as members will vote the same.

>3.  I don't mean to denigrate in any way those Americans Judith Oppenheimer
rightly mentions as having made real contributions, but
>surely people should be able to understand that there can be no online
democracy worthy of the name if it is to be created without
>the active participation of people of all nations.

And many of us have been saying so regularly!  And will hopefully "walk the

>4.  In my opinion, we can hardly pretend that either the call for
nominations (on short notice, without adequate explanation of the
>rules and procedures, and with no effort to reach beyond the population
which is already involved in @Large issues) or the manner in
>which this discussion is being conducted comes anywhere near the usual
notion of democracy.

Unfortunately, we have been regularly blocked in our outreach attempts:
ICANN refuses to e-mail the original At Large list used in the 2000 vote on
our behalf, or provide us the names so we can do so ourselves.  And news and
media sources I've approached refuse to carry our banner until we are fully
organized.  So that is what we are attempting to do.  Until then we open
voting to the members we have.

You must remember that we are voting on *how to organize!* We don't even
have a legal structure or even a permanent name, and yet were are getting
membership approval at every stage.  This is rarely ever seen.  Some have
called this excessive.  In light of ICANN's total lack of openness, we call
it setting the example for them to follow!

>Without worlwide outreach and a genuine willingness to allow people of
other nations to participate fully, this whole process is meaningless >or

I agree.  And if you have a way to get them to know we're here and join us,
please do!

>I'm sorry to be introducing myself to you all with such a long and critical
posting but the process is deeply flawed, as we all should know >by now, and
it seems to me that our energies should go into correcting that rather than
squabbling amongst ourselves about the value of
>letting Americans choose to represent other nations because we know their

No appology necessary.  You'll get no argument from the great majority of
participants on this forum with the assertion that ICANN's current processes
need major reform.  That is what we're hoping to change.

BTW, my mother is Canadian, born in Regina, currently retired to Gabriola
Island, BC, a little Island off of Nanaimo!  I spent a lot of summer
vacations in your beautiful country growing up, and am still fairly close to
my mother's side of the family.  So I understand to an extent where you're
coming from.

Bruce Young
Portland, Oregon USA
Support democratic control of the Internet!
Go to http://www.icannatlarge.com and Join ICANN At Large!

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