[Community-Discuss] Cotonou Meeting
Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com
Fri Jun 15 18:21:21 UTC 2018
With all due respect – let me respond to this piece by piece.
Firstly – I know a LOT about the history – please keep in mind – I’ve been working in this industry full time now for 23 years – since I was 16 years old. I remember the days of the Internet sitting inside a lab where admittedly I probably wasn’t supposed to be on ircII via a system at the end of a 64bit link – and that was way before 1998.
HISTORY does not gain respect – because HISTORY is written by the victors so they say – and it is only respectful to this community to look, before making decisions as to celebrate something, as to the current status quo. When the status quo is the community crying out for reform and change – when the status quo shows that at least some of the people who were involved back then have since engaged in a pattern of hedgemony and blant disregard for the community – when the community has said ENOUGH – to find the organisation that ISP’s, as members, fund, out of their earnings – spending our money on an event that is not even appearing on calendars – that – is misguided at best.
Considering that there are people on that program who are claiming they haven’t even gotten invites – and others who are saying they were there back in 98 and do not believe that ICANN’s involvement in this event is anything more than a sponsorship logo because (to paraphrase) there is nothing of substance on the agenda other than a bunch of cultural events – that – is a private party and something members should object to paying for.
Yes – the internet has grown on the continent – so I believe that it was all thanks to a meeting in 1998? Not a chance – Please – keep in mind that before AFRINIC many people had space – and it worked just fine – and AFRINIC – did not really make it easier to get space – in fact – if I recall it was an academic NREN that gave AFRINIC some of the first space it ever handed out.
Looking back at the last 20 years may be worth doing – but not in some celebration – for the AF* it should be a question of – how the HELL did it go SO horribly wrong – how did it get to the point where we sit with AFRINIC? How did it get to a point where the top person in AFNOG stands up at the end of a meeting and insults the government of a host country because they would not hand over more cash on the basis that the the information being requested simply wasn’t accurate and wasn’t there? How did it get to the point where we want to turn our domain system into an ICO and trade it like a giant ponzi scheme in the name of “non profit” while our governance is so shocking that we cannot get audited accounts for any of the AF* members other than AFRINIC – and when we try and question for more details about what is THOSE accounts at an AGMM we get shut down?
You talk about respect – respect is acknowledging that the community has stood up and said ENOUGH – that the community showed with their ballots what they thought the state of things were – and to do not and rub that in peoples faces by holding an event to celebrate the fact that we have – fundamentally – FAILED – and need to go back to the drawing board. This as I said – smacks of arrogance and padding of egos and flies in the face of a community that is angry and wants reforms – not parties.
From: Adiel Akplogan (akp.com) [mailto:adiel at akplogan.com]
Sent: 15 June 2018 19:36
To: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com>
Cc: community-discuss at afrinic.net; AFRINIC Board of Directors' List <board at afrinic.net>
Subject: Re: [Community-Discuss] Cotonou Meeting
I try to keep myself out of the AFRINIC’s community discussion over that past few years, but with all due respect, I would like you to please show a little bit of consideration to the history related to how thing happened in this region (even if you do not respect the people, respect the history).
First of all, the event in Cotonou in 1998 was not only about AFRINIC, but the whole internet technical governance landscape. That is where discussion about other AF* initiatives such as AFNOC, AfTLD, AfREN … started. There were people who spent their time and resources to get the community together to discuss these initiatives, and set the ground principles that brought the ecosystem where it today. Even if you have your view and opinion on AFRINIC, I think many of other organizations are working and growing achieving the goal in mind then, which is to build a strong, vibrant, and engaged real African community on Internet governance topics. Have we succeeded to have every single people or Operators engaged? No, and that is not case anywhere in the world!! But we have to be proud and celebrate the achievement while learning from the mistakes along the road to improve and aim at a brighter future.
Talking about AFRINIC, let’s not forget that it has been created, it has grown, and is able support the development of other groups to ensure a diverse ecosystem. Over 10 years, AFRINIC has made progress and found its seat within the global Internet community (while preserving its unique specificities). If unfortunately lately politics and personalization of its work is hampering its progress, we shouldn’t try to scrap all the work that many have done to get us where we are, where you can have a platform to express your view in the way you want as you do. Since 1998 the African community has grown, as has Internet penetration and its use. Let's recognize that.
I am not saying this because, like many others on this list, I was in Cotonou, but for preserving something deep and dear to our African culture which is called RESPECT.
I really call us all to remember something fundamental: anything we do here will not be possible if there is no community behind it. That is how the internet is technically governed. We need to focus on continuing to build and strengthen our community, nurturing its diversity and creating an environment that encourages open, candide but respectful exchange of ideas that can positively impact us all. Our diversity should be our strength not our weakness. Franche, English, Portuguese, Arabic, North, South, West, East, Central, Indian Ocean, does not define the Internet. The value it bring us does.
Pausing and taking stock over what has happened over the past 20 years is not a bad thing and if any I* or Af* organization decides to contribute and share its experience that should be appreciated.
- a. (Speaking in my personal capacity as an African, an AFRINIC member and member of the global community who still believe in a bright future for the organization as a catalyst for the regional community).
 - While I contributed to the discussion, I had no idea that my professional path would cross over with a hypothetical AFRINIC organization. I already had a very rewarding job at the time :-). I got engaged/involved then because as managing a small ISP, I felt the pain of getting IPv4 addresses from RIPE-NCC.
> On Jun 14, 2018, at 23:55, Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com<mailto:Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com>> wrote:
> Hi AfriNIC Community and AfriNIC Board,
> I have a number of questions around the upcoming meeting in Cotonou on the 6th of July this year – what is being termed as a celebration of Africa IG 1998 – 2018.
> Firstly – can AFRINIC tell us, just how much money they are contributing to this event – keeping in mind that funds that AFRINIC spend are contributed by members, I think the community may be interested to hear an answer to this.
> Secondly – can AFRINIC tell us if they truly believe this event if appropriate at this point in time – when the community has shown a total lack of faith in the board – when the company sits with a legal problem of being unable to elect directors or form quorum for another AGMM – coming on the back of a report that has to be commissioned into the conduct of AFRINIC board and management – which has never yet been shared with this community, is it really appropriate to be spending money on, partnering with, or having anything to do with a “celebration” of this nature.
> What is being celebrated? 20 years of us slowly moving towards complete collapse while the current board continues to bluntly ignore the questions about how they plan to solve the quorum issue for AGMM’s and election of new directors – despite it having been raised time and again?
> Please – I think we as a community deserve some answers – because that event – smacks of the AFRINIC saying “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”
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