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[rpd] [members-discuss] Thoughts and introspection

Dr Paulos B Nyirenda paulos at
Mon Jul 18 12:28:45 UTC 2016

For me the long e-mail from Andrew helped but raised more questions on what it was all 

Honestly, it looks to me like and reads like a "Bernie Sanders speech presented in the 
presence of Hilarly Clinton without mentioning Hilarly" in these weeks that we are in now :-)

I would have liked to see a more specific submission with events and people or groups which 
have generated this introspection.

I do not believe that there will be any healing without specifics. It is good that Badru has 
stepped forward and I hope the results of that will come out in the open. However, I find it 
difficult to believe that an open invitation for others to get in touch with Andrew will yield the 
expected community healing that is being talked about in the e-mail.

Hence, it is my hope that Andrew will reach out to specific individuals and/or groups that he 
has in mind on this e-mailed introspection  and process ... whatever ... instead of him just 
sitting back and waiting for or expecting peopleo groups to reach out to him. He has made a 
good start but needs to go the extra mile.


Dr Paulos B Nyirenda
NIC.MW & .mw ccTLD

On 16 Jul 2016 at 8:23, Andrew Alston wrote:

> Thank you Hytham for your response,
> I look forward to further engagement with you as always. 
> Andrew
> Get Outlook for iOS
> _____________________________
> From: Haitham Nakhal <haitham.nakhal at>
> Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2016 10:16
> Subject: Re: FW: Thoughts and introspection
> To: Andrew Alston <andrew.alston at>, <members-discuss at>
> Dear Andrew, 
> "I'm writing here as an Afrinic member"
> Thank you for your positive email and thanks for your moral courage to confess that you 
> were guilty in sometimes and took the initiative to clear the air and moving forward and 
> positively for the sake of Afrinic organization and members.
> Best Regrads,
> Haitham El Nakhal 
>     ________________________________
>     From: Andrew Alston
>     Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2016 12:49:32 AM (UTC+02:00) Cairo
>     To: rpd List; members-discuss at; General Discussions of AFRINIC
>     Subject: [SUSPECT][members-discuss] Thoughts and introspection
>     Hi All,
>     Let me start by saying, I send what follows wearing no hats, other than to say, I have 
>     thought long and hard about what follows, and I send it as myself,  and with only my own 
>     reflections guiding what I write below.
>     Over the last few days and months, I have thought deeply about what we have seen within 
>     AfriNIC over the last few years, and I have some observations I would like to share.
>     Firstly, we may not all like each other, we may never see eye to eye as a community, as 
>     members, or anything else.  But in the end, our like, or dislike of each other, is immaterial, as 
>     is even our respect for each other.  What we do have to respect , and attempt to strive for, is 
>     the best interests of AfriNIC as an organisation, as a community, and as a critical part of the 
>     Internet on both the African continent and within the global context.  We have to strive to 
>     apply our own individual minds to the problems faced, and the solutions required.  Then, as 
>     part of this community, we have to attempt to voice our thoughts and our opinions, and in 
>     some cases those thoughts and opinions will be accepted, in others they will be rejected.  I 
>     don´t believe any of us have a perfect track record of perfect proposals, because we are all 
>     human, and humans are prone to error.  The ideas and thoughts and views that are proposed 
>     then need to be weighed by the community, not based on position, not based on the age of 
>     the speaker, not based on the linguistic background of the speaker, not based on the 
>     geographic location of the speaker, but entirely based on the merits of the arguments put 
>     forward.  Sadly, this is not what I am seeing in the last few years, and let me state clearly, that 
>     I am as guilty of the issue I describe here as anyone else.  What I am seeing is a community 
>     that is no longer attacking the issues, but attacking either the person, or a subset of the 
>     community.  I see us divided along so many different lines, and sadly, those divides are not 
>     leading to the spirited debate that will end in solutions, instead they are slowly tearing us 
>     apart.  As I said, I am not placing blame on any person or collective here, I believe this is a far 
>     wider problem than that, and I also state again, I am as guilty as any other here.
>     We use procedures to divert from argument, we fight from a point of view of "I´m right, and 
>     you´re wrong, so everything else you say must automatically be wrong."  We have gotten to 
>     the point where so often at meetings and on these lists, instead of listening to one another 
>     based on the merits of the ideas, views and suggestions put forward, we divert from the 
>     content of the proposals and ideas and views, and instead attack, for the sake of attacking a 
>     person, or a collective.  This makes no sense, it is deeply harmful to growth on the continent, 
>     and it is dangerous, because it creates a snowball effect that amplifiers and propagates.
>     Having worked in academic environments, one of the things that is valued in academia and 
>     in research, is open mindedness.  Academia welcomes debate, and it is through debate that 
>     we grow, mature and learn.  It is through spirited, and sometimes even heated exchanges, 
>     that our ideas grow and blossom.  That being said, there are many forms of debate.  If I 
>     examine the work by Don Lindsay, I can see many forms of debate that he describes as 
>     fallacious arguments creeping into the community exchanges across these lists.  If you read 
> I am sure you will see some of 
>     the forms of argument listed there as echoes of what we have seen of late.
>     As I say, use of these forms is not unique to any person, and I to fall back to many of these 
>     types of arguments, but it is something we need to work repairing.  We need to work towards 
>     a point where our arguments, our thoughts, our ideas, our views are spoken to build rather 
>     than destroy.  Every time we resort to the behaviours described above, it simply amplifiers, 
>     propagates and spreads, and the damage it causes may one day reach a point where it 
>     creates terminal injury.
>     What I would like to ask of everyone one of us, is that we, myself included, started to look at 
>     each other´s thoughts and ideas based entirely on the merits of the arguments.  Let us follow 
>     academic principles and research the positions we are taking, carefully, holistically, 
>     understanding all the facts surrounding our positions.  Then let us debate these views from a 
>     point of view of knowledge, and from a point of view that we are debating in order to find the 
>     best possible path for AfriNIC as a community and as an organisation.  I strongly believe that 
>     if we, and again, I include myself, can approach things in this manner, we can all have our 
>     perspectives changed, and all ideas can contribute to a better future for this community.  
>     Please do not misunderstand my position here, I am not suggesting for one second that we 
>     cease debate, I am simply suggesting that all of us attempt to focus more on the issues at 
>     hand, rather than attacking the proposer, the collective, or anyone else.
>     I truly believe that the members of this community all want what is best for AfriNIC, I just am 
>     of the opinion that we have very different ways of approaching it.  Ways that are born based 
>     on the experiences we have all had as we have moved through life.  This is not to say that 
>     any one way is better than another, it is just to say they are different, and sometimes entirely 
>     unique in nature.  However, when you combine this diversity and this uniqueness you end up 
>     with a stronger whole.  Let us respect each other, and as Africans, as members of this 
>     community, as interested parties, attempt to move past our prejudices, whatever they are, 
>     and work together for what is in the best interests of the organisation and community.  Let us 
>     leave the personal behind, and focus on the issues and what builds, rather than what tears 
>     down.
>     With all of this now said and done, I personally would like to extend a hand to anyone who is 
>     willing.  I am prepared to sit and engage one on one with anyone who wishes to do so, to 
>     explore their point of view, and for them to see my point of view.  In the spirit of seeking 
>     common ground, so that where people feel that my actions are the cause of any discord, let 
>     us attempt to mend the issues, and go back to academic principles where we are debating 
>     the issues in an attempt to build a better, brighter future for us all.  I am available on Skype, 
>     via email, or face to face if anyone wishes to engage in that manner and finds themselves in 
>     close geographic proximity to me.  I believe that healing has to start somewhere, and I believe 
>     in life, that if you desire change for a better tomorrow, that change has to start somewhere.  
>     So, if it must, let that change start with me, and my actions, and my words.
>     I look forward to engaging with all of you, and I hope that together, as a community we can 
>     move beyond the divides and come to a point where we are mutually seeking the best for 
>     AfriNIC, with respect for each other, and each other´s views.
>     I am sending this to all three lists, RPD, Members, and the Community, because I believe 
>     that the same issues that plague our debates in one forum, spread across all three, from the 
>     policy side, through the member base, and into the wider community.  I personally would 
>     welcome engagement from any member of any of those lists.
>     Yours Sincerely
>     Andrew Alston
>     AfriNIC community member

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