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[rpd] [members-discuss] Thoughts and introspection

Dr Paulos B Nyirenda paulos at
Mon Jul 18 13:11:38 UTC 2016

On 18 Jul 2016 at 12:41, Andrew Alston wrote:

>     Hi Paulos,
>     Just for clarification purposes.  Before sending the email to the community, there was also 
>     request for direct engagement sort with several individuals.

Great, however, the value of that e-mail would have been much greater if you had included 
these or some of them, it would have helped not to raise so many other questions and 
>     I will continue to seek direct engagement where possible, however, the offer to engage 
>     is still there for the whole community, and I am hoping that beyond just the engagement 
>     I am inviting, that others will also read the contents of the email, and choose to have 
>     their own one on one engagements between themselves and others they have conflict 
>     with.  Let us not make this about specific people, this is about how the community as a 
>     whole engages with each other, both one on one, and in groups and based on all the 
>     divisions I referred to in my mail.  

This sounds contradictory, engagement between one and one is about specific people ... or 
... specific groups and such specifics are not chosen at random.

I see this as of little value if there are no specifics both on people and on events.


Dr Paulos B Nyirenda
NIC.MW & .mw ccTLD

> Fixing the position I see us in now, will never be solved 
>     by one individual, it will take a collective effort between numerous parties.
>     Andrew
>     From: Dr Paulos B Nyirenda [mailto:paulos at]
>     Sent: 18 July 2016 15:29
>     To: rpd List <rpd at>; members-discuss at; 
>     community-discuss at
>     Subject: Re: [rpd] [members-discuss] Thoughts and introspection
>     For me the long e-mail from Andrew helped but raised more questions on what it was all about.
>     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.
>     Regards,
>     Paulos
>     ======================
>     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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