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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end

Subject:Re: dialogues in and out the net
Date:Fri, 04 Dec 1998 06:08
Author:Anjali Arora  []

This is re Cristina's and Pedro's [and 03 Dec 20:06] postings which I have read with great interest.

Several things come to mind. For one, our debating about whether the Internet will be a boon or a bane is an entirely hypothetical issue, as this medium is really beyond anybody's control. This is a revolution whose time has come, probably very much like the industrial revolution, or the printing revolution which took over the hand-made books era. All that we can do is to make the most of it, and do all that is in our power to spread its benefits.

As of now, I feel the Internet is one of the finest things to happen to humankind. Today, more than ever before, the world is truly lying at your fingertips. A lone individual anywhere in the world can today aim for the skies, and reach out with the help of this medium. He does not need huge capital, nor a high-flying degree. All that he needs is an overwhelming desire to grow.

In developing countries like mine (India), the problem is not so much poverty as it is of outright exploitation of the weak. And the culprits here are politicians. With the Web and computerisation,it is difficult for this parasite class to long continue its old methods. More transparency and accountability that comes with free dissemination of info is the only solution to ridding our societies of their wheeler-dealers and corrupt leaders.

Another point raised by Cristina was that this medium is only going to further benefit the already privileged classes.I differ here. I think this is truly a very democratic medium. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer, and you are on your way. The critical factor here is the individual, and his will to make things work for him. We see this time and again in the graduates who pass out of India's premier Management and Technology institutes.(IIT and IIM). The bulk of these students are not the elite who have been to the best public schools and have the right table manners; but it is youngsters from extremely humble backgrounds, sometimes even from villages, who have no role models at home,but have still ended up in these highly respected Institutes, and turned their lives around, so to speak.

Therefore more people have to overcome their mental blocks and get onto this band-wagon called the Internet. We also must commend and encourage the ones who are making huge investments of time and effort to understand what the Internet is all about, rather than sympathize with the ones who are apparently left behind. The latter have mostly only themselves to blame.

Kind regards.
-- Anjali Arora

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