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On-line Learning Series of Courses

15 September / 1 October

http://www.networx.on.ca/~jwalker/course.htm

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Bringing People Closer

The obvious tragedy of war is the killing and the bloodshed. The
less obvious tragedy is what comes after. Thousands or millions of
people displaced, thousands of miles away from home, not even knowing
what direction to walk in to be reunited with their families and
friends.

Being on the winning side is a fairly small consolation if your home
has been destroyed and you have no idea where to go looking for the
people you love.

After the Second World War, large convoys of 'displaced persons'
tried to find their way home. Although they were no longer prisoners
of the Germans, they were still prisoners of circumstance. They had no
contact with their relatives, and had no idea whether they were dead
or alive. The Red Cross did its best to keep track of refugees, but it
was impossible to accurately transmit such detailed information all
around Europe. As a result, here were still camps of displaced persons
in Europe two or three years after the war had ended. Families were
still being reunited thirty years later.

The Internet can't stop wars. But it can bring people who are
thousands of miles apart together quite easily. Already, a Yahoo!
email account which can be accessed from a cybercafe anywhere in the
world is now a common travel accessory.

People who have been separated by war are also using the Internet.
There is a network of sites for Bosnians who have been displaced and
who are trying to get in touch with friends and family. Unlike the
Jews after the World War, the displaced people of the Balkans will be
able to keep in touch and spread news much easier.

Perhaps the Internet will bring a bigger change. If individuals can
keep in touch with their friends and their family and their nation
from anywhere on earth, perhaps they will feel less need to return
home. They will be able to travel widely and settle, while retaining
their identity and their culture.

There have always been dispersed nations, like the Jews or the
Irish. However the bonds between the various communities are
historical, rather than current.. The Jews share the Torah and the
Hebrew language, but do not share a whole culture. While trying to
find his way home to Italy from Auschwitz after the War, Primo Levi
reported that the Jews of Northern Europe doubted he was a Jew because
he could not speak Yiddish. They were amused by the way he pronounced
the Hebrew language. Somewhat similarly, Irish communities outside
Ireland have often been criticised by those at home for not being in
touch with what is actually happening in Ireland.

With telecommunications and the Internet, the link need not be only
historical. Now communities, however spread and however dispersed can
remain in contact and can share experiences, almost instantly, across
long distances and many time zones.

The Internet, even at its current, relatively primitive level,
permits a degree of closeness over physical distance that was not
possible before. Perhaps this will make a difference to the way we
perceive ourselves and the nations we were part of. It may even change
the way that nations relate to one another. One day it may even mean
that we have fewer wars.

LINKS

http://www.giotto.org/piccolomini/levi.html - An article about Primo
Levi

http://www.inch.com/~ari/levi1.html - An interview with Levi from 1983

http://www.serbiancafe.com/ - an example of how one part of the
Balkan Diaspora is using the Internet.

http://www.linder.com/berserk/links.html - how another part is using
it, including a link to a "Database for Locating the War-displaced."

Courtesy NUA, Ireland.

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Also in this issue:

- Swissair Crash Claims Lives of Several Development Professionals
    In today's on-line edition of USA Today (www.usatoday.com), the
    following list of development professionals whose lives were lost in
    the Swissair Crash has been posted:
- Bringing People Closer
    The obvious tragedy of war is the killing and the bloodshed. The
    less obvious tragedy is what comes after. Thousands or millions of
    people displaced, thousands of miles away from home, not even
    knowing what direction to walk in to be reunited with their
    families and friends.
- Online Traders' Net Impact On the Increase
    Appearing on a CNBC financial show Tuesday, stock analyst Bill
    Burnham voiced kind words for the online brokerage firm E-Trade Group
    Inc., and the company's stock jumped $1 within minutes. Burnham
    concluded that the instant reaction came from the growing community
    of online investors who were watching the television show and tapped
    out buy orders on their computers.
- 56K Patent Won't Affect User Prices
    Independent inventor and 3Com look to impose licensing fees on
    competing modem makers.
- Judge says 'tax' on Net registration is legal
    A U.S. district court judge has reversed his earlier finding and
    ruled that a fund consisting of more than $50 million in domain-name
    registration fees collected by Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) on
    behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF) was imposed via a
    legal tax.
- ISP Gumshoes Track Down Porn Spammer
    After months of detective work, a notorious spammer has been located
    and served with legal papers by a New York-based ISP.
- FCC Paper: Net Needs New Regs
    The Federal Communications Commission released a working paper on
    Thursday that poses a fundamental question: How should regulators
    classify and regulate Internet service delivered through the cable
    television infrastructure?
- Web survey says Net raises grades
    It used to be that yellow No. 2 pencils, notebooks and a cool
    superhero lunch box topped the back-to-school must-have list, but
    now the Internet may be taking over.
- Killer whale's trip to be broadcast on Internet
    NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) -- When Keiko the killer whale is hoisted from
    his tank at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and flown to Iceland next week
    for the next step in his journey to freedom, fans can follow his
    progress in a live broadcast on the Internet.
- New Lists and Journals
    * NEW: THAI-COOKING - Thai cooking techniques and recipes
    * NEW: Missing Persons; Search Tips, Tricks,
           and Inside Secrets to Finding Any Missing Person, Adoptee,
           or Birthparent
    * NEW: New Mexico's Arts and Crafts Calendar



On-line Learning Series of Courses
http://www.networx.on.ca/~jwalker/course.htm


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