Well, its all over. Too much to sum up right now. But I just sent this message to the WSIS civil society listserv.
Yesterday afternoon, the smiling, broad face of President Ben Ali appearing simultaneously on every flat screen display in the entire Kram convention center signalled the final end of the World Summit on the Information Society. What a strange and marvellous trip it has been.
As one of the privileged few who has been observing and participating in the process for the entire four years, I feel a mixture of tremendous relief, elation at our successes, and a swelling sadness that it’s all over.
I feel especially relieved that I don’t have to deal with you crazy people anymore, at least not on a constant basis as before. I think at several times I have wanted to strangle several of you on this listserv (Robert, Francis, Bertrand, etc) 😉 . Some of you have probably wanted to do the same to me.
At the same time, I feel so glad to have met so many of you over these years (Robert, Francis, Bertrand, etc) , who I never would have met and labored and argued and laughed with if this process had not been in place. It has been a tremendous honor to be associated with so many ardent defenders of the rights to non-Microsoft computers, free scientific journals, software for the blind, community wifi hubs, untortured webloggers, and a myriad of other causes that I knew nothing about before the WSIS. You all have inspired me to keep fighting through this process, even at its darkest hours (ahem, Hammamet, ahem).
So my heart is full right now. I’m not exactly sure what I am going to do tomorrow, but I think it will have nothing to do with overpasses, different colored badges, or anything starting with the letters “CS.”
At the same time, I know that the “next thing” quickly comes along and sweeps aside the memories and emotions of the current battle. So before descending back into the trenches, where I am sure I will find many of you again, I want to congratulate you all on a job well done.
It is far from over. We have at best simply put into motion what might prove at some future moment to have been important forces and structures in the development of a just, open, human-centered Information Society. I think we can say that we did more good than harm. And we shed light on some things that overs wanted covered.
I fancy myself a pragmatic, nut-snd-bolts person. So I will stop philosophizing before I forget myself. Just to say that I love what I do, just for this moment I am in right now.
With best, open, participatory, mult-stakeholder, transparent, regionally -, linguistically- and gender-balanced wishes, Rik Panganiban