Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tunis Part II

As I was saying, this trip to Tunis was my best one so far. I really had a great time enjoying the famed Tunisian hospitality. But first let me just wrap up the rest of the WSIS exhibition. You’ve probably heard a lot about it on the news, and Tunisian bloggers have covered it quite extensively.

I was thrilled to see the unveiling of the cheap laptop to be used for ‘third world’ countries. When produced – hopefully by next year – it is supposed not to cost more than 100$ . Many countries have already pledged funds for this. I’m just wondering will the disadvantaged really benefit from this technology ? or will it end up as a gadget to be shown off by those in power and their offsprings in the poor countries at which this is aimed? I mean imagine you have a sturdy, portable tiny computer which can rewind manually when you need electricity and which is able to run basically the programs we are used to including browsing the internet all for approximately 100$? Hell I want one of those for my self why should I go buy the state of the art one for 3000 Dollars , then have to take an insurance for fear that it falls or gets stolen or the new Dell Inspiron ?

At the exposition the participants were asked if they needed a hostess for their stands …to make things look nicer and more attractive I guess ;) well look at this gorgeous Tunisian babe.

While I was taking a break at the cafeteria this girl was talking with her colleague then a Tunisian man came over to them and told them why are they dressed like this they should cover their legs and charms as the other men were looking at them in a bad way. She replied “ well it’s their problem not mine . I’m fine like this and this is the uniform of the company that I’m representing and I’m working for them now. If I have pretty legs it’s none of their business”. The guy was flabbergasted, he had to apologize saying that as far as he was concerned they were free to do what they wanted, but he was just warning them what most of the Tunisian guys were thinking behind their backs, and he was afraid for their reputations. I was under the impression that Tunisian men were permissive, it seems I was wrong. Talking about reputation here is a good comparative post from an Egyptian blogger Freedom for Egyptians (hattip Programmer_Craig ). She tackles women’s reputation and its importance in Egypt versus the US. Please remember she is talking about Egypt not about other Arab countries so do not make hasty judgments.

Another interesting item I found at the exposition ( yes we are still talking about it ) was a kiosk : called the ‘freedom toaster’ – no not related to freedom fries. Do you give up? Well in South Africa an entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth came up with the brilliant scheme of installing these little kiosks everywhere. The idea is that they contain open source software which is distributed for free. You only bring your blank CDs and burn/download it fast inside it . It can ‘toast’ 3 CDs at a time. I think that is a swell idea because if you have a slow dial up and it takes you ages to get this stuff online you can do it in a couple of minutes here for more details chexk their website . I relished getting my own CDs though I’m still using Microsoft and Windows XP , but it’s good to know I have alternative choices.

Did you know that the the UNDP supported by Sakhr ( an Arabic software development company) had launched project ICTARB which means 'get closer'. It aims to help the blind and those with special needs to get involved in ICT ? I think we need more of this in the Arab world.


programmer craig said...

Hi there, Highlander - you have any more pics of the tunisian "convention" babe? I want to see what all the fuss was about :)

Hannibal said...

Highlander: I think there was a misunderstanding here. Well I was amazed myself at the behavior of this guy with that "babe" girl. Tunisian men in general are not as you said "permissive" but I think it's a question of open-mindedness for a girl wearing a short or a even a micro-skirt is not something unusual, in Tunisia, though I am sure that girl will get the attention of other guys as it is the case in every corner of the world. What I personally understood is that this guy was in reality interested in that girl and his reaction is but a clumsy way just to engage in a discussion ith her. Anyway I think the poor guy was not as smart as he thought:)

Highlander said...

Sorry Programmer_Craig , I did not want to impinge on her privacy ;) but I'm sure other participants must have taken her photo.

Hannibal, thanks for explaining ,I figured the guy must have fancied her, but he is an 'idiot' as this attitude would not curry him any favours :).

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