The WSIS is _not_ in Tunis
Yesterday me and Shahzad had a chance to see Tunis in all its WSIS splendour. Tunis as a city is completely appropriated by the WSIS campaign. Public spaces where people lead their daily lives are heavily marked by a campaign about an event that they have no meaningful way to experience, and that will perhaps not bring any lasting good for their country.
This is television, the Society of the Spectacle, or Simulacra at its worst. The minds of the common people are subjected to such an intense message -- how is that relevant to their daily life? How should they interpret it? How can they connect to it? How should they relate to it? -
Well, they should all be glad for their president and proud to be Tunisians. They should not expect anything from the Summit and the last thing they should think about is having their voice heard. Hell, they shouldn't even think about it.
If in the worst act of demagogy the president would have put up a free lunch for the people at the main square, they at least would have the memory to remember: "Ah, when the WSIS came to Tunisia".
True, there is a one-day public access for an exhibition about IT for Online conferencing tools for development practitioners: Finding your path to the right conferencing solution">development -- but that's not what the common people need, not what they can interpret. They would need something simple and tangible, a straightforward explanation and at least a few pilot projects in small community development with IT.
Instead, all the streets and squares are filled up with banners, flags (of Tunisia), greetings to the participants and advertisements for the conference on taxis, bus stops and ad polls. We hear the mediascape is pretty saturated as well -- TV ads on WSIS has been going on months before.
And now, WSIS is in Tunisia! What Tunisia? It is only simulated in the streets of Tunisia -- those flags and banners are there to cover the truth: it's not really happening in Tunisia, and definitely not FOR Tunisia.