The United Nations and the Internet
Your Thursday editorial “A ludicrous U.N. idea” is, frankly, ludicrous. It grossly misrepresents the United Nations’ relationship to the Working Group on Internet Governance. First, the findings of the working group reflect the views of its 40 members, not those of the United Nations or the secretary-general.
Second, the working group was established following an agreement by all U.N. member states, including the United States, to ask a group of independent experts for their collective views on where the World Wide Web should be going. Thus, the group’s report is not the work of “U.N. bureaucrats,” but rather of independent experts from both governments and the private sector.
Third, your sample list of these experts neglected to mention that among its membership was the executive director of an organization representing 60 information technology associations from around the globe, a senior manager from the International Chamber of Commerce and the vice chairman of the board of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN).
The purpose of the report is to facilitate negotiations at the second phase of the World Summit for the Information Society in November. In short, it was an effort to get stakeholders from around the globe thinking and talking about how we can best benefit from this vital and invaluable media, not some sinister U.N. plot to bureaucratize the Internet.
Under-secretary-general for communications and public information
New York City
Guerrillas, not terrorists
I must disagree with one point in James Jay Carafano’s “Terrorist theory of victory” (Commentary, Sunday): The soldiers of the Continental Army during the War of Independence were often guerrillas, but never terrorists.
Guerrillas and terrorists are similar in their tactics. They often use unconventional, hit-and-run tactics to throw an enemy off-guard and ultimately destabilize him.
There is a crucial difference between the two, however. Guerillas attack military targets. Their objective is to cripple, even destroy if possible, an enemy’s war-making capability. Terrorists, on the other hand, attack civilian targets, the more helpless the better.
In an essay advocating terrorism, V.I. Lenin once explained that the purpose of terrorism was to spread panic among the populace and erode confidence in government’s ability to protect the people. At another point, he more succinctly summed it up, “The object of terrorism is to terrorize.”
Throughout the War of Independence, the British press never once carried anything derogatory about George Washington in terms of his character, although I’m certain there were plenty of denunciations of his course of action. Had the Continental Army been involved in terrorism, that would not have been the case.
I urge Mr. Carafano to be more careful of his examples in the future.
THOMAS M. CRAWFORD
Native Hawaiians don’t need the Akaka bill
Mark Bennett, attorney general of Hawaii, viciously attacked constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein (“Akaka bill fair,overdueandlawful,” Forum, Sunday). I’ll use Mr. Bennett’s exact language, but applied to himself.
Mr. Bennett’s commentary “is not only full of gross misrepresentations and outright lies, it is astoundingly ignorant and utterly offensive …
“Perhaps the most patently ignorant and insulting statement” by Mr. Bennett is his assertion that ethnic Hawaiians “have a documented history of suffering substantial discrimination for more than a century, including outright prejudice in all walks of life, wholesale deprivations of native lands and bans on their native tongue.”
“It is shocking any intelligent and presumably educated person would make such a statement about Native Hawaiians ….”
“Deprivations of native lands.” No private property ownerlostlandwhenthe monarchy was overthrown. The new government administered public lands on behalf of all Hawaiian people just as before. Annexation to the United States five years later required those lands to be held by the United States as a public trust to benefit all Hawaiian people “for educational and other public purposes.” Continuing to now, the largest private landowners in Hawaii are ethnic Hawaiians and the racially exclusionary institutions they control, such as the $10 billion Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools).
“Native Hawaiians … suffering substantial discrimination for more than a century, including outright prejudice in all walks of life …” For the first several decades of the territorial period, ethnic Hawaiians held an overwhelming voting majority, dominated the legislature and elected ethnic Hawaiians as territorial delegates to Congress. Our governor from 1986 to 1994 was ethnic Hawaiian; about 20 percent of our legislature is ethnic Hawaiian (same as the percentage of population).
“[B]ansontheirnative tongue.” Nonsense. The Hawaiian language was never banned. Hawaiian-language newspapers were published continuously for a century until the last one died out around 1950. By the time the monarchywasoverthrown in 1893, 95 percent of the kingdom’s public schools were already English-language schools by parental request. This ridiculous victimhood claim of language-banning has been debunked,anditsconstant reassertion is designed to stir up unfounded racial resentment.
Supporters of the Akaka bill say ethnic Hawaiians need race-based political sovereignty to preserve their culture. Nonsense. Tell that to the Amish, Cajuns, Japanese Americans, and Mexican Americans.
Supporters of the Akaka bill say Hawaiians are an endangered species, but the Census Bureau says the number of ethnic Hawaiians in the United States has mushroomed from fewer than 40,000 in 1900 to more than 400,000 in 2000 — a tenfold increase in the first century of American sovereignty. The Hawaiian grievance industry racially profiles ethnic Hawaiians as poor, downtrodden,disease-riddendrug abusers. However, in 1999, 13 percent of ethnic Hawaiian familieshadincomesabove $100,000. Victimhood statistics are exaggerated because one drop of native blood gets someone called “Native Hawaiian” even though he or she is mostly Chinese, Japanese, Filipino or white.
Asattorneygeneralof Hawaii, Mr. Bennett should be using his power to abolish race-based institutions in Hawaii rather than lobbying Congress to further entrench Hawaiian apartheid by passing the Akaka bill.
KENNETH R. CONKLIN
The truth about Tango
We were delighted to read Jessica Leshnoff’s lovely review of our picture book “And Tango Makes Three” (“Silo and Roy and their bundle of joy,” Show, Friday), but we did want to clear up one key detail.
Our depiction of Roy and Silo finding a rock that looked like an egg and trying in vain to hatch it was not a warmhearted act of authorial embellishment. It actually happened. Roy and Silo’s befuddled attempt to become fathers failed, of course, but it inspired their keeper, Rob Gramzay, to perform his version of a home study: putting a “dummy egg” in their nest to make certain that the pair could handle a real egg. They did beautifully. Mr. Gramzay found a fertilized egg, and the result was Tango. To better hold the attention of our littlest readers, we don’t describe all of the details of how Tango came to be, but the events we do depict truly happened.
JUSTIN RICHARDSON PETER PARNELL
Authors, “And Tango Makes Three”