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No to despair, yes to ambition    Monday, June 25, 2001

During a visit to the Palestinian ministry of Industry, the above-mentioned slogan (no to despair, yes to ambition) caught my attention. My official host at the ministry noticed me looking the slogan, which was written across the wall in an office accommodating 5 to 6 employees. The office belong to the IT department of the ministry.

Jamal, an IT technologist, who has spent many years studying in German universities. He speaks fluent German and highly trained IT technologist. He looked to me and said,・we have a big vision for Palestine. Our dream is to create an e.government and eventually e. society. We are at the beginning. And we are acting. Our team has already put the master plan and started construction of the first unit which would administer our future vision.

It was surprising to hear such an ambitious plan especially at this terrible and difficult time. However, Jamal expressed his philosophy of the Intifadah. Jamal said,・we must go on and especially in this field. Palestinians can not afford to fall back. We missed a lot in the past. The new wave of technology is too important to miss. Then, enthusiastically, offered to show me the HQ of the future IT vision operation facility in Gaza City. It was on the top of the building, which houses the ministry of Industry.

The facilities are still under construction. Workers were busy doing their job. A woman architect eagerly explained the lay out of the building, which she designed. Another electric engineer showed me his skills of wiring up the whole place according to the high level demands of IT. All of them formed themselves into a team to build and construct the first unit of IT HQ in Palestine at a national level. The team members are ministry staff with various educational backgrounds. They got together and decided to realize the dream despite the tough blockade and daily life difficulties. The new top floor will be named The Palestinian IT National Council.

The woman architect elaborated,・It is small now but this is a beginning. We do what we can at each step. This place will function as a base for launching e.government and e.society. We will build another special independent HQ when the time comes. For now, we shall start with this.

The electrician added,・We only received $5000.00 as a help from Palestinian Ministry of Finance. The rest is being built with our own limited resources. Any staff with a skill contribute to the realization of the new IT dream.

As I was saying goodbye to those young determined visionaries, Jamal accompanied me downstairs, pressing on my hand with a gentle smile,・We need you in this together. I have to accomplish it. This project, if completed, will be great for the whole country. Let's always keep in touch. I was, personally, touched to see such a bright glow in his eyes, looking at me and offering to join him. I will do my best, Jamal.・I replied.

Leaving the building of the ministry, I looked up to the bright blue summer sky. Walked towards the car and a tear came down my eye, thinking,・when shall we start building lives again・


B. Samed

June 25th 2001






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