MINUTES OF THE JULY 19, 1997 TELECONFERENCE MEETING

    Session1: 
    Start time: 2:00 pm.
    End time: 3:45 pm
    
    Session2:
    Start time: 9:30pm
    End time:12:50am
    
    Attendees:
    
    	Ahmed Ahmed-Yahia: facilitator
    	Ahmed Bouzid
    	Karim Diff: scribe
    	Myriam Nia
    
    From 2:00 to 2:40 the agenda for the meeting was selected and agreed upon.
    Agenda:
    
    1. Feedback on the open letter effort
    
    2. Discussion of ways to reduce misunderstandings
    in the course of AW operations
    
    3. Discussion of the AW web page
    
    4. Discussion of the Mission statement on AW
    
    5. Planning of the August 29 meeting in Milwaukee
    
    Details:
    
     1. Feedback on the open letter.
    
    At Ahmed's invitation each member gave a general assessment of the open-letter effort.
    
    Myriam expressed a general satisfaction and mentioned as important positive points the large number of 
    signature gathered by the letter and the fact that the letter was able to gather people from different 
    political orientations.
    
    Ahmed remarked that it was the fact that the letter provided a clear, inclusive and well defined statement 
    that resulted in such a success. He also mentioned the organization behind the letter. The fact that the 
    drafting and follow-up commitees did not engage in unnecessary arguing or fighting on A-net enhanced
    the image of seriousness of the effort and helped gather people.  Karim focused on the fact that more 
    attention should have been given to the choice of addressees and to the establishment of well-defined
    criteria for that choice. He also suggested that although the total number of signatures is fairly large the 
    number of signatures by algerian members was smaller, especially as a proportion of the total
    number of A-netters. He also mentioned the petition of 1992 which had received a similar attention from 
    A-netters.  Hammoudi felt that there was a positive reaction from A-net as a whole, and that it was a good 
    experience overall. He also suggested that this operation will turn out to be more difficult than the 
    upcoming actions of AW which will be much more specific.
    
    The following resolutions were agreed upon at the end of this section:
    
    1. There is no need to send a conclusion message to A-net. Myriam's message sent a couple of weeks ago 
    will suffice.
    
    2. It was agreed to let M'hammed Hanniche act as custodian of the letter on the Web indefinitely. There is 
    therefore no need to announce any dissolution of the drafting and/or follow-up committee.
    
    3. The letter will be housed on the AW web site in a section separate from the main AW activities.
    
    4. We will ask M'hammed to try to locate the address of Me Verges in France.
    
    5. Karim will attempt one more time to locate Me Ali-Yahia through the web. Other channels will be 
    explored in case of difficulties.
    
    6. It was decided not to add or remove any organization from the list of addressees. The main rationale 
    being that any modification done after the closing of the letter would be unfair to those who have already
    signed it.
    
    7. Ahmed will relay the relevant decisions to M'hammed.
    
    ========================================================
    
    2. Discussion of ways to reduce misunderstandings in the course of AW operations
    
    This discussion was a follow-up on a misunderstanding that occured 10 days before on the issue of 
    whether the open-letter should be housed on the AW web site. Myriam expressed her concerns that the 
    phrasing of some messages seemed to refer to decisions different from the ones already agreed upon. 
    Ahmed pointed out that no suggestion or idea can be implemented without the approval of the other 
    members. Hammoudi mentioned that such misunderstandings were to be expected in the course of events 
    and are a normal part of human interactions.  Karim suggested a clearer writing of messages to separate
    suggestions from the rest of the comments.
    
    =======================================================
    
    3. Discussion of the AW web page
    
    The discussion focused on 3 essential points:
    
    a) The e-mail coordination among AW members
    b) The structure and appearance of the AW web page
    c) The preparation of the list of AW helpers and the AW library
    
    a) E-mail coordination.
    
    Myriam suggested first that the message containing updates of actions and proposals (sent by the 
    coordinator of the week) be streamlined to be easier to read. She also suggested a new scheme
    to interact via a sort of bulletin board on the AW web page. As it seemed difficult to understand precisely 
    how the scheme would work it was agreed that she would set-up a working model and that e-mail
    should be used as usal for the moment.  One of the difficulties was related to the issue of password-
    protection to prevent access by non-members. Karim suggested to look under the procedure to set-up 
    "frames" on the web. Ahmed expressed his desire to have a single address to send e-mail
    to the rest of the AW members. This would facilitate things as more members join AW. Myriam agreed to 
    look into it and test the address she has already devoted to AW.
    
    b) The structure and appearance of the web page.
    
    All members agreed that Myriam did a good job at setting-up the AW web page. Some of her small 
    artifacts were particularly appreciated by Hammoudi. It was agreed that there will be two separate 
    domains on the AW web site. One would be accessible to all while the other would reserved for the 
    internal use of AW members. Myriam still need to find out precisely how to protect the internal
    page from outside visitors.
    
    c) The preparation of the list of AW helpers and the AW library
    
    Ahmed volunteered to build a preliminary list of potential recruits for AW. He will submit the list when it 
    is ready preferably before the august meeting so it can be discussed then.  It was agreed to postpone the 
    discussion of the AW library to the Milwaukee meeting after the Charter has been agreed upon.
    Hammoudi mentioned at this stage that the letter addressed to Amnesty International was returned for 
    wrong postage. He will remail it as soon as possible.
    
    The conference-call went into recess at 3:45 pm. It was agreed to reconvene at 9:00 pm the same evening.
    
    =====================================================
    The AW conference-call resumed at 9:30 pm will all the members present.
    
    4. Discussion of the Mission statement on AW
    
    While the principles that will serve as the basis for AW actions were agreed upon by all members, Myriam 
    raised issues concerning the use of the word Democracy in the phrasing of AW's principles. An objective 
    definition of the word being elusive Myriam worried that various interpretations could be made by people. 
    Not all of which would be beneficial to AW's mission. Hammoudi concurred and agreed also that perhaps 
    the AW web page should include a definition of the term Democracy. Ahmed emphasized that only the 
    process of accession and sharing of power should be retained in the understanding of Democracy, leaving 
    aside the issue of secularism versus Shari3a. Karim read 3 separate definitions ( see appendix) of 
    Democracy from other sources, all of which matched the members understanding. At that point it was 
    agreed to put a succint definition of democracy that will come from the 3 aforementioned sources plus 
    whatever other sources the AW members could gather. Another concern raised by Myriam was that as 
    stated the mission of AW was of a political nature. This generated a debate
    on the following issues:
    
            * Is intervention in the name of Human rights considered
             political? The case of Amnesty International was discussed.
    
            * What is the difference between a political party and
            an association whose activities may intersect with the
            the political realm? The case of Greenpeace and the ecological
            movement as well as the case of the LADDH ( Ligue Algerienne
            de Defense des Droits de l'Homme) were discussed.
    
            * Should AW abide by the established political order as
            ratified by popular vote, thereby focusing solely on violations
            of the laws established by that order, or should AW still be
            critical of the foundations of that order in the name of
            its own self-determined principles?
    
    A variety of scenarios and examples of AW intervention were considered and a consensus slowly emerged 
    on the following: AW is not a political party in the strict meaning of the term (i.e. an organisation that, in 
    the democratic format, seeks votes in order to be elected to governing positions) but some of its actions 
    could have a political character within the basic principles previously defined. It was agreed not to provide 
    any definition of Democracy (contrary to what was agreed upon earlier in the discussion) on the web page 
    and deal with the issue only if it is raised by others. The members explicitly stated that although some 
    actions could be considered political this was not not the primary purpose of AW and that nobody have 
    any ulterior political motives for AW.  Ahmed volunteered to write a first draft of the AW Mission 
    statement that he will submit to the rest of the group.
    
    =================================================
    
    5. Planning of the August 29 meeting in Milwaukee
    
    The meeting in Milwaukee was set to Saturday August 30 and Sunday August 31. All members will 
    attempt to travel to Chicago on Friday August 29. Hammoudi will pick-up everbody from Chicago.
    Karim will send a first outline of the meeting's agenda. The rest of the members will amend it and correct 
    it as they see fit. The meeting is scheduled to focus primarily on the finalization of the AW charter.
    
    ===================================================
    
    The conference-call was adjourned at approximately 12:50 AM
    
    ===================================================
    
    





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