A propos du Musée Virtuel du Camp Boiro

Scéne de torture au Camp Boiro. (Source : Association AVRE Aide aux Victimes de la Répression en Exil)
Scène de torture au Camp Boiro. (Source. Association AVRE : Aide aux Victimes de la Répression en Exil)

Le projet du Musée Virtuel du Camp Boiro est-il faisable ? Ou alors est-ce un rêve impossible parce qu’irréalisable ?

Le nom attire immanquablement l’attention. Mais il est difficile d’y voir clair entre l’idée, le projet et le rêve. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’un musée signifie la présence d’objets matériels ou non-matériels à exposer. Il en dépend pour voir le jour et fonctionner.

Or la Guinée ne dispose pas d’archives nationales dignes de ce nom. J’ai brièvement travaillé avec Almamy Seth Conté, directeur national des Archives à Conakry. C’était en 2004. A l’époque la situation de l’institution était précaire. Les choses se sont-elles améliorées. Je n’en sais rien.

Mais, s’agissant du Camp Boiro, le pis n’a fait qu’empirer. A leur arrivée au pouvoir, sans coup férir, le 3 avril 1984 les militaires avaient trouvé toute la documentation du régime du PDG intacte. Depuis lors, Lansana Conté a veillé à la destruction systématique du Camp Boiro. Pièce par pièce, les bâtiments du  Bloc de la prison politique ont été nuitamment détruits. Ils ont aujourd’hui complément disparu.

A Conakry, les régimes successifs, de Lansana Conté à Alpha Condé, en passant par Moussa Dadis Camara et Sékouba Konaté, s’acharnent contre la mémoire collective et tiennent à effacer les traces de 26 ans de crimes sous la dictature de Sékou Touré.

Une confirmation de cette activité sournoise et criminelle en soi est confirmée par l’information sûre suivante :

[On a] construit trois latrines à l’emplacement où nous devions poser la 1ère pierre du futur Mémorial du  Camp Boiro (pose qui nous a été refusée)…. Oser poser ces trois WC sur ce lieu sacré, en plein milieu du terrain réservé aux familles de victimes dans le Camp !!

Le message évident de cet acte consiste à dire que le régime d’Alpha Condé —et ceux qui l’ont précédé— se moquent du Camp Boiro. Au point qu’ils chient et pissent sur ce Goulag Tropical.

C’est grave de la part d’un président qui fut condamné à mort par le Tribunal révolutionnaire en 1971 !

C’est encore plus désolant si l’on se rappelle qu’un peuple qui ignore son histoire est condamné à la répéter, notamment dans ce qu’elle a de plus négatif.

Faire renaître le Camp Boiro

Grâce à la révolution digitale, à Internet et à sa hyper-composante, le Web, tout n’est peut-être pas perdu cependant.

Il est concevable —mais est-il possible ? — de créer un Musée virtuel qui, tel Phénix, ferait renaître le Camp Boiro de ses cendres.

Les options sont les suivantes:

  • Etendre et enrichir mon Camp Boiro Memorial en y intégrant le Musée Virtuel
  • Créer un nouveau site Web consacré au Musée Virtuel

Les technologies Open Source sont flexibles et elles permettent l’adoption de l’une ou l’autre des deux voies ci-dessus.

Obstacles et embûches

Si outils numériques sont abondants et puissants, il en est autrement de leur usage social par les Guinéens, qui publient de nombreux sites web. Mais la plupart se concentrent sur le présent et mettent l’accent sur l’évènementiel. Cela est, dans une certaine mesure, positif. Puisque le quotidien d’aujourd’hui deviendra le passé pour les générations futures.

Mais le nom même “Musée virtuel du Camp Boiro’ signifie que l’on cherche à éclairer le passé, c’est-à-dire les 26 premières années de la république de Guinée. Cela, afin de chercher à répondre aux questions cruciales suivantes :

  • Quand ?
  • Qui?
  • Où?
  • Comment ?
  • Pourquoi ?

Les obstacles et les embûches sur le chemin de la réalisation d’un Musée virtuel du Camp Boiro sont nombreux. Car pour aboutir à cet objectif légitime, nécessaire et indispensable, il faut remplir les critères et satisfaire les conditions préalables suivants:

  • Financement et budget couvrant les dépenses fixes et récurrentes
  • Resources humaines
    • curateurs
    • écrivains
    • programmeurs / développeurs
    • vidéographes et cinéastes
    • artistes graphistes,
  • Collection du contenu (films, photos, publications écrites, enregistrements sonores, tenues de prisonniers, procès-verbaux, lettres, cartes, dessins, croquis, etc.)
  • Equipement informatique
  • Intégration logicielle
    • La plateforme Drupal offre un environnement robuste et fonctionnel pour le montage et l’exécution du projet

Comme on le constate, le passage du nom “Musée virtuel” à la réalité n’est pas chose aisée. D’une part, l’Etat, depuis 1984, a pris la décision cynique de raser les preuves incriminantes de la dictature. D’autre part, la société civile guinéenne n’a pas la volonté et les moyens de combler le vide délibérément créé par les autorités.

Ainsi, par exemple, depuis leur fondation il y a deux ou trois décennies, l’Association des victimes du Camp Boiro et l’Organisation guinéenne de droits de l’homme (OGDH_ n’ont pas de sites web. Et pourtant la Toile est le cadre approprié et amplificateur dans l’accomplissement de leur mission et le déploiement de leurs activités. Dans les autres pays du monde les institutions jumelles de ces deux associations, ont une présence web continue et efficace. Pourquoi les Guinéens ne font-ils pas comme leurs collègues d’Afrique et d’ailleurs ?

Ce rappel ne concerne pas que ces deux groupes aux intentions bien fondées. Par exemple, je me pose la question de savoir si l’AVCB et l’OGDH ont reçus —et reçoivent — un appui, si modeste soit-il, de la part de leurs concitoyens matériellement fortunés et qui disposnet de cash en surplus ? Ayant visité le siège de l’OGDH à Conakry, je suis porté à croire que cette organisation dépend de l’assistance extérieure. Elle ne compte pas sur des dons et des apports locaux. Même chose pour l’association du Camp Boiro.

Dans un contexte aussi débilitant, comment ne pas concevoir le Musée Virtuel du Camp Boiro, comme un rêve impossible.

Je souhaite vivement me tromper !

Tierno S. Bah
Camp Boiro Mémorial

FCC chairman for strongest net neutrality rules

Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman
Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman, Washington, DC

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission just said he’s proposing the “strongest open Internet protections” the Web has ever seen.

In a Wired op-ed, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced he wants to regulate Internet providers with the most aggressive tool at his disposal: Title II of the Communications Act.
In addition to covering fixed broadband providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the draft rules would cover wireless providers such as T-Mobile and Sprint.

The rules would also make speeding up or slowing down Web traffic — a tactic known as prioritization — illegal. And it would ban the blocking of Web traffic outright.

It all adds up to the most significant intervention ever undertaken by federal regulators to make sure the Web remains a level playing field. It is, depending on your ideology, either an unprecedented example of government overreach that will ruin the republic or the most egalitarian, pro-competitive thing the FCC may do in the 21st century.

“My proposal assures the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want,” Wheeler wrote, “and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.”

The FCC is expected to vote on Wheeler’s proposed rules on Feb. 26.

The draft rules seek to impose a modified version of Title II, which was originally written to regulate telephone companies. It will waive a number of provisions, including parts of the law that empower the FCC to set retail prices — something Internet providers fear above all.

However, contrary to many people’s expectations, the draft rules will also keep other parts of Title II that allow the FCC to:

  • enforce privacy rules on carriers
  • extract funds from Internet providers to be used as subsidies
  • make sure services such as Google Fiber can build new broadband pipes more easily, according to people familiar with the plan.

Internet providers won’t be asked to contribute to the subsidy fund, known as Universal Service, right away. The draft rules merely open the door to that obligation down the road should the FCC determine that step is necessary.

[The Universal Service Fund helps schools and libraries buy Internet service and reduces the cost of telephone service for low-income Americans. It also subsidizes connectivity for rural areas. If the FCC later decides to ask Internet providers to pay into the fund, the money would go toward these programs.]

In addition, senior FCC officials confirmed, Wheeler’s draft proposal applies strong rules to the Internet backbone — the part of the Web responsible for carrying Internet traffic to the doorstep of Comcast, Verizon and others before those companies ferry that content to you. The proposal stops short of laying down specific regulations there; it merely lays down the expectation that companies should not favor some Web traffic over others in that part of the network. But under the draft rules, the FCC will reserve the right to investigate deals such as the kind Netflix has signed with Comcast, Verizon and others in the Internet backbone. That’s a huge deal for Netflix.

“This is a historic moment for applying the Communications Act to preserve freedom of expression,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of the consumer group Public Knowledge. “By using targeted non-discrimination policing powers, I think the FCC chairman is doing more today to protect and promote freedom of expression than we’ve seen in decades of debate about how broadband services should be treated.”

The announcement reflects a major turning point for Internet regulation, and a huge moment in the history of the Web. Wheeler’s proposed rules stand to determine who — and how — Internet providers are allowed charge for services.

Wheeler’s proposal has Republican critics seething

“It is a power grab for the federal government by the chairman of a supposedly independent agency who finally succumbed to the bully tactics of political activists and the president himself,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, in a statement.

To understand the magnitude of what’s happening, consider this: Since Columbia Law scholar Tim Wu coined the term “net neutrality” in a seminal paper in 2003, the FCC has tried to implement net neutrality rules twice — and failed. Both times, the rules were struck down in court. Now, the FCC is trying a third time. And its leader — a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries, no less — appears to be swinging for the fences.

For consumer groups that have been pressing for aggressive rules all along, this is a major victory. It’s a significant setback for Internet providers that wanted the flexibility to try new business models. And importantly, it’s the culmination of a year’s worth of reflection by Wheeler himself, who months ago was in a very different place on the issue.

Wheeler wasn’t always sold on what President Obama said should be the “strongest possible rules” for net neutrality.

Let’s rewind to last January, when a federal court tossed out the FCC’s existing rules on the grounds that the agency had exceeded its congressionally granted authority. In the wake of that ruling, Wheeler said he’d follow the court’s “roadmap” to a solution that would stay on the right side of the law.

In the spring, he rolled out a proposed rule that many ISPs liked but consumer groups hated. The problem? It tacitly allowed for Internet providers to speed up some forms of Web traffic in exchange for payment — a tactic known as paid prioritization. This is the one thing net neutrality rules were supposed to prevent.

The mere possibility of paid prioritization slipping through touched a nerve with grassroots activists, who argued that only Title II would be enough to keep the broadband industry from setting up a tiered Internet favoring wealthy, established businesses.
In a world with paid prioritization, they said, start-ups and small businesses would be shut out of the market because they couldn’t afford to pay ISPs for priority access to customers. They also wouldn’t be able to afford the legal fees associated with filing complaints to the FCC when abuses occurred.

Then came a late-night comedian named John Oliver. Oliver, who’d made a name for himself on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, took on the FCC’s initial proposal with a blistering, 14-minute rant that accused the agency of undermining net neutrality and even lobbed a few bombs at Wheeler himself.

“That is like needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo,” Oliver said. “They shouldn’t call it ‘Protecting Net Neutrality,’ they should call it ‘Stopping Cable Company F***ery.'”

Oliver’s net neutrality segment kicked the grassroots organizing machine into overdrive. Proponents of stronger rules flooded the FCC with millions of comments calling for Title II. By the end of the process, it had become clear that the public had spoken, despite a significant counter-effort by those backing the industry position.

Industry officials admit that they were outmaneuvered by the Internet activists, who kept the pressure on with protests outside the FCC and even a sit-in outside Wheeler’s house that prevented the 6-foot-4 chairman from driving to work in his Mini Cooper.

Meanwhile, other advocates of strong net neutrality were coming forward with alternative proposals that began gaining traction at the FCC in August and September. Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox browser, suggested that the FCC split the Internet in two. Apply Title II to the Internet backbone, it said, while leaving the part of the Internet between consumers and their Internet providers untouched under Title I. Tim Wu, the Columbia Law scholar, put forward his own proposal.

Momentum began building for a “hybrid” approach that leaned substantially on these proposals. Quietly, the FCC began talking to Internet providers, consumer groups and Web content companies about a compromise plan. The Wall Street Journal reported in October that a hybrid plan was in the works. It’s still unclear just how close the parties were to an agreement, but people close to the negotiations say the news alarmed the White House, which sought to intervene before the hybrid proposal could really get off the ground.

On Nov. 10, President Obama dropped a major statement on net neutrality — an unusual attempt by a president to influence a legally independent agency. The move set up a partisan confrontation with Republicans in Congress. Many believe that’s what prompted Obama to weigh in in the first place: His party had just lost a midterm election and net neutrality was a strong populist issue Democrats could lead on.

Regardless of Obama’s motivations, his statement had the effect of pushing Wheeler to abandon the hybrid plan and adopt Title II, numerous officials inside and outside the agency said.

“Oliver and the president were probably the two most prominent [turning points],” said an industry official, “and then a series of ongoing drip, drip, drip every day for several months” by grassroots protesters.

Brian Fung, Washington Post
Brian Fung

Brian Fung
Washington Post (The Switch)