Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

Andreas Pour pour at mieterra.com
Fri May 14 06:14:05 BST 2004

George Staikos wrote:

[ ... ]

> > It's very simple:  call people what they ask to be called.  You want to be
> > called George Staikos, so that is what I call you.  I don't argue with you
> > about it, or claim my uncle was named "George" and you have no right to
> > take his name.
>    If this is how we operate that list, I have some additions to make.  I can
> think of a group of 3 million people who are not being called what they ask
> to be called.  I can also think of another x million who are not being called
> what they ask to be called.

Really?  Who?  It seems to me that any group which has its own language /
culture / country should be represented in the locale choice, provided there is
a translation.  Irrespective of what the UN (or by derivation the ISO) has to
say about it.

After all, the point of the locale is not to give lessons in World Government,
but to let people find the language they want to use for their desktop.  And,
e.g., in the case of the disputed country, it is the "Macedonians" and not the
Hellenics who need to find their language.

> > Deferring to the ISO standard, which is simply a regurgitation of the UN
> > names, means calling people what they do not want to be called, which IMO
> > is far worse than offending officious meddlers.
>    How do you know this?  Hard numbers please.  x% of population of country Y,
> for x > 50, claim that they are being called Y but wish to be called Z.
> Supporting evidence is required.  If you're so much better than the UN, prove
> it and I will gladly accept.  If you have another source that is so much
> better than the UN, prove it and I will gladly accept.

I think relying on the recognized government is an adequate step.  Now there are
cases where there is no recognized government (like Tibet), and that makes
things more difficult . . . but as a general rule, using the name of the country
advocated by the recognized government is IMHO the best policy.

[ ... ]

> > >    3) I don't care what that list says about Taiwan, Greece, Macedonia,
> > > Canada, or any other country.  If I have a problem with it, I'll take it
> > > to ISO.
> >
> > I cannot take you seriously.
> >
> > Here's a test, though:  why don't you propose Iraq be renamed to "Iraq,
> > Occupied Territories of", mutatis mutandi for Afghanistan and Chechnya, and
> > see how far you get?
>   What part of "I don't care" don't you understand?

Your suggestion was that the ISO is an open standard which you might be able to
influence.  If you don't care, if what you say is correct or not, then not only
shouldn't I take you seriously, you shouldn't ask to be taken seriously.

> > >    So, I propose taking an international standard and basing a
> > > [controversial] decision on that, irrespective of content, and I am
> > > declared to be acting in national interest of various countries.
> > > Meanwhile, the accusers insist on retaining full control of the contents
> > > simply so that they can -arbitrarily- dictate who is included on the
> > > list, who is not, and what they will be called.  *wow*
> >
> > Picking the name, a people chooses for itself, is not "arbitrary".
>    Deciding based on a sample of less than 1/100th of a percent of the country
> is very arbitrary or random.  Furthermore, proof by google is not an
> acceptable form of proof.  Nor is some website run by the country.  I'm not
> going to get into the politics involved in that at all.

You are creating red herrings.  There is a recognized government in the case in
dispute, and that government has chosen a name, and that name should be
respected.  Your point would be valid, though, if there were a civil war in a
country and there was no clear government.  That is not the case here.

I think the argument that your position is not political, and others are, is
almost always disingenuous.  Every position is political, in this case the
question is merely which political body you hold authoritative, which in itself
is a political decision.



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