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Non-English URLs and the Tower of Babel

Given the fact that the world is partitioned by language, enforcing one script as the only script for URLs is a form of cultural imperialism. So it seems a natural evolution of the Internet that non-English URLs should be allowed. However this means the Internet is now being partitioned in a way that allows greater state control and censorship - even more than there is already.

The story of the Tower of Babel, which appears in one guise or another in many ancient books, relates how there used to be one language and that everyone could communicate with each other, but that hubris and vanity led, indirectly, to the breaking up of society into tribes each using their own language.

It may not be vanity or hubris that is leading, directly or indirectly, to the partitioning of the Internet, but breaking up it certainly is doing. One just hopes that this isn't going to lead to ghettoization.

The Internet had been a tool for allowing one language, English, to become the lingua franca (and there is indeed irony in that phrase), to create a single world of communication. It is a pity that some tribes in the world saw this as imposition rather than opportunity. Maybe hubris and vanity are involved after all. More likely though it is power and politics. Sad.


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