Life in Sweden
No. 4 Internet Cafe in Warsaw
Internet Cafe in Warsaw
This September, I had chance to visit Warsaw, the capital of the Poland, to attend an academic meeting held there. It was the first time for me to visit this country, which used to be under communist regime for a long time.
I was really curious to see what is happening there after the conversion to the market economy. Especially, I was interested in how the situation with the Internet is.
At the first day of the conference, I asked the girl at the tourist information to help me find an Internet cafe in Warsaw. She tried to find it in the telephone directory, however she could not make it.
However, on the next day, I talked to another person in the organizing company, he told me there is one near the stature of Copernicus, one of the most well-known Polish in the history.
It was located just behind the Warsaw University in an old building. When I get in, there were approximately ten Windows PCs in the cafe, and a lot of young people were sitting in front of them.
I ordered a cup of Coca-Cola, which used to be a symbol of Capitalistic culture, and took seat in front of a PC. The PC was a little bit old model with English version of Windows 95 (not 98), however it was enough to surf the web. Then, I tried to download Japanese fonts to see the websites in Japan, and it worked. This enabled me not only to read Japanese sites, but also to read web-based e-mails.
I was very happy to be able to communicate with my friends in Japan and Sweden, and to keep in touch with the news what is going on outside Poland. The price for the Internet access was something like 4 US dollar per hour, which is still feasible considering the price here, approximately half of that in Japan or Sweden in my impression.
Then, I thought.
Freedom of communication is a really important thing.
I do not know in detail, however I suppose that it would not be so easy for the majority of the people in Poland to reach out and access the information outside their country. However, now they are free to get information from foreign websites and to communicate with the people outside the country. Isn't it a wonderful change?
On the other hand, when I look back Japan, the Parliament approved a new law to authorize Police investigators to monitor communications on the phone call and also on the Internet. The aim of this law is to prevent crimes related with drug smuggling and etc., however not a few people in Japan were against for this new law.
Still I understand the importance to prevent these kind of the crimes, I also feel unpleasant personally because our right for the privacy and free communication may be spoiled.
I do not think Japan will become a Police state again as it used to be during the World War II when the notorious Security Police violated human rights very frequently. However, freedom might be something what we realize its importance after we lose it.
Aside from this experience at the Internet Cafe at Warsaw, I also had chance to visit Auschwitz and the birth place of Frederic Chopin. The journey to Poland became a very impressive experience for me.
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Last Updated 1999/10/27
Copyright (C) 1999, Takashi Murata, All rights reserved