Dear Sir, Dear Madam,
I wish to comment on the .cat proposal. I think that the introduction of a .cat domain is justified. A Romance language in its own right, Catalan is more widely spoken than the better-known languages of Danish, Finnish and Norwegian, say, and is one of the most-used languages on the Internet. In terms of literary output, Catalan is Western Europe?s most important minority language. Certainly, there is nothing minor about the Catalans? strength of feeling for their language, as I have discovered on my trips to Catalonia! I think it is entirely understandable that the Catalans feel their language should have its own Internet ?badge?. Who has the authority to say that Catalan?a language with a distinguished literary history dating back to the twelfth century?should not do so?
It is my experience from working in the Academic / Languages section of an Edinburgh bookshop that there simply is no awareness of Catalan. It seems reasonable to me that its speakers view .cat as a vehicle that would allow them to raise the profile of their language and culture.
Current territorial TLDs mostly represent countries, of course. The dilemma for ICANN, it seems to me, is how to react to requests from minority cultures that want to be recognized on the Internet. While it is not ICANN?s task to create a list of world cultures or languages and assign to each one a new TLD, the organization must now respond to a minority culture that wants its own TLD not because it is opposed to the existing territorial TLDs of the countries where most Catalan speakers live (.es, .fr, .ad and .it), but rather because it wants to reflect the existence of Catalan culture. It strikes me that a new Catalan TLD would not represent a country, but the Catalan cultural community. A Catalan TLD would represent the people and organizations around the world that share Catalan heritage and want to express their pride in it.
Isn?t the Internet Society?s slogan ?The Internet is for Everyone?? Shouldn?t the Internet reflect the diversity of world culture?