Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

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Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Harel Cain
Hi all,

Thanks for bringing this up - although I think this belongs on wikimania-l
and not necessarily here.

I believe we'll be posting a FAQ dedicated to these issues quite soon on our
website, http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org, as this matter has been brought
up a number of times already.

I'll try to sum it up quickly for now:

* We will be delighted to have as high a participation as possible from the
entire Middle East. This is really, really important to us, more than
everything else. You can visit our website and see that most of it has
already been translated into Arabic.

* Unfortunately, ME politics is often plagued by tactics such as banning and
boycotting. No matter how good our intentions, I'm sorry to say there will
be people there who will still abstain from coming to the conference for
their own reasons, and there's not too much we can do about it. If someone
doesn't want to come to Israel, well, then, we can only express our regret
at his choice (which we think is misinformed). I wish they could all come
here and change their minds about Israeli reality.

* Wikimedia is not about politics, Wikimedia Israel doesn't represent the
Israeli government (or any other political entity), and we're trying to
focus this on free knowledge and a way for people to meet and interact, not
on politics.

* Wikimania 2011 will be held in Haifa, a city which is home to both Jews
and Arabs. We'll be promoting it (also) using bilingual posters and
brochures, and will try to reach the very large population of Israeli-Arab
students in Haifa's academic institutions.

* Israeli Arabs can (of course!!) reach the conference like any other
Israeli - they just need to get to the venue, on foot, by car, by train or
by bus.

* Palestinians living in the West Bank enter Israel by the thousands every
day. Yes, they need a permit for that. Obtaining that permit is a routine
operation. Yes, some difficulties might come up there, we'll use our
contacts within Israeli authorities to try to facilitate this as much as
possible, including issuing letters of invitation and contacting the
authorities well in advance. In fact, Israel might be one of the easier
destination for Palestinians to reach.

* Palestinians living in Gaza will have a harder time entering Israel. We're
looking at various possibilities to make this possible, should there be any
real demand for this. One possibility is for them to enter Egypt via the
border crossing in Rafah (which Egypt usually closes) and to reach Israel
via Egypt.

* Having said that, we know of *no* Palestinian (or Israeli-Arab)
Wikimedians, despite repeated attempts over the years to locate some. If
someone knows any, please let us know!

* Citizens of other countries can fly into Israel or enter Israel through
the open border crossings with Jordan and Egypt. Israel of course recognizes
the passports of countries with which it has diplomatic relations, even only
partial relations, such as Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algiers and
others. Please refer to http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/Visas.

* For some countries which do not recognize Israel like Syria, Iraq, Iran
and Saudi Arabia, entry will be more difficult, but there have been sporadic
entries from these countries in the past, and should any participant from
these countries wish to attend Wikimania, we will do our utmost to assist.
We have a letter of support from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
and exceptions can always be made at border crossings if approved from
on-high.


I'd be happy to keep this discussion constructive and not let it deteriorate
into a flame war.
Of course if anyone has further questions, we'll be happy to answer them.


Harel Cain
Wikimania 2011 team
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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Tim Starling-2
On 12/08/10 01:09, Harel Cain wrote:
> If someone
> doesn't want to come to Israel, well, then, we can only express our regret
> at his choice (which we think is misinformed). I wish they could all come
> here and change their minds about Israeli reality.

I'd like to think I have an open mind, and always look forward to
having it changed. I've heard that conditions in the West Bank are
pretty bad, although the Israeli government disputes this. Maybe the
Wikimania team could organise a day trip to a nearby border town like
Baqa or Nazlat 'Isa, to change our minds about this.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Harel Cain
Tim, I don't know how this has any direct bearing on the conference.

The conditions in the West Bank are not what anyone would wish them to
be, including, of course, us. I could try to argue here that still,
the average income there is higher than in most Arab countries and so
on, but this is really beside the point. This conference is not about
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its best solution.

We will in fact be offering day trips on the last day of the
conference (August 7th). More information on our conference website.
Baqa or Nazlat 'Isa don't really make for interesting enough tourist
trips to warrant an organized tour to. I would suggest, as another
possibility in the West Bank, to visit Bethlehem instead. It has much
higher touristic value. We will be checking out options to have this
included as a possible day trip. Thousands of tourists travel there
every week - it's only about 5 miles south of Jerusalem...


Harel

On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 5:22 AM, Tim Starling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 12/08/10 01:09, Harel Cain wrote:
>> If someone
>> doesn't want to come to Israel, well, then, we can only express our regret
>> at his choice (which we think is misinformed). I wish they could all come
>> here and change their minds about Israeli reality.
>
> I'd like to think I have an open mind, and always look forward to
> having it changed. I've heard that conditions in the West Bank are
> pretty bad, although the Israeli government disputes this. Maybe the
> Wikimania team could organise a day trip to a nearby border town like
> Baqa or Nazlat 'Isa, to change our minds about this.
>
> -- Tim Starling
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Yaroslav M. Blanter

> We will in fact be offering day trips on the last day of the
> conference (August 7th). More information on our conference website.
> Baqa or Nazlat 'Isa don't really make for interesting enough tourist
> trips to warrant an organized tour to. I would suggest, as another
> possibility in the West Bank, to visit Bethlehem instead. It has much
> higher touristic value. We will be checking out options to have this
> included as a possible day trip. Thousands of tourists travel there
> every week - it's only about 5 miles south of Jerusalem...
>
>
> Harel

I have visited Bethlehem on my own on a couple of occasions, and I agree
that this is an interesting tourist destination, but as far as I understand
Israeli citizens are not allowed in (Zone A or smth), which may make the
things messy.

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Harel Cain
Harel Cain, 12/08/2010 07:13:

> Tim, I don't know how this has any direct bearing on the conference.
>
> The conditions in the West Bank are not what anyone would wish them to
> be, including, of course, us. I could try to argue here that still,
> the average income there is higher than in most Arab countries and so
> on, but this is really beside the point. This conference is not about
> the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its best solution.
>
> We will in fact be offering day trips on the last day of the
> conference (August 7th). More information on our conference website.
> Baqa or Nazlat 'Isa don't really make for interesting enough tourist
> trips to warrant an organized tour to.

I think that Tim's point was precisely to get to some non touristic-only
(i.e. often unreal) destination, to understand better the life of local
inhabitants and the conflict.
This is not part of Wikimania, obviously, but would be an interesting
possibility (e.g. more than beach, IMHO).

Nemo

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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Andrea Zanni-2
>
> I think that Tim's point was precisely to get to some non touristic-only
> (i.e. often unreal) destination, to understand better the life of local
> inhabitants and the conflict.
> This is not part of Wikimania, obviously, but would be an interesting
> possibility (e.g. more than beach, IMHO).
>

Maybe Neve Shalom (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neve_Shalom_%E2%80%93_W%C4%81%C4%A7at_as-Sal%C4%81m)
could be a good (and peaceful) experience.
I don't know Haifa, but maybe also there there are
groups\location\associations worth a visit.
Personally, I like very much the idea of a Wikimania explicitely aimed to a
''peaceful message'' (whatever this could mean).
But still I don't want to force the WM Israel team to change the program, if
this was not what they defined.


Aubrey
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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
On 14/08/10 11:33, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
> I think that Tim's point was precisely to get to some non touristic-only
> (i.e. often unreal) destination, to understand better the life of local
> inhabitants and the conflict.
> This is not part of Wikimania, obviously, but would be an interesting
> possibility (e.g. more than beach, IMHO).

Yes, that was the point, but when I read up on Harel's suggestion of
Bethlehem, I realised that it would fit the bill well enough. It has a
recent history of violence: the IDF invaded it in 2002, in Operation
Defensive Shield. Part of the town was annexed to Israel by the
construction of the West Bank barrier. On the south side of the town
is one of the West Bank's many long-term refugee camps, established in
1949.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Andrea Zanni-2
Andrea Zanni wrote:

>> I think that Tim's point was precisely to get to some non touristic-only
>> (i.e. often unreal) destination, to understand better the life of local
>> inhabitants and the conflict.
>> This is not part of Wikimania, obviously, but would be an interesting
>> possibility (e.g. more than beach, IMHO).
>>    
> Maybe Neve Shalom (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neve_Shalom_%E2%80%93_W%C4%81%C4%A7at_as-Sal%C4%81m)
> could be a good (and peaceful) experience.
> I don't know Haifa, but maybe also there there are
> groups\location\associations worth a visit.
> Personally, I like very much the idea of a Wikimania explicitely aimed to a
> ''peaceful message'' (whatever this could mean).
> But still I don't want to force the WM Israel team to change the program, if
> this was not what they defined.
>  

If you need to say "whatever this could mean" about the peaceful message
it's better to not make that an explicit message.  It would likely be
seen by many as a peaceful message from an Israeli perspective, and that
could too easily be seen as taking sides even if it isn't.

Any peaceful message should come from our actions, and not from some
stated policy.

Ray



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Re: Partecipation in Wikimania 2011

Harel Cain
In reply to this post by Tim Starling-2
Haifa, too, has a history of violence
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxim_restaurant_suicide_bombing,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haifa_bus_37_suicide_bombing and others),
the years of the Second Intifada in the first half of this decade left
few places unscathed by terror and grief, for both people.

But really, folks, this is so much outside of what the conference is
all about. It is not about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and we
shouldn't (IMHO mustn't) make it into a political/ideological tour of
the conflict. If someone wants to use their visit of the region for
that purpose, they're welcome to do it before or after the conference.


Harel

On Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM, Tim Starling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 14/08/10 11:33, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
>> I think that Tim's point was precisely to get to some non touristic-only
>> (i.e. often unreal) destination, to understand better the life of local
>> inhabitants and the conflict.
>> This is not part of Wikimania, obviously, but would be an interesting
>> possibility (e.g. more than beach, IMHO).
>
> Yes, that was the point, but when I read up on Harel's suggestion of
> Bethlehem, I realised that it would fit the bill well enough. It has a
> recent history of violence: the IDF invaded it in 2002, in Operation
> Defensive Shield. Part of the town was annexed to Israel by the
> construction of the West Bank barrier. On the south side of the town
> is one of the West Bank's many long-term refugee camps, established in
> 1949.
>
> -- Tim Starling
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

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