Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

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Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
Dear Wikimaniacs!

okay i will address this issue, and please excuse me had it been addressed elsewhere online, and point me to where i can have a look on the discussion.

One of the most important criteria in deciding on the place to host wikimania annual conferences is “ease of attendance”, which is only logical. [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Judging_criteria] Now there are some serious concerns regarding hosting the next wikimania conference in Haifa, Israel. Please bear with me, and understand that non of these concerns has anything to do with politics, and that they are entirely practical:

1) This is a quote from a website of an American company called “A Briggs Passport & Visa Expeditors” [http://www.abriggs.com/high_level/FER_I/Israel_FER.php] which specializes in securing “expedited passports and travel visas for international travelers ...” It says:

“Israel has strict security measures that may affect visitors. Prolonged questioning and detailed searches may take place at the time of entry and/or departure at all points of entry to Israel, including entry from the West Bank and Gaza. Travelers with Arabic surnames, those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passports, and unaccompanied female travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny at points of entry. Security-related delays or obstacles in bringing in or departing with cameras or electronic equipment are not unusual. Laptop computers and other electronic equipment have been confiscated from travelers leaving Israel from Ben Gurion Airport during security checks. While most are returned prior to departure, some equipment has been damaged, destroyed or lost as a result. Americans who have had personal property damaged due to security procedures at Ben Gurion can contact the Commissioner of Complaints at the airport for redress. During searches and questioning, Israeli authorities have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, or family members.”

This is not the only source that confirms these practices.

2) It is frequently reported, that airport and entry points officials, refuse to stamp the israeli entry permit in a separate paper and insist on stamping it in the passport. Travelers with an israeli visa, or even exit/entry stamp in their passports, may not enter many countries, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan, and perhaps other countries of which i have no knowledge. Carriers of visas and stamps from any of these countries and other countries as well (such as Bahrain, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia) are reported to be frequently harassed and maltreated as they attempt to enter Israel.

3) I am rather concerned about the difficulty, and impossibility of some interested participants to be able to attend had they wanted. There are problems on the levels of acquiring a visa, then leaving their countries to Israel without trouble, then entering Israel, then leaving Israel, then getting back to their countries from Israel; the prospect of trouble and maltreatment exists with every step of these. Participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, and maybe other countries, are not even allowed to enter into Israel. Why should they not be able to participate in the wikimania annual conference? And why should the conference be held in such a place, in which precisely “ease of attendance” is absolutely lacking?!

I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision, and i hope that we, along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli participants too, will find reason to address the issue with view to fairness and practicality.

Most appreciatively,
Maysara Omar



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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Yaroslav M. Blanter

I suggest we stop this immediately and DO NOT discuss whether
Wikimania-2010 should be relocated

FYI I have no relation to the organizing committee nor to Israel

Cheers
Yaroslav

On Wed, 11 Aug 2010 21:40:31 +0300, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]>
wrote:
> Dear Wikimaniacs!
>
> okay i will address this issue, and please excuse me had it been
addressed
> elsewhere online, and point me to where i can have a look on the
> discussion.


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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Roan Kattouw-2
2010/8/11 Yaroslav M. Blanter <[hidden email]>:
>
> I suggest we stop this immediately and DO NOT discuss whether
> Wikimania-2010 should be relocated
>
Since the decision was made many months ago, it's probably too late
for relocation anyway. The Haifa organizers have probably also entered
into all sorts of commitments already once they learned their bid won.
Any and all criticism for hosting Wikimania in a country with such a
hostile immigration service and bad reputation in a number of nearby
countries should befall the jury, IMO. It's perfectly possible they
were aware of this but thought it was outweighed by other factors; I
wasn't on the jury so I don't know the rationale for this decision.

For the record, from what I've seen so far I have high expectations
for Wikimania 2011, and the issues mentioned in this thread plus the
climate aside, I'm sure it's gonna be awesome.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Gerald A
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar


On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 2:40 PM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision, and i hope that we, along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli participants too, will find reason to address the issue with view to fairness and practicality.

 While you are entitled to your opinions and beliefs, I don't believe this is the proper forum for them. There was a bidding process for hosting Wikimania, and Haifa was the best of the entries.

What you are doing here is second guessing the Wikimania Jury, which I believe is unfair. If your concerns were valid, I'm sure they would have been raised and addressed in the bidding process. That actually would have been the right time to raise such questions, when no decisions had yet been made.

Now, there are impediments that might prevent people from attending, but all of
the concerns you raise are beyond the scope of the organizers to address. If you wish to be constructive, I would welcome your thoughts and ideas for ways to allow more Wikimedians to attend Haifa, or to reform the selection procedure so that these issues are brought up during that process.

From a former member of the Toronto Wikimania bid team (who lost to Haifa)...
Gerald

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Roan Kattouw-2
Roan Kattouw, 11/08/2010 20:55:
> For the record, from what I've seen so far I have high expectations
> for Wikimania 2011, and the issues mentioned in this thread plus the
> climate aside, I'm sure it's gonna be awesome.

To clarify: I don't think that this issues are being put aside. As you
may know there's an ongoing discussion on foundation-l:
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-August/060476.html

Maysara Omar, 11/08/2010 20:40:
 > I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a
 > conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i
 > believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision,

That's not possible.

 > and i hope that we,
 > along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli
 > participants too, will find reason to address the issue with view to
 > fairness and practicality.

I hope that this will be possible. I suggest you to join the
abovementioned discussion.

Nemo

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar
Dear Maysara,

thank you for bringing up any problems people might encounter. I do
not think that reconsidering the location is appropriate here. The
organizing team has already started, and the decision has been, as
stated by others, made many months ago.

I would however like to ask you to come with measures the local team
could take to make things easier. What information could they provide
on their website, what contacts with governments could they lay, what
other constructive solutions could you think of? I got to know the
organizing team as solution-focused and I am confident they would
listen to your problems and potential solutions. They will do what is
reasonably possible to make it possible and likely for people from all
over the world to attend the conference.

Thank you for your help.

With kind regards,

Lodewijk Gelauff

2010/8/11 Maysara Omar <[hidden email]>:

> Dear Wikimaniacs!
>
> okay i will address this issue, and please excuse me had it been addressed
> elsewhere online, and point me to where i can have a look on the discussion.
>
> One of the most important criteria in deciding on the place to host
> wikimania annual conferences is “ease of attendance”, which is only logical.
> [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Judging_criteria] Now there are
> some serious concerns regarding hosting the next wikimania conference in
> Haifa, Israel. Please bear with me, and understand that non of these
> concerns has anything to do with politics, and that they are entirely
> practical:
>
> 1) This is a quote from a website of an American company called “A Briggs
> Passport & Visa Expeditors”
> [http://www.abriggs.com/high_level/FER_I/Israel_FER.php] which specializes
> in securing “expedited passports and travel visas for international
> travelers ...” It says:
>
> “Israel has strict security measures that may affect visitors. Prolonged
> questioning and detailed searches may take place at the time of entry and/or
> departure at all points of entry to Israel, including entry from the West
> Bank and Gaza. Travelers with Arabic surnames, those who ask that Israeli
> stamps not be entered into their passports, and unaccompanied female
> travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny at points of
> entry. Security-related delays or obstacles in bringing in or departing with
> cameras or electronic equipment are not unusual. Laptop computers and other
> electronic equipment have been confiscated from travelers leaving Israel
> from Ben Gurion Airport during security checks. While most are returned
> prior to departure, some equipment has been damaged, destroyed or lost as a
> result. Americans who have had personal property damaged due to security
> procedures at Ben Gurion can contact the Commissioner of Complaints at the
> airport for redress. During searches and questioning, Israeli authorities
> have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, or
> family members.”
>
> This is not the only source that confirms these practices.
>
> 2) It is frequently reported, that airport and entry points officials,
> refuse to stamp the israeli entry permit in a separate paper and insist on
> stamping it in the passport. Travelers with an israeli visa, or even
> exit/entry stamp in their passports, may not enter many countries, including
> Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan, and
> perhaps other countries of which i have no knowledge. Carriers of visas and
> stamps from any of these countries and other countries as well (such as
> Bahrain, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia) are reported to be
> frequently harassed and maltreated as they attempt to enter Israel.
>
> 3) I am rather concerned about the difficulty, and impossibility of some
> interested participants to be able to attend had they wanted. There are
> problems on the levels of acquiring a visa, then leaving their countries to
> Israel without trouble, then entering Israel, then leaving Israel, then
> getting back to their countries from Israel; the prospect of trouble and
> maltreatment exists with every step of these. Participants from Iran, Syria,
> Lebanon, and Palestine, and maybe other countries, are not even allowed to
> enter into Israel. Why should they not be able to participate in the
> wikimania annual conference? And why should the conference be held in such a
> place, in which precisely “ease of attendance” is absolutely lacking?!
>
> I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a
> conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i
> believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision, and i hope that we,
> along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli participants
> too, will find reason to address the issue with view to fairness and
> practicality.
>
> Most appreciatively,
> Maysara Omar
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimania-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>
>

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Harel Cain
I can only second what Lodewijk wrote.
We have had similar discussions in the last days on this mailing list,
on foundation-l and on wikimania-planning-l (which is a closed list).

I have answered and provided thorough information in the other
threads, and expressed and our sincere and complete commitment to make
this conference as accessible to attendees from all over the Middle
East, including Arab Israelis, Palestinians, and citizens of various
other countries. We will be very very happy to see this happening, and
would treat any constructive suggestion or inquiry with the utmost
seriousness.

Wikimania 2011's website has already been translated to Arabic (and of
course to English and Hebrew), to a very large extent. It has a wealth
of information and everyone is hereby invited to go there and see for
themselves.

Haifa is a great city, a home of both Jews and Christian Arabs and
Muslim Arabs, a beacon of peaceful coexistence in a disputed Middle
East. It can be a wonderful host to our conference, and I wish all of
you can make it there and experience it first-hand.

I would also like to refute the horror stories about the security
checks at Ben Gurion airport. That airport is world famous for being
very safe, without the annoying procedures a la TSA. Yes, it may feel
different to most airports, and there have been various cases where
people complained about the interviews which can sometimes be longish,
but the vast majority of passengers pass there easily and quickly
without even removing their shoes....

Harel Cain
Wikimania 2011


On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:54 PM, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear Maysara,
>
> thank you for bringing up any problems people might encounter. I do
> not think that reconsidering the location is appropriate here. The
> organizing team has already started, and the decision has been, as
> stated by others, made many months ago.
>
> I would however like to ask you to come with measures the local team
> could take to make things easier. What information could they provide
> on their website, what contacts with governments could they lay, what
> other constructive solutions could you think of? I got to know the
> organizing team as solution-focused and I am confident they would
> listen to your problems and potential solutions. They will do what is
> reasonably possible to make it possible and likely for people from all
> over the world to attend the conference.
>
> Thank you for your help.
>
> With kind regards,
>
> Lodewijk Gelauff
>
> 2010/8/11 Maysara Omar <[hidden email]>:
>> Dear Wikimaniacs!
>>
>> okay i will address this issue, and please excuse me had it been addressed
>> elsewhere online, and point me to where i can have a look on the discussion.
>>
>> One of the most important criteria in deciding on the place to host
>> wikimania annual conferences is “ease of attendance”, which is only logical.
>> [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Judging_criteria] Now there are
>> some serious concerns regarding hosting the next wikimania conference in
>> Haifa, Israel. Please bear with me, and understand that non of these
>> concerns has anything to do with politics, and that they are entirely
>> practical:
>>
>> 1) This is a quote from a website of an American company called “A Briggs
>> Passport & Visa Expeditors”
>> [http://www.abriggs.com/high_level/FER_I/Israel_FER.php] which specializes
>> in securing “expedited passports and travel visas for international
>> travelers ...” It says:
>>
>> “Israel has strict security measures that may affect visitors. Prolonged
>> questioning and detailed searches may take place at the time of entry and/or
>> departure at all points of entry to Israel, including entry from the West
>> Bank and Gaza. Travelers with Arabic surnames, those who ask that Israeli
>> stamps not be entered into their passports, and unaccompanied female
>> travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny at points of
>> entry. Security-related delays or obstacles in bringing in or departing with
>> cameras or electronic equipment are not unusual. Laptop computers and other
>> electronic equipment have been confiscated from travelers leaving Israel
>> from Ben Gurion Airport during security checks. While most are returned
>> prior to departure, some equipment has been damaged, destroyed or lost as a
>> result. Americans who have had personal property damaged due to security
>> procedures at Ben Gurion can contact the Commissioner of Complaints at the
>> airport for redress. During searches and questioning, Israeli authorities
>> have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, or
>> family members.”
>>
>> This is not the only source that confirms these practices.
>>
>> 2) It is frequently reported, that airport and entry points officials,
>> refuse to stamp the israeli entry permit in a separate paper and insist on
>> stamping it in the passport. Travelers with an israeli visa, or even
>> exit/entry stamp in their passports, may not enter many countries, including
>> Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan, and
>> perhaps other countries of which i have no knowledge. Carriers of visas and
>> stamps from any of these countries and other countries as well (such as
>> Bahrain, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia) are reported to be
>> frequently harassed and maltreated as they attempt to enter Israel.
>>
>> 3) I am rather concerned about the difficulty, and impossibility of some
>> interested participants to be able to attend had they wanted. There are
>> problems on the levels of acquiring a visa, then leaving their countries to
>> Israel without trouble, then entering Israel, then leaving Israel, then
>> getting back to their countries from Israel; the prospect of trouble and
>> maltreatment exists with every step of these. Participants from Iran, Syria,
>> Lebanon, and Palestine, and maybe other countries, are not even allowed to
>> enter into Israel. Why should they not be able to participate in the
>> wikimania annual conference? And why should the conference be held in such a
>> place, in which precisely “ease of attendance” is absolutely lacking?!
>>
>> I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a
>> conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i
>> believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision, and i hope that we,
>> along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli participants
>> too, will find reason to address the issue with view to fairness and
>> practicality.
>>
>> Most appreciatively,
>> Maysara Omar
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimania-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>>
>>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimania-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>



--
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Yohai Edery
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar

Hello All,

 

I am answering to this e-mail on my own, I am not part of the organizing team. I want to mention that I am an Israeli citizen that travels a lot of work and pleasure. I have many friends from ALL over the world coming to visit me and I also participated and organized tens of international conferences in Israel. As someone with lots of experience let I feel obligated to answer some of the issues rose in the previous e-mails:

 

1)     Israel is an open and welcoming country. Everyone for every country is welcome to visit. If you are American, Canadian or EU citizen you don’t need a visa to visit Israel for business or pleasure.

 

2)     You may be banned from entering Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan if you have an Israeli visa or stamp in your passport. I have had few friends who visited Israel then went through Jordan to Syria and Lebanon and didn’t have any problems…they were just asked of what they did in Israel. So stamp or visa doesn’t mean automatically you are banned from entering those countries.BTW, visitors from those countries are not banned to visit Israel.

 

3)     As I said, I have been involved with tens of conferences, whenever someone asked to not have his passport stamped but have the stamp on a paper and staple it to his passport he/she were NEVER refused!!! And I talk of about more than 100 people I know that have asked for it. The immigration officers are aware of it and have NO problem.

 

4)     Israel hosts hundreds of conferences a year and there are a lot of tourists coming, officers at the airport are used to dealing with tourists and visitors, they do their job respectfully and professionally. All stories described here about arresting or talking laptops are nothing but nonsense.

 

5)     Israel has to be extra secured as it is surrounded by many nations who wants it to not be here. Therefore, Israel is taking extra security measures when it comes to airport security. You wouldn’t see anything here that you don’t see today in Europe or the US. The only extra thing that we have in Israel is what we call profiling. Meaning that every passenger is being asked general questions about his/her stay in Israel and about their luggage. Those questions have saved lives of thousands of people. Just be nice and co-operate, it will be quick and you can be sure that nothing will happen on your flight J

 

6)     Haifa and Israel in general are beautiful, welcoming full of history, nature and night life…we are looking forward to seeing you all at the Wikimania conference and I am sure you will LOVE it.

 

If anyone has any further questions he/she are more than welcome to contact me via e-mail at [hidden email] or Facebook (the same e-mail)

 

See you soon in HAIFA,   

 

 

 

Yohai Edery

E-mail: yohaied@...
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:41 PM
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

 

Dear Wikimaniacs!

 

okay i will address this issue, and please excuse me had it been addressed elsewhere online, and point me to where i can have a look on the discussion.

One of the most important criteria in deciding on the place to host wikimania annual conferences is “ease of attendance”, which is only logical. [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Judging_criteria] Now there are some serious concerns regarding hosting the next wikimania conference in Haifa, Israel. Please bear with me, and understand that non of these concerns has anything to do with politics, and that they are entirely practical:

1) This is a quote from a website of an American company called “A Briggs Passport & Visa Expeditors” [http://www.abriggs.com/high_level/FER_I/Israel_FER.php] which specializes in securing “expedited passports and travel visas for international travelers ...” It says:

“Israel has strict security measures that may affect visitors. Prolonged questioning and detailed searches may take place at the time of entry and/or departure at all points of entry to Israel, including entry from the West Bank and Gaza. Travelers with Arabic surnames, those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passports, and unaccompanied female travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny at points of entry. Security-related delays or obstacles in bringing in or departing with cameras or electronic equipment are not unusual. Laptop computers and other electronic equipment have been confiscated from travelers leaving Israel from Ben Gurion Airport during security checks. While most are returned prior to departure, some equipment has been damaged, destroyed or lost as a result. Americans who have had personal property damaged due to security procedures at Ben Gurion can contact the Commissioner of Complaints at the airport for redress. During searches and questioning, Israeli authorities have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, or family members.”

This is not the only source that confirms these practices.

2) It is frequently reported, that airport and entry points officials, refuse to stamp the israeli entry permit in a separate paper and insist on stamping it in the passport. Travelers with an israeli visa, or even exit/entry stamp in their passports, may not enter many countries, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan, and perhaps other countries of which i have no knowledge. Carriers of visas and stamps from any of these countries and other countries as well (such as Bahrain, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia) are reported to be frequently harassed and maltreated as they attempt to enter Israel.

3) I am rather concerned about the difficulty, and impossibility of some interested participants to be able to attend had they wanted. There are problems on the levels of acquiring a visa, then leaving their countries to Israel without trouble, then entering Israel, then leaving Israel, then getting back to their countries from Israel; the prospect of trouble and maltreatment exists with every step of these. Participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, and maybe other countries, are not even allowed to enter into Israel. Why should they not be able to participate in the wikimania annual conference? And why should the conference be held in such a place, in which precisely “ease of attendance” is absolutely lacking?!

I believe that Israel is not an appropriate place in which to hold a conference such as wikimania for all the reasons mentioned above, and i believe that it is fair to reconsider the decision, and i hope that we, along with the wikimedia foundation, and along with the israeli participants too, will find reason to address the issue with view to fairness and practicality.

Most appreciatively,
Maysara Omar


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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
Hello to All :)

1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this) that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries, particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather than fake a friendly answer!

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc. Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by moment!

Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

:)
--
Maysara
 

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:45 PM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
And now I ask you, what is YOUR position?
> :)


My position, since you asked, is that if we can (and should) hold
Wikimania in Egypt, we can also do so in Israel. Just like Wikimedians
had to make accommodations with the cultural and political situation
in Egypt, so must they do so in Israel. That accommodations must be
made is not sufficient reason to undo a decision already announced and
planning already begun. The bid team in Israel has said they will
provide whatever assistance they can, and I'm sure they will. If some
simply can't make it to Israel, then I hope they can make it to the
following event.

Nathan

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
Nathan, we are not complaining about the cultural political "accommodations" that participants would naturally need to subject themselves to, WHERE EVER the conference would be! We are speaking about the very access to the conference. And I disagree, once such cultural/political accommodation requirements become excessive (such as asking women to wear full face veil for example), then these excesses should be a sufficient reason to look for an option that has a more moderate, open, accepting, and enlightened cultural/political identity. You come to the matter under discussion from without; no one said anything about the cultural/political accommodations that we will still need to adopt when in Haifa. And your statement "If some simply can't make it to Israel, then I hope they can make it to the following event." is arrogant, inconsiderate, and lacking in all Human empathy. It is exactly for such statements, and the rationale and spirit that resides beneath and within them, that I am bringing this issue here. Those "some" that you refer to are being "prevented" from making it to Israel, and not necessarily because they choose so. And those "some" are being thus prevented just because they happen to possess a specific national identity. I do not fall in this category, although I am not entirely excluded from it, yet, i wished this awkward condition encompassed you and embraced you like an over protective mother!

I do not think that it's a disaster to have a wikimania conference without Arabs in it. Actually i don't think it's a problem at all. And if i personally was Syrian or Iranian or Lebanese, etc, I would not have made the fuss because I am this or that. It's only that i don't think this situation is intentional, and therefore it must be unnecessary! That's why I systematically point to the beginning of it, the process of decision making, and find validity and purpose in reconsidering its results and correcting its errors.
 
You could reconsider your position, or you could continue to think, and primarily feel, that the positions of others don't matter! But in any case, you will always be the vigorous and energetic Nathan who is himself more fit to survive!!
--
Maysara
"All that is necessary to right action, is right judgment." _Rene Descartes


On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 6:01 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:45 PM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
And now I ask you, what is YOUR position?
> :)


My position, since you asked, is that if we can (and should) hold
Wikimania in Egypt, we can also do so in Israel. Just like Wikimedians
had to make accommodations with the cultural and political situation
in Egypt, so must they do so in Israel. That accommodations must be
made is not sufficient reason to undo a decision already announced and
planning already begun. The bid team in Israel has said they will
provide whatever assistance they can, and I'm sure they will. If some
simply can't make it to Israel, then I hope they can make it to the
following event.

Nathan

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Gerald A
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar
Hello again Maysara

On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:45 PM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. [...] whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error

I'm not sure what a "manifest error" is. However, the Jury is made up of smart people, and I've assisted on a few bids for Wikimania. They
ask tough questions. Competitive cities and ordinary Wikimedians are also invited to ask questions while the bidding is going on. This is
an open and honest process, and it was during that time that questions should have been brought up. Did you ask these questions at
that time?

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one!

Some presidential elections are repeated/questioned because of irregularities in the voting process. Unless you are questioning the integrity of the jury's selection process, (which I don't believe you are), then your analogy doesn't hold. The Jury made a decision, and you don't agree with it. That doesn't mean
it should be subject to review.
 
Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

My position is that while life should be fair, it is often not. While world peace and human harmony are laudable goals that I fully support, we have to live with the realities of today. Any place that the Jury picks will make it difficult or preclude some from attending Wikimania. Sometimes these considerations are geographical, sometimes they will be political, and no matter what they are, they aren't going to be fair for some.
So, in the framework of this imperfect world, we should realize that we can't accommodate everyone. And we shouldn't second guess the Wikimania Jury who spent time going through all of the various bids and questioning many organizing teams and coming to a difficult decision.

Now, you can spend a bunch of effort trying to revisit the Jury's decision, or you can expend that same effort trying to assist the current organizing team in helping to accommodate as many people as they can. Or you can even try to revise the selection criteria for future years. I'd think that the best use of effort would be in assisting others, but it is both your time and prerogative to do with as you see fit.

Gerald

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Phoebe Ayers-2
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar
Forwarding message that was accidentally bounced. -- phoebe (listmod)

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: WereSpielChequers <[hidden email]>
> To: "Wikimania general list (open subscription)" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 22:07:31 +0100
> Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel
> I did raise some of the issues about access to Israel during the
> bidding process - see
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimania_2011/Bids/Haifa#Arab_countries
>  But Haifa was the winning bid and we now need to try and resolve any
> of the resulting issues that we can.
>
> Apparently Gdansk had good streaming coverage, but it was one way. I
> think it would be good to top that and have two way interaction with
> the facility for people around the world to ask questions via Skype,
> and would request that the organisers consider that.
>
> The event is also going to take place during Ramadan which I assume
> has implications for any Moslems who do attend. Though I assume that
> the combination of hosting the event in Israel and during Ramadan will
> mean that relatively few Moslems attend. However I'd like to suggest
> to the organisers that they reconsider their commitment in
> http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/FAQ#Ramadan from "Is there a
> mosque in the vicinity of the venue?     Unfortunately not so close to
> the venue. Most of the mosques are located in the lower (older)
> neighborhoods, while the venue is at the top of Mt. Carmel. We can
> arrange a prayer hall for Muslims at the venue. " to "Is there a
> mosque in the vicinity of the venue?
>    Unfortunately not so close to the venue. Most of the mosques are
> located in the lower (older) neighborhoods, while the venue is at the
> top of Mt. Carmel. If one of the attendees requests it in advance we
> will arrange a prayer hall for Muslims at the venue"
>
>
> Regards
>
> WereSpielChequers


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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Casey Brown-5
> WereSpielChequers <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I did raise some of the issues about access to Israel during the
>> bidding process - see
>>
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimania_2011/Bids/Haifa#Arab_countries
>>  But Haifa was the winning bid and we now need to try and resolve any
>> of the resulting issues that we can.

[snip]

>> The event is also going to take place during Ramadan which I assume
>> has implications for any Moslems who do attend. Though I assume that
>> the combination of hosting the event in Israel and during Ramadan will
>> mean that relatively few Moslems attend. However I'd like to suggest
>> to the organisers that they reconsider their commitment in
>> http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/FAQ#Ramadan from "Is there a
>> mosque in the vicinity of the venue?     Unfortunately not so close to
>> the venue. Most of the mosques are located in the lower (older)
>> neighborhoods, while the venue is at the top of Mt. Carmel. We can
>> arrange a prayer hall for Muslims at the venue. " to "Is there a
>> mosque in the vicinity of the venue?
>>    Unfortunately not so close to the venue. Most of the mosques are
>> located in the lower (older) neighborhoods, while the venue is at the
>> top of Mt. Carmel. If one of the attendees requests it in advance we
>> will arrange a prayer hall for Muslims at the venue"
>>

It looks the organizers are already making something like this, see
<http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Community_in_Haifa>.

--
Casey Brown
Cbrown1023

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Yohai Edery
In reply to this post by Maysara Omar

Hello Maysara and all,

 

I feel like I have to send an e-mail again regarding what you wrote below as there is a lot of miss information in what you wrote.

 

Firstly, let's put things on the table, as an Egyptian you are not feeling good with coming to Israel as it would seem to your friends back home like you are trying to "normalize" relations with Israel. Although there are almost 30 years of peace between our countries, Egypt and Egyptians have been always against normalizing relation with Israel and in fact there is a lot of incitement towards Israel and Jews in general in Egyptian media, books, cultural events and so. Israeli cultural products (movies, music, theater and such) were band from participation in festival in Egypt even international ones held in Egypt. The situation with Jordan is not better…unfortunately. On the meantime, Israel has welcomed movies, music and artists from Egypt and Jordan that have participated in festivals and events in Israel.

 

I can guarantee that people from all over the world will have no problem coming to the event in Israel. Israeli authorities will allow everyone from everywhere to come to Wikimania providing he/she has not been engaged in terrorist activities…which I believe is not the case for the participants of our event….I doubt Al Qaida, Hammas and Hezbollah care about Wikipedia. I can tell you from past experience that people from Libya and Lebanon came to conferences in Israel without any trouble. The problem maybe with their own home government….but that, unfortunately, we can't control.

 

Again, accusation bout maltreatment and confiscation of belongings are NONSENCE I want to remind you that Israel is a full functioning democracy!!! We DO NOT do things against the law and will not confiscate anything from anyone unless there is a solid reason. Again, I have been involved with tens of conferences in Israel and had many friends from all over the world coming to Israel, none of them suffered from any of those things you maintained. I would like to kindly ask you to stop with those accusations.

 

Regarding arriving to Israel from Cairo, again, you don’t have to do that by bus or car only like you said….you can easily fly to Ben gurion international airport in Tel Aviv on a non-stop flight from Cairo with El-Al Israeli airline or Air Sinai (part of Air Egypt). If you need help with making the reservations, I would love to help….

 

I think that change comes from people and not for the leaders….I would expect you to see this event as a great opportunity to start real dialogue between people in the Mideast and use such an important source of information like Wikipedia to a good use as a tool to bring people together, break stigmas and fight prejudice. The only way we can live together in peace is if we will get to know each other….I have visited Egypt and Jordan as well as the Palestinian territories…I know a lot about the Arab world…what do you know about me?

 

Hopping to show you all the real face of Israel when you are hear...

 

Good night from Haifa, Israel     

 

 

 

 

Yohai Edery

יוחאי אדרי 

 

E-mail: yohaied@...
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:46 AM
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

 

Hello to All :)

 

1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this) that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries, particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather than fake a friendly answer!

 

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc. Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by moment!

 

Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

 

:)

--

Maysara

 


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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Moushira Elamrawy
I believe this thread has the capacity to keep going from now until the time of the conference. Avoiding politics is difficult, but I think it is a must.  Wikimania, was not the reason and will not help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. So, maybe it is better not to overload it with what is more than it can bear.

Being judgmental regarding the Israeli or Arab or Islamic governments or societies will also not help the conversation, which I can not tell what is the point behind it now anyway?? The conference venue will not change and there is no need to change it. Every destination could be problematic to a portion of the world; for instance, Middle Eastern citizens need guarantees for an EU and UK visa including a steady job and good looking bank account and other details. Haifa has its own complications with regard to the other countries that will not allow persons with Israeli stamps on their passport. Moreover, some people from the Arab or Muslim population do not find it moral or ethical to visit the State of Israel at the current time, which I believe they have the right to adopt their point of view and express it freely whenever there is a need to, they might even ask for a boycott, but not on this list. I don't see this discussion progressing in much constructive thoughts anyway.

As for Wikimania and Ramadan (thanks to Phoebe for bringing this up) actually, the presence of the mosque is not as troublesome as the fact of having to fast (no eating or driniking) from sun rise to sunset, and do additional spiritual rituals, while you need to attend sessions, analyze and concentrat for a whole day. For those who realize fasting as myself, the decision to travel to attend a conference in Ramadan will be difficult, but will it be reason enough to consider shifting the conference date?

Moushira
Looking forward to a peaceful closure of this email thread





2010/8/12 Yohai Edery <[hidden email]>

Hello Maysara and all,

 

I feel like I have to send an e-mail again regarding what you wrote below as there is a lot of miss information in what you wrote.

 

Firstly, let's put things on the table, as an Egyptian you are not feeling good with coming to Israel as it would seem to your friends back home like you are trying to "normalize" relations with Israel. Although there are almost 30 years of peace between our countries, Egypt and Egyptians have been always against normalizing relation with Israel and in fact there is a lot of incitement towards Israel and Jews in general in Egyptian media, books, cultural events and so. Israeli cultural products (movies, music, theater and such) were band from participation in festival in Egypt even international ones held in Egypt. The situation with Jordan is not better…unfortunately. On the meantime, Israel has welcomed movies, music and artists from Egypt and Jordan that have participated in festivals and events in Israel.

 

I can guarantee that people from all over the world will have no problem coming to the event in Israel. Israeli authorities will allow everyone from everywhere to come to Wikimania providing he/she has not been engaged in terrorist activities…which I believe is not the case for the participants of our event….I doubt Al Qaida, Hammas and Hezbollah care about Wikipedia. I can tell you from past experience that people from Libya and Lebanon came to conferences in Israel without any trouble. The problem maybe with their own home government….but that, unfortunately, we can't control.

 

Again, accusation bout maltreatment and confiscation of belongings are NONSENCE I want to remind you that Israel is a full functioning democracy!!! We DO NOT do things against the law and will not confiscate anything from anyone unless there is a solid reason. Again, I have been involved with tens of conferences in Israel and had many friends from all over the world coming to Israel, none of them suffered from any of those things you maintained. I would like to kindly ask you to stop with those accusations.

 

Regarding arriving to Israel from Cairo, again, you don’t have to do that by bus or car only like you said….you can easily fly to Ben gurion international airport in Tel Aviv on a non-stop flight from Cairo with El-Al Israeli airline or Air Sinai (part of Air Egypt). If you need help with making the reservations, I would love to help….

 

I think that change comes from people and not for the leaders….I would expect you to see this event as a great opportunity to start real dialogue between people in the Mideast and use such an important source of information like Wikipedia to a good use as a tool to bring people together, break stigmas and fight prejudice. The only way we can live together in peace is if we will get to know each other….I have visited Egypt and Jordan as well as the Palestinian territories…I know a lot about the Arab world…what do you know about me?

 

Hopping to show you all the real face of Israel when you are hear...

 

Good night from Haifa, Israel     

 

 

 

 

Yohai Edery

יוחאי אדרי 

 

E-mail: yohaied@...
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:46 AM


To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

 

Hello to All :)

 

1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this) that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries, particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather than fake a friendly answer!

 

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc. Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by moment!

 

Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

 

:)

--

Maysara

 


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[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
In reply to this post by Gerald A
Gerald A wrote:

> I'm not sure what a "manifest error" is.

A manifest error is one that could be easily and visibly seen and detected. Having a conference of the nature of wikimania, in a place that will prevent many people from attending because of their nationality, is a very good example of what a "manifest error" is. 

> However, the Jury is made up of smart people ...

HAHAHAHA! So what?! I am smart too! ;)

> Some presidential elections are repeated/questioned because of irregularities in the voting process. Unless you are questioning the integrity of the jury's selection process, (which I don't believe you are), then your analogy doesn't hold.

No! The purpose of the analogy was to break the stiffness that was shown in refusing the prospect of reconsideration altogether, and not because of the possibility of irregularities in the voting process, THUS, my analogy does hold! In any case, I hereby declare that both the deliberative and decision-making processes of that jury must be subjected to scrutinizing investigation, because, as a matter of fact, the concerns raised now here were actually raised since January 2010 (one year and 8 months before the date of the event!!!), HERE: [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimania_2011/Bids/Haifa]

> My position is that while life should be fair, it is often not. [...] 

My idealism is concerned with the RESULT of the decision making process, while it is you who is idealizing the process itself! If OUR very basic requirements are "beyond the scope of the organizers to address", then THEY shall not be given the responsibility of organization, rather than we abandoning our requirements(.)

> Any place that the Jury picks will make it difficult or preclude some from attending Wikimania.

I don't believe you! Any place that will make it difficult or preclude "some" from attending wikimania shall come second to a place that will not make it difficult for anyone, or will at least make it less difficult. However, how and why a place makes it difficult for "some" to attend must always be carefully considered.

--
Maysara
"All that is necessary to right action, is right judgment" _Rene Descartes  


On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 8:28 AM, Gerald A <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello again Maysara

On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:45 PM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. [...] whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error

I'm not sure what a "manifest error" is. However, the Jury is made up of smart people, and I've assisted on a few bids for Wikimania. They
ask tough questions. Competitive cities and ordinary Wikimedians are also invited to ask questions while the bidding is going on. This is
an open and honest process, and it was during that time that questions should have been brought up. Did you ask these questions at
that time?

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one!

Some presidential elections are repeated/questioned because of irregularities in the voting process. Unless you are questioning the integrity of the jury's selection process, (which I don't believe you are), then your analogy doesn't hold. The Jury made a decision, and you don't agree with it. That doesn't mean
it should be subject to review.
 
Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

My position is that while life should be fair, it is often not. While world peace and human harmony are laudable goals that I fully support, we have to live with the realities of today. Any place that the Jury picks will make it difficult or preclude some from attending Wikimania. Sometimes these considerations are geographical, sometimes they will be political, and no matter what they are, they aren't going to be fair for some.
So, in the framework of this imperfect world, we should realize that we can't accommodate everyone. And we shouldn't second guess the Wikimania Jury who spent time going through all of the various bids and questioning many organizing teams and coming to a difficult decision.

Now, you can spend a bunch of effort trying to revisit the Jury's decision, or you can expend that same effort trying to assist the current organizing team in helping to accommodate as many people as they can. Or you can even try to revise the selection criteria for future years. I'd think that the best use of effort would be in assisting others, but it is both your time and prerogative to do with as you see fit.

Gerald

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Harel Cain
In reply to this post by Moushira Elamrawy
I can only join Moushira in the hopes for this thread (and similar
threads on the other lists) to be peacefully closed now that everyone
has made their position clear.

If someone from either side feels obliged to add anything to this
thread, let it be constructive and free of any critical judgment on
either side.


Harel

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM, Moushira Elamrawy <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I believe this thread has the capacity to keep going from now until the time
> of the conference. Avoiding politics is difficult, but I think it is a
> must.  Wikimania, was not the reason and will not help resolve the
> Arab-Israeli conflict. So, maybe it is better not to overload it with what
> is more than it can bear.
>
> Being judgmental regarding the Israeli or Arab or Islamic governments or
> societies will also not help the conversation, which I can not tell what is
> the point behind it now anyway?? The conference venue will not change and
> there is no need to change it. Every destination could be problematic to a
> portion of the world; for instance, Middle Eastern citizens need guarantees
> for an EU and UK visa including a steady job and good looking bank account
> and other details. Haifa has its own complications with regard to the other
> countries that will not allow persons with Israeli stamps on their passport.
> Moreover, some people from the Arab or Muslim population do not find it
> moral or ethical to visit the State of Israel at the current time, which I
> believe they have the right to adopt their point of view and express it
> freely whenever there is a need to, they might even ask for a boycott, but
> not on this list. I don't see this discussion progressing in much
> constructive thoughts anyway.
>
> As for Wikimania and Ramadan (thanks to Phoebe for bringing this up)
> actually, the presence of the mosque is not as troublesome as the fact of
> having to fast (no eating or driniking) from sun rise to sunset, and do
> additional spiritual rituals, while you need to attend sessions, analyze and
> concentrat for a whole day. For those who realize fasting as myself, the
> decision to travel to attend a conference in Ramadan will be difficult, but
> will it be reason enough to consider shifting the conference date?
>
> Moushira
> Looking forward to a peaceful closure of this email thread
>
>
>
>
>
> 2010/8/12 Yohai Edery <[hidden email]>
>>
>> Hello Maysara and all,
>>
>>
>>
>> I feel like I have to send an e-mail again regarding what you wrote below
>> as there is a lot of miss information in what you wrote.
>>
>>
>>
>> Firstly, let's put things on the table, as an Egyptian you are not feeling
>> good with coming to Israel as it would seem to your friends back home like
>> you are trying to "normalize" relations with Israel. Although there are
>> almost 30 years of peace between our countries, Egypt and Egyptians have
>> been always against normalizing relation with Israel and in fact there is a
>> lot of incitement towards Israel and Jews in general in Egyptian media,
>> books, cultural events and so. Israeli cultural products (movies, music,
>> theater and such) were band from participation in festival in Egypt even
>> international ones held in Egypt. The situation with Jordan is not
>> better…unfortunately. On the meantime, Israel has welcomed movies, music and
>> artists from Egypt and Jordan that have participated in festivals and events
>> in Israel.
>>
>>
>>
>> I can guarantee that people from all over the world will have no problem
>> coming to the event in Israel. Israeli authorities will allow everyone from
>> everywhere to come to Wikimania providing he/she has not been engaged in
>> terrorist activities…which I believe is not the case for the participants of
>> our event….I doubt Al Qaida, Hammas and Hezbollah care about Wikipedia. I
>> can tell you from past experience that people from Libya and Lebanon came to
>> conferences in Israel without any trouble. The problem maybe with their own
>> home government….but that, unfortunately, we can't control.
>>
>>
>>
>> Again, accusation bout maltreatment and confiscation of belongings are
>> NONSENCE I want to remind you that Israel is a full functioning democracy!!!
>> We DO NOT do things against the law and will not confiscate anything from
>> anyone unless there is a solid reason. Again, I have been involved with tens
>> of conferences in Israel and had many friends from all over the world coming
>> to Israel, none of them suffered from any of those things you maintained. I
>> would like to kindly ask you to stop with those accusations.
>>
>>
>>
>> Regarding arriving to Israel from Cairo, again, you don’t have to do that
>> by bus or car only like you said….you can easily fly to Ben gurion
>> international airport in Tel Aviv on a non-stop flight from Cairo with El-Al
>> Israeli airline or Air Sinai (part of Air Egypt). If you need help with
>> making the reservations, I would love to help….
>>
>>
>>
>> I think that change comes from people and not for the leaders….I would
>> expect you to see this event as a great opportunity to start real dialogue
>> between people in the Mideast and use such an important source of
>> information like Wikipedia to a good use as a tool to bring people together,
>> break stigmas and fight prejudice. The only way we can live together in
>> peace is if we will get to know each other….I have visited Egypt and Jordan
>> as well as the Palestinian territories…I know a lot about the Arab
>> world…what do you know about me?
>>
>>
>>
>> Hopping to show you all the real face of Israel when you are hear...
>>
>>
>>
>> Good night from Haifa, Israel
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Yohai Edery
>>
>> יוחאי אדרי
>>
>>
>>
>> E-mail: [hidden email]
>> P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
>>
>>
>>
>> From: [hidden email]
>> [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
>> Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:46 AM
>> To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
>> Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next
>> conference in Haifa, Israel
>>
>>
>>
>> Hello to All :)
>>
>>
>>
>> 1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would
>> not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by
>> the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this)
>> that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that
>> justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and
>> regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be
>> addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants
>> from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will
>> never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be
>> held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries,
>> particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for
>> any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is
>> in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli
>> and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of
>> accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of
>> passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit
>> points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding
>> the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle
>> east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some
>> attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather
>> than fake a friendly answer!
>>
>>
>>
>> 2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results
>> were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the
>> "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the
>> jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that
>> so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a
>> car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to
>> think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or
>> who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination
>> for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently
>> do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great
>> potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the
>> decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests
>> that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were
>> present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of
>> this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as
>> representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such
>> processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we
>> should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on
>> Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc.
>> Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there
>> later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and
>> to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love
>> their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful
>> event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience
>> and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this
>> experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by
>> moment!
>>
>>
>>
>> Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without
>> having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen
>> the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and
>> making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is
>> the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask
>> me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an
>> erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is
>> YOUR position?
>>
>>
>>
>> :)
>>
>> --
>>
>> Maysara
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimania-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimania-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>
>



--
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
In reply to this post by Yohai Edery
Dear Yohai,

I thought it was pretty clear that this has nothing to do with me personally. But just to emphasize, and not to yell or anything like this:
THIS DISCUSSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME PERSONALLY!

Most appreciatively,
--
 Maysara
"All that is necessary to right action, is right judgment." _Rene Descartes


2010/8/12 Yohai Edery <[hidden email]>

Hello Maysara and all,

 

I feel like I have to send an e-mail again regarding what you wrote below as there is a lot of miss information in what you wrote.

 

Firstly, let's put things on the table, as an Egyptian you are not feeling good with coming to Israel as it would seem to your friends back home like you are trying to "normalize" relations with Israel. Although there are almost 30 years of peace between our countries, Egypt and Egyptians have been always against normalizing relation with Israel and in fact there is a lot of incitement towards Israel and Jews in general in Egyptian media, books, cultural events and so. Israeli cultural products (movies, music, theater and such) were band from participation in festival in Egypt even international ones held in Egypt. The situation with Jordan is not better…unfortunately. On the meantime, Israel has welcomed movies, music and artists from Egypt and Jordan that have participated in festivals and events in Israel.

 

I can guarantee that people from all over the world will have no problem coming to the event in Israel. Israeli authorities will allow everyone from everywhere to come to Wikimania providing he/she has not been engaged in terrorist activities…which I believe is not the case for the participants of our event….I doubt Al Qaida, Hammas and Hezbollah care about Wikipedia. I can tell you from past experience that people from Libya and Lebanon came to conferences in Israel without any trouble. The problem maybe with their own home government….but that, unfortunately, we can't control.

 

Again, accusation bout maltreatment and confiscation of belongings are NONSENCE I want to remind you that Israel is a full functioning democracy!!! We DO NOT do things against the law and will not confiscate anything from anyone unless there is a solid reason. Again, I have been involved with tens of conferences in Israel and had many friends from all over the world coming to Israel, none of them suffered from any of those things you maintained. I would like to kindly ask you to stop with those accusations.

 

Regarding arriving to Israel from Cairo, again, you don’t have to do that by bus or car only like you said….you can easily fly to Ben gurion international airport in Tel Aviv on a non-stop flight from Cairo with El-Al Israeli airline or Air Sinai (part of Air Egypt). If you need help with making the reservations, I would love to help….

 

I think that change comes from people and not for the leaders….I would expect you to see this event as a great opportunity to start real dialogue between people in the Mideast and use such an important source of information like Wikipedia to a good use as a tool to bring people together, break stigmas and fight prejudice. The only way we can live together in peace is if we will get to know each other….I have visited Egypt and Jordan as well as the Palestinian territories…I know a lot about the Arab world…what do you know about me?

 

Hopping to show you all the real face of Israel when you are hear...

 

Good night from Haifa, Israel     

 

 

 

 

Yohai Edery

יוחאי אדרי 

 

E-mail: yohaied@...
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:46 AM


To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

 

Hello to All :)

 

1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this) that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries, particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather than fake a friendly answer!

 

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc. Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by moment!

 

Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

 

:)

--

Maysara

 


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Wikimania-l mailing list
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https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



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Re: Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

Maysara Omar
Harel and Moushira,

why the rush on closing this thread?!! :) Let us give time and space for a civilized and purposeful dialogue and deliberation to come to fruition and realization!

--
Maysara
"All that is necessary to right action, is right judgment" _Rene Descartes


On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 12:12 AM, Maysara Omar <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear Yohai,

I thought it was pretty clear that this has nothing to do with me personally. But just to emphasize, and not to yell or anything like this:
THIS DISCUSSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME PERSONALLY!

Most appreciatively,
--
 Maysara
"All that is necessary to right action, is right judgment." _Rene Descartes


2010/8/12 Yohai Edery <[hidden email]>

Hello Maysara and all,

 

I feel like I have to send an e-mail again regarding what you wrote below as there is a lot of miss information in what you wrote.

 

Firstly, let's put things on the table, as an Egyptian you are not feeling good with coming to Israel as it would seem to your friends back home like you are trying to "normalize" relations with Israel. Although there are almost 30 years of peace between our countries, Egypt and Egyptians have been always against normalizing relation with Israel and in fact there is a lot of incitement towards Israel and Jews in general in Egyptian media, books, cultural events and so. Israeli cultural products (movies, music, theater and such) were band from participation in festival in Egypt even international ones held in Egypt. The situation with Jordan is not better…unfortunately. On the meantime, Israel has welcomed movies, music and artists from Egypt and Jordan that have participated in festivals and events in Israel.

 

I can guarantee that people from all over the world will have no problem coming to the event in Israel. Israeli authorities will allow everyone from everywhere to come to Wikimania providing he/she has not been engaged in terrorist activities…which I believe is not the case for the participants of our event….I doubt Al Qaida, Hammas and Hezbollah care about Wikipedia. I can tell you from past experience that people from Libya and Lebanon came to conferences in Israel without any trouble. The problem maybe with their own home government….but that, unfortunately, we can't control.

 

Again, accusation bout maltreatment and confiscation of belongings are NONSENCE I want to remind you that Israel is a full functioning democracy!!! We DO NOT do things against the law and will not confiscate anything from anyone unless there is a solid reason. Again, I have been involved with tens of conferences in Israel and had many friends from all over the world coming to Israel, none of them suffered from any of those things you maintained. I would like to kindly ask you to stop with those accusations.

 

Regarding arriving to Israel from Cairo, again, you don’t have to do that by bus or car only like you said….you can easily fly to Ben gurion international airport in Tel Aviv on a non-stop flight from Cairo with El-Al Israeli airline or Air Sinai (part of Air Egypt). If you need help with making the reservations, I would love to help….

 

I think that change comes from people and not for the leaders….I would expect you to see this event as a great opportunity to start real dialogue between people in the Mideast and use such an important source of information like Wikipedia to a good use as a tool to bring people together, break stigmas and fight prejudice. The only way we can live together in peace is if we will get to know each other….I have visited Egypt and Jordan as well as the Palestinian territories…I know a lot about the Arab world…what do you know about me?

 

Hopping to show you all the real face of Israel when you are hear...

 

Good night from Haifa, Israel     

 

 

 

 

Yohai Edery

יוחאי אדרי 

 

E-mail: yohaied@...
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Maysara Omar
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:46 AM


To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Problematic aspects of hosting the next conference in Haifa, Israel

 

Hello to All :)

 

1) Of course i am aware that the decision has already been made. I would not have brought this issue had i not thought, (along with many others by the way who are unfortunately not here to express themselves about this) that whatever jury took that decision has fallen into a manifest error, that justifies a look back and reconsideration, rather than be ignored, and regardless of whether this will change things or not. The issue needs to be addressed, because it is very important. It is a fact, that participants from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and possibly other countries, will never have the chance to attend the next wikimania conference should it be held in Israel. Further, other participants from other countries, particularly "Arab" countries whose citizens do not usually go to Israel for any purpose, and this applies to both Jordan and Egypt with whom Israel is in diplomatically fine terms, will find many troubles from both the Israeli and their own governments. This is no speculation, there are hundreds of accounts on the internet of maltreatment and confiscation of belongings of passengers for all sorts of reasons by Israeli officials at entry/exit points. Questions asked in such aggressive tonality and attitude regarding the passengers' views and opinion of Israel and the conflict in the middle east. Please ask the ministry of foreign affairs, whether they will let some attendees in, if they answered these questions as they do believe rather than fake a friendly answer!

 

2) If even presidential elections can be repeated because their results were doubtful, i cannot see why everyone here so far is talking about the "impossibility" of reconsidering the validity of the decision made by the jury, as though it is a sanctified or infallible one! Somehow it seems that so far no one apart from myself, who could get into Israel only following a car or bus ride of 8 hours from my very home in Cairo, took the time to think of the position of those who will never be permitted into Israel, or who will avoid doing so because Israel is in fact a problematic destination for them. And regardless of whether any of this is fair or not, we currently do have a realistic situation that is laden with injustice and great potential of practical disorder, which somehow was not raised during the decision making process, although it is no secret or news! This suggests that non of those who will be negatively effected by the decision, were present when the process of deciding was ongoing. One of the benefits of this discussion then, is perhaps to give more attention to such matters as representativeness, inclusive deliberation, and outreach, in further such processes of wikimania biding and decision making. Perhaps from now on, we should make more effort in reaching out for, you know, "all the people on Earth" who might want to come to wikimania with their experiences, etc. Unfortunately I was not there then, and maybe i won't be able to be there later, but I do not believe that it is too late to bring this issue now, and to attempt to correct what is wrong even by those who, understandably, love their own country and would have loved to see it hosting such a wonderful event. It is for a clean, freeing, progressive, and Humanistic experience and social process that we commit ourselves; the passing-by moments in this experience will be destructive if they are absorbed only in the passing-by moment!

 

Finally, Wikimania conferences must be accessible to everyone, without having to speak of making "exceptions" and taking extra measures to smoothen the passage of those who participate together everyday in creating and making the new free knowledge and culture of our age and the future. This is the position that I have chosen for myself, rather than the one that you ask me to adopt, that is, to suggest solutions to numberless problems and to an erroneous and unfair condition and situation. And now I ask you, what is YOUR position? 

 

:)

--

Maysara

 


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
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123