2008/7/28 Al Tally <majorly.wiki(a)googlemail.com>om>:
It's now been a week since I got back. I enjoyed
the actual conference, and
meeting everyone in person. However, I have made up my mind that I never
want to go to Egypt again, nor the next Wikimania.
I was so disturbed and put off by my experience of
Egpyt, there is no way
I'd consider going to Buenos Aires. While I'm sure they are very different
places, I don't want to risk anything like the harrassment, the poor hygene,
the dangerous roads and the poor organisation again. It'll be way too
expensive for me as well, and I doubt I'd get a scholarship. I'd rather go
somewhere closer to the UK where I live, or where the culture is more
similar to here.
I'm sorry my words are harsh. This is not a dig at anyone, just my honest
concerns about how this whole thing turned out. I know for sure others feel
the same way I do about a lot of the things I said.
I'm happy to see that this thread turned into a more constructive
discussion about things we can do better in next wikimanias. I can't
imagine how could the egyptian team change the local taxi drivers'
culture just for our comfort.
While we (in Argentina) are taking notes on every comment about things
to do and things to improve, I'd like to say a few words, about some
concepts that didn't sound well to me.
I was very happy to be in Egypt. I knew (as every one of you) that the
taxi drivers -and other people- would try to cheat me, that transport
media would be below european standars -although the train service
from Cairo to Alexandria was quite fine-, that traffic would be
terrible, that poor people would be everywhere. Welcome, my friends,
to the South.
And I was very happy not only for the great job and friendship of the
egyptian team, not only for an outstanding conference venue, but also
because when we say: "a world in which every human being..." we are
also talking about this people. We are talking *most of all* about
Of course, nobody is forced to go anywhere if is going to be
uncomfortable. But you can't go to Egypt (or to South America) and
complain because you didn't find the services of a Nordic country.
We are taking notes and working: you'll find enough plugs in Buenos
Aires, and enough wifi, and enough social room and activities... and
perhaps you'll find a city that fits with most european standars
(please, read [[en:Buenos Aires]] for further reference). But if you
walk the city, you'll meet poor people, at night you may find families
of waste pickers, you'll see homeless. Sorry about that. We are not
able to hide them for you and I think we don't want to do so.
So, let's talk about things we can work out. And forgive me if my
words sound bitter: I just couldn't help.