On 10/9/07, David Strauss <david(a)fourkitchens.com> wrote:
phoebe ayers wrote:
On 10/9/07, Dan Rosenthal
In 1997 some 52 honor killings were reported in Egypt. The actual
figures in all of the countries I've cited are probably much higher
because most honor killings go unreported.
Yes, well, there were also 69 murders and 156 rapes in the city of San
Francisco alone last year , where the WMF is moving to soon; yet the fact
that many of these killings are racially and sexually motivated and many of
the rapes are intensely brutal has not led to calls that the WMF stay away
from the big bad city here for moral reasons. My point: having liberal 
western values does not directly translate into more safety for the resident
or casual visitor; I haven't seen statistics about crime for visitors in
I've stated that we have a duty to concern ourselves with more than our
own safety. Are you disputing this?
Your arguments rely on utilitarianism, yet I'm certain you would reject
a society with maximal persecution of the few and minimal crime overall.
One outside the US (and a few inside it...) might reply that the US
has been illegally holding terror suspects without trial and torturing
some of them, intercepting telecommunications widely both
internationally and domestically, and waging illegal war in Iraq.
We could hold an even in ... London (no, wait, tube/bus bombings)...
Paris (race riots?)... Moscow (organized crime? government
oppression?)... Madrid (train bombings?), San Francisco (a few
murders, and might all fall down in an earthquake...), Seattle (less
murders, but both likely to fall down and be sunk by a Tsunami in a
quake, and there's a volcano waiting to spew Lahar all over the
southern parts of the city...).
Let us be practical. There are moral and practical concerns with
about every possible venue we could chose. At least some of those
concerns are legitimate in a wider scope. We cannot not chose
somewhere to go, or rule out any given place, due to legitimate but
not overwhelming concerns.
Gay and lesbian tourists from the US go to Egypt all the time without
being oppressed; I'm sure some of them are offended by the local
treatment of their peers, but they vacation in good health and safety.
Westerners visiting Egypt are not, as a rule, bothered by the local
political issues. Most of the factions in those agree that bothering
western tourists is a bad idea, and though there was a spate of
terrorism it seems to have receded and stayed away. Alexandria was
also far from the areas which were affected by that.
I would oppose any suggestion of a Wikimania in a Sharia Law area, or
in a truly dangerous location from participants' health and safety, or
freedom of information or civil rights perspective. Rangoon would be
bad. Bagdhad would be ... let's just not go there, and I wish any
Iraqi Wikipedians the best of luck with recovering your civilization
and country. Egypt is "travel advisories" and some topical
sensitivity, not "overwhelmingly oppressive" or "bring your
Perhaps future standards should increase the civil rights and
western-style freedoms issues significance in judging. But Alexandria
is a fine choice now. Arguing to change the selection criteria after
selection, without having already used the opportunity present to make
statements or recommendations before selection, is poor process.
-george william herbert