[Foundation-l] (Flashback) A short (and revised) FAQ about Wikimania in A...

daniwo59 at aol.com daniwo59 at aol.com
Sat Apr 19 20:33:00 UTC 2008

In a message dated 4/19/2008 12:33:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
mgodwin at wikimedia.org writes:

Are  there questions, other than the one in the FAQ, that we should  
have  asked, or should be asking? 

I have one question, and I ask it with all seriousness. As someone who  lived 
in the Middle East for twenty years, I can attest that the situation  
everywhere there is volatile and subject to sudden, unanticipated changes.  It is 
simply a fact of life over there. As such, I ask, are there contingencies  for 
unanticipated changes in the coming weeks/months?
Some background to this question: In 1990, I was a senior coordinator for  
student summer tours in Israel, in charge of the well-being of some 40,000 kids  
from North America, Britain, France, and Eastern Europe. After many 
successful  summers, this was the year from hell. On July 30, a Canadian student named  
Marnie Kimmelman was killed by a bomb on a Tel Aviv beach. Since she was on 
one  of our groups, parents from all over were hysterical about the security of 
their  kids (exacerbated by the fact that some network news channel in the 
US--I think  it was CBS--mistakenly showed a different group standing outside my 
office and  identified it as Marnie's group). Parents called nonstop, 
demanding that we get  their kids on the first plane home. Three days later, Iraq 
invaded Kuwait and  then shit really hit the fan. This was before cell phones and 
email too, and as  I ran the largest facility in Jerusalem, all calls for the 
kids staying there  (500 beds) inevitably went through my office.
While something like this recurring is unlikely, it is probably best to  have 
contingencies for just such an event. This could be as simple as plans in  
case the conference must be cancelled at the very last minute, or contact  
numbers for family members of participants in the event of an emergency--as  simple 
as making sure someone is picking up phones in the SF office while the  event 
is underway. Like I said, a serious problem is highly unlikely, but better  
safe than sorry, especially in the Middle East, where things can change  
overnight. And announcing such plans might well remove some of the  concerns.

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