[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat Feb 23 19:25:02 UTC 2008

Ben McIlwain wrote:
> Nathan wrote:
>> At any rate, I think it would be rational for those planning on attending to
>> contact the embassy of their nation in Egypt, particularly if there is one
>> in Alexandria, to request information on steps to take in case of a
>> difficult or emergent situation. I don't think that the Wikimania organizers
>> can reasonably be expected to ensure the complete safety of attendees, given
>> restrictions on resources etc, so its incumbent upon those folks to take
>> appropriate precautions. Of note is the fact that while there has been
>> Islamic terrorist activity in Egypt between 2004 and 2006, none of it seems
>> to have occurred in Alexandria.
> Sweet Christ, can anyone remind me how in the hell we ever decided on
> Egypt in the first place?  Was that when the probability of being killed
> by terrorists was equally rated with the desire to not host Wikimania on
> the same continent two years in a row?
> Face it, Egypt shares very little of the same values that we do
> (especially the whole "not censored" part).  There is a significant
> chance of violent protests breaking out, potentially bringing harm to
> our conference and our participants.
It was and continues to be an excellent choice.  We want greater 
participation in the Arabic speaking nations since they are such an 
important part of world culture.  The committee had the good sense not 
to be swayed by paranoid scare-mongering about being klilled by terrorists.

I'm sure that a lot of countries fail to share in your personal values.  
That being said, one does not reconcile values by sticking one's head in 
the sand, and refusing to participate in dialogues with the apparent 
adversaries.  If you're so goddamned frightened nobody's forcing you to 
go; there's just as much or greater risk of being killed in a plane 
crash on the way to a "peaceful" place, and even more from being killed 
in an automobile accident without leaving your home continent.

I am not so gutless as to be frightened away by remote speculations 
about violent protests.  Look at it this way too:  If it does happen the 
publicity will be great.


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