[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 23 21:59:17 UTC 2008


I think that Egypt bashing has been going on for a sufficient time now, 
and I would like to strongly suggest to give it a break NOW.

I feel deep embarassment for all of our Egyptians wikipedians.

I also feel offended for comments such as "Egypt shares very little of 
the same values than we do". There is no such thing as an opposition 
between WE and Egypt. Wikipedia is not organized along national 
governmental lines. We are organized by linguistic lines, and all of our 
participants share a common vision of "access to knowledge for all", 
common values of freedom, transparency, collaboration, neutrality, 
openness. That is what matters.
It should not matter what the political advocacy of our governments are.
It should not matter where we come from. It should not matter whether we 
are gays, or muslims, or newyorkers.

If you really want to go on discussing such matters, please make the 
efforts to stay factual, and mostly, *practical*, and to make any 
efforts to avoid offending other wikipedians.

Second point. Dan, the Foundation will host Wikimania in Egypt next 
summer. Period. Please stop pushing the idea that we could cancel, 
delay, move somewhere else. We will not.
Yes, there may be some risks, just as there are risks in every place we 
could have gone to. There are also fabulous opportunities, which will 
greatly outweight the risks.

Let's face it. We are in a risky business. We are pushing the edges of 
collaboration. We are currently breaking the business models of famous 
and rich private companies. We are sometimes hosting diffaming comments 
on world top leaders. We are provoking establishment. We are fighting 
huge lobbies. We are attracting weirdoes, losers, and various 
cyberstalkers. We are confronting censorship. We might even be victims 
of a fatwa in the future. There are risks in what we are doing, but we 
stay here because we think it is important and worth taking the risks.

If you are afraid, just do not act. If you fear terrorism in Egypt, just 
do not come. We'll meet in other places, at other times. There is 
nothing wrong in being afraid, but respect the fact others may have 
other fears and other priorities than you. There will be other 
wikimanias as well. There is a long future in front of you.

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