Re: yay canaries!

Hi Behdad & board,

On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 5:11 PM, Behdad Esfahbod <behdad behdad org> wrote:
> Unfortunately it turned out to be so.  Needless to say, I did not mean
> to offend anyone.  And I apologize if I did.

I'm sure you had no intention at all of offending but well, you did.
Since it was unconscious it is good to discuss and move it to the
consciousness. An advice for future years could be:

- Don't be partial to any candidate if you are involved in the
decision (Behdad did in this list - which is fine but then it would be
good to stay out of the process).

- Don't expose any candidate publicly, especially not with cheap
stereotypes (I'm afraid you did, by tying Tampere and Coruña to
popular non-excitement and also by connecting Gran Canaria to sol,
playa y fiesta).

- Explain the reasons why the winner won, and why the rest didn't. For
what I remember your "survey" mentioned mostly beach and price of
beer. No mention at all about Coruña or Tampere.

- Invite the no-winners to resubmit next year, making clear that we
want to have them on board. Do we need to remember how hard has been
to get a single candidature in previous years?

- Say a clear "Thank You" to all - probably GNOME's Rule Number One.

> Each bid
> has its own unique strengths, but in the end, we decided that the unique
> opportunity of the Gran Canaria bid to reach out to Africa was something
> we really want to explore.

Like a good brother I'm not criticising the decision, but I recommend
you not to put this argument upfront before prior investigation and
concrete decisions made on that direction. In fact, this might be a
problem as it was in Vilanova: plenty of requests for recommendation
letters from African countries from which I count just a couple from
Algeria and Morocco as legitimate - and they couldn't get the visa

This took a lot of time and hassle, including calls and conversations
with Spanish embassies in remote countries. At the end most of them
were probably fake (and I don't blame them either, at the end borders
are full of sad stories)

The Canary Islands are one of the main gateways of immigration from
Africa to the EU. In this sense is like a European military fortress,
no matter zillion priviledged citizens fly there as tourists free as
in speech and quite cheap as in beer. Africans with properties and a
bank account won't have problems but considering their origins (e.g.
South Africa) they will probably fly via Madrid, Paris or London
anyway. All the rest will need a lot of help from the organization to
get a visa and a flight ticket.

Fyi there are direct flights to Gran Canaria from Cape Verde,
Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal and Western Sahara. Working out something
with computer science faculties in Casablanca, Marrakesh and Dakar
seems like the first thing to try if we really want to play the
African card beyond the good intentions.

Quim Gil ///

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