[Haifux] Where were the organizers?

Nadav Har'El nyh at math.technion.ac.il
Sun May 23 00:18:26 MSD 2010

This discussion is a bit off-topic, but just to explain myself, 

On Sat, May 22, 2010, Orr Dunkelman wrote about "Re: [Haifux] Where were the organizers?":
> While I do not like the security at the entrance to the Technion, and
> find them annoying, they are far from fascists. Due to many reasons,
> there is an access control at the Technion (not only due to security
> reasons, btw), and the fact that someone tries to enforce this, does
> not make him (or her) into a fascist.

I did not mean they are fascists in the sense that they like to kill Jews
or that they started a world war. I did *not* say they were nazis, I said
"fascists". The key point about fascists was that they believed that the
state is more important than the individuals in it. While other political
systems believe that the state was set up by the inviduals to serve them
(e.g., read the preamble of the U.S. declaration of independence), in fascism,
the belief is the other way around - that the state is what is important,
and the individuals exist to serve it.

To return to the "nimshal", while I was in the Technion, I got too often the
feeling that the security guards forgot that they are there to serve the needs
the people of the technion (senior faculty, junior faculty, employees at
least - even if we forget about the students). They started to get the feeling
that it is the other way around - that the faculty are there to serve them.
I've heard horror stories of all kind. One PhD student who lived in the
technion and delivered some furniture in, and the guards refused to let the
delivery in. One important guest invited by some faculty member who was
denied entrence because a fax was misplaced. Faculty having to jump through
hoops to get entrance permits despite being entitled to them. And more.

Unfortunately, this is not specific to the technion. The saying goes that
"power corrupts". Unfortunately, it has a basis.

Sorry to be (very) blunt, but this is how I feel.

> > That projector isn't exactly national security... What would it hurt to
> > duplicate the key and give it to many Haifux regulars?
> Yes. It would.
> These are the regulations of the CS department at the technion that
> allows us the use of its facility.

So it is these regulations which caused the problem that the original poster
complained about. If you're fine with that, than so am I.

> If you find a better location in Haifa - we can consider moving there,
> but until then, they are our hosts, and as such, we follow their
> regulations, to the latter.

I had the impression that they were not just the hosts, many of you were
PhD students there, and had some power there to change stupid rules into
sensible rules (I'm talking about the projector now, not the entrance).
I guess this impression was not accurate.

> > How difficult is it to have a smoother car-permit process?
> In the Technion - terribly. This affects not only lecturers at haifux
> (which again a "donation" of the CS department), but also real issues
> within the technion (try to be a girl being dropped off at night at
> the gate, 'coz the security guard refuses your companion to give you a
> ride to your dorms).

Hmm, remember what I said about security being the *goal*, rather than
the *means*? You just gave another example.

> And yes, as the person who gets the free horse, you need to check the teeth.

I guess that for years I had the wrong impression about Haifux. I always
assumed that the presenter is doing the crowd a favor (and I remember in
awe people like Guy Keren who gave dozens of lectures there). I didn't know
that actually Haifux was doing the presenter a favor... Oh well ;-)

Anyway, like I said, I'm not angry, and in my case everything went very
well, thanks to Orna. I was just ranting on why everything needs to be
so complicated when it really isn't. When I was a student in the Technion,
I don't remember the blackboards - or even slide projectors - being locked
in the afternoon. They were perhaps chained to the floor, but still operable.

Nadav Har'El                        |     Saturday, May 22 2010, 10 Sivan 5770
nyh at math.technion.ac.il             |-----------------------------------------
Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |A language is a dialect with an army.
http://nadav.harel.org.il           |

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