[PyQt] pyqt and pycon

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay at dinamis.com
Mon Jan 14 12:19:23 GMT 2008

Horst Herb wrote:
> On Saturday 12 January 2008, David Boddie wrote:
>> Some people are able to travel further than others - I'm happy to travel to
>> EuroPython and PyCon UK to give talks, but less comfortable with a long
>> distance trip to the US.
> I believe that in the current political climate many of us non-US residents 
> are rather reluctant to travel to conferences in the USA anyway.

That has more to do with their personal biases than anything else. I
have been to the U.S. numerous times before and after 9/11 and I have
not noticed any changes in the behaviour of American customs or
immigration officers. In every encounter, and I used to travel weekly to
the U.S., they have been polite but all-business. It is perfectly
understandable that they might want to establish psychological dominance
over the person they are interviewing just to see how that person would
react. It is also perfectly understandable if customs and immigration
officers reflect the attitude the person in front of them is projecting
onto them. They are, after all, only human. I am certain being polite
and showing them due respect goes a long ways towards making those brief
encounters more pleasant for all concerned whereas projecting hostility
and arrogance is likely to make life quite unpleasant.

I have been scrutinized more thoroughly traveling in Europe than in
Canada or the U.S. On one of my visits to Europe, at Schipol, I, along
with all the other passengers on my flight, were questioned no fewer
than three times before we boarded. Rephrasing the same question to
which I had replied in the negative a moment prior in the form of, "Are
you sure you did not... [insert previous question here]?" seemed to be
what passed for due diligence on the part of the bumptious KLM agent who
was the last to interview everyone just prior to boarding, as if a bad
guy who was carrying an explosive on board would relent the second time
the question was asked and say, "You got me! I *am* carrying an
explosive device."

> I used to go 
> to 3-5 medical conferences in the US per year, plus a few FOSS related 
> conferences (eg O'Reillys, even presented there once), but ceased this 
> completely some 5 years ago. 
> Last time I visited I didn't feel welcome at all, the customs officers were 
> exceedingly rude and hostile - and I am a respectable MD with permanent US 
> visa, no criminal records, no extremist affiliations, near-native English 
> speaking, Australian permanent resident, German descendence; makes you wonder 
> how they would treat people looking "less American" than I do.

This is purely anecdotal evidence, just as mine above. Judging by the
attitude you seem to project in your message, it would not surprise me
if you were treated as you claim you were.

> I wonder how many academics and uppermost white collar workers are prepared to 
> be treated as criminals "until proven otherwise" just for the sake of 
> attending a conference.

<http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,141264-page,1/article.html> The
accused in that article might have looked like an "uppermost white
collar worker" too. Being a doctor, an academic, or white collar worker
is not necessarily an indication of being a good guy. Why should members
of those groups be exempt from scrutiny? In other words, that you are "a
respectable MD" should not count for much. Ayman al Zawahiri, #2 in al
Qaeda, is also a medical doctor so your profession is not proof of any
greater virtue. This is not meant to impugn your reputation in any way.
You are certainly not guilty by association, which is why I suggest that
your profession is irrelevant when assessing whether you represent a
threat or not. The good guys have to be right all the time. The bad guys
have to be right only once to cause a major catastrophe so cut the good
guys a little slack. They have an important job to do.

I would urge anyone who wants to attend PyCon, or any other conference
in the U.S., to attend. If you are not attending because American
customs or immigration officers are supposedly so mean, consider that
over 50 million visitors entered the U.S. in 2007. If it were so
difficult or so unpleasant to get into the U.S., I doubt as many people
would have bothered. Thanks to the cheap U.S. dollar, non-Americans get
a nice discount on prices. For instance, for Canadians, not adjusting
for inflation, the U.S. is 60% cheaper than it was in 2002. For
Europeans, it is around 50% cheaper than it was from when the Euro first
came into existence. The U.S. is on sale for the foreseeable future.
Take advantage of it.

Clifford Ilkay
Dinamis Corporation
1419-3266 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON
Canada  M4N 3P6

+1 416-410-3326

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