From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Back, but but only sporadically - simply don't have the time these days...

I know you are absent right now, but these are long overdue (Thanks IPT!):
For your constant defence of what seems like hundreds of articles, The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar is yours!
The Resilient Barnstar awarded for your ability to take criticism (and abuse) in your stride and use it to improve articles!
"Was this misrepresentation reciprocal? If I were an American or British person living in Egypt, and if I knew Arabic well enough to read the mainstream Arabic press, would I constantly be brought up short by skewed accounts of my history and culture? Would I switch on the television to find a doom-laden voice intoning about how the Celts worshipped the massive stones placed on Salisbury Plain by astral beings? Would I switch on my car radio and hear an account of yet another outbreak of 'Christian paedophilia', with a background theme of church bells and Christmas carols? Would I wander into the movies and come face to face with an evil American character bent on destroying the 'third' world so the cinema audience cheers when the Arab hero kills him? I have to say the answer is a resounding no." - Ahdaf Soueif, Mezzaterra, p. 3

Articles of particular interest to me: Anything linguistic, especially Semitic languages and historical linguistics.

Featured articles: Laal language, Algerian Civil War.

Admin since December 3, 2004.

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See also: Portal:Algeria.

Language articles I've been particularly involved with[edit]

Language isolates and unclassified languages: Jalaa language, Laal language, Shabo language, Shabo lexicon, Kujarge language, Oropom language, Weyto language, Bung language, Wutana language, Bete language, Lufu language, Imraguen language, Nemadi language, Mpre language, Kwavi language, (Oropom, Andamanese languages), Category:Languages whose existence is uncertain.

Other African languages: Fur language, Berber languages, Northern Berber languages, Chenoua language, Soddo language, Korandje language, Gimira language, Tuareg languages, Saho language, Senhaja de Srair language, Tarifit language, Ghomara language, Komuz languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Afro-Asiatic languages, Tifinagh, Old Nubian language, Tagoi language.

Semitic languages: Varieties of Arabic, Samaritan Hebrew, List of Proto-Semitic roots, Soddo language, Moabite language, Phoenician languages, Edomite language, Ammonite language, Canaanite languages, Hebrew names, pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions, PERF 558, Nubi language.

Some other Wikipedia linguists[edit]

Language pages that deserve to be Article of the Week[edit]

Non-language articles that I've been particularly involved with[edit]

Not necessarily exhaustive...

Articles that I've written lots in: MEMRI, Kingdom of Nekor, al-Fatiha, al-Alaq, Qur'an, Rif, Muqatta'at.

Articles that I've written less in: Abd el-Krim, Palestinian, Ifriqiya, Djerid, Ha-Mim, Banu Isam, Berghouata, Salih ibn Tarif, Darfur, Darfur conflict, sura, Religious significance of Jerusalem#In Mandaeanism.

List of long articles that need fixing[edit]

The Islamic Barnstar Award

Due to massive POV attack (not that it was much good to begin with): Jihad. (See also: Template:Timeline of Islamist militancy, Template:Islam.)

Due to incompleteness or inadequacy of Islamic history section: History of Palestine, Galilee, Persecution of Muslims, Martyr, Muhammad as warrior.


I think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tragic though it is, is massively overhyped - it gets more media coverage than most conflicts ten, or even one hundred, times as lethal (see Congo Civil War), and I'm not an expert on Islamic theology, but the persistent tendency of some people to add Islamophobic and anti-Arab propaganda to articles on both those topics is a real danger, and one I am often forced to respond to. I should add that I am a proud anti-Zionist of the second type: that is, I advocate the quixotic notion that everybody ought to just get along and live together peacefully, or in the article's words, argue for "a state in which Jews and Palestinians live together as equals."

On historical linguistics, I incline much more towards the long-ranger view than the ultra-sceptical positions that seem to be prevalent, which too often strike me as being founded more on a priori objections than on empirical evidence. I firmly support the comparative method, but regard mass lexical comparison as not a competitor but a necessary prelude to it. However, I also consider some long-rangers' work - in particular Merritt Ruhlen's - to suffer from unacceptably large degrees of semantic latitude.

How not to NPOV an article[edit]

A couple of egregious examples:

  • "Some people use this lack of solid evidence as a basis for believing that there has never been a matriarchal society. Critics point out that this type of argument is illogical, and appeals to the fallacy of negative proof." (Matriarchy)
  • "With the help of his wife, some say he cheated many people, and made great money, especially selling an elixir which would make people live forever and keep their beauty. Others claim that he gained great fame by giving freely to the poor, and offering his healing talents for free. Some people say that he himself claimed to be very old, sometimes putting his age at two-hundred. Some people also claim that he also pretended to make gold out of other metals, and many noble and rich people believed that he could." (Cagliostro)
  • "Some allege that the army was a proxy for the Israeli Defence Force, and that Israel therefore bears some level of responsibility. Israel contends that the use of the word "proxy" is just propaganda and that the Phalangists were simply allies fighting a common, brutal enemy." (Israeli terrorism)
  • "Kfar Kassem Massacre, carried out by the Israeli border police in 1956. The Arab side alleges that 49 Israeli Arab people claimed to have been civilians were killed. They claim it included 11 children." (Israeli terrorism)
  • "The Life and Religion of Mohammed is a book by author J. L. Menezes. It was written in 1912 in India and provides an account of what it believes is Mohammed's life and what the beliefs of the religion of Islam are." The Life and Religion of Mohammed
  • "allegedly from shrapnel from rounds fired by Israeli forces during an allegedly peaceful protest... allegedly kicked up by machine gun fire from an IDF armoured personnel carrier while he was outside in the street irresponsibly investigating the source... whilst allegedly protecting children..."International Solidarity Movement
  • "Some scholars have argued... but other scholars disagree. Some historians argue... Other scholars argue that contextually they are clearly different."[1]

Common themes in such cases include vagueness about who holds the alleged views, straw man arguments misrepresenting opponents' views the better to knock them down, and—worst of all—a refusal to address the issue of what actually happened or did not happen, as opposed to what X thinks about it.

Other links[edit]