Canadian Immigration Officials Rely On Wikipedia Entry To Detain Scholar

The ability of anyone to modify a Wikipedia entry can prove dangerous when relied upon by an ignorant immigration official unaware that Wikipedia information is often unreliable.

The following was taken from Middle East scholar Juan Cole’s excellent blog  “Informed Comment”.

The Circle Closes In: A shameful campaign

By Taner Akçam

For many who challenge their government’s official version of events, slander, e-mailed threats, and other forms of harassment are all too familiar. As a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in Turkey, I should not have been surprised. But my recent detention at the Montreal airport—apparently on the basis of anonymous insertions in my Wikipedia biography—signals a disturbing new phase in a Turkish campaign of intimidation that has intensified since the November 2006 publication of my book, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility..

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13 Comments

Filed under Iconoflatulence, Wikipedia

13 responses to “Canadian Immigration Officials Rely On Wikipedia Entry To Detain Scholar

  1. Pingback: » Canadian Immigration Officials Rely On Wikipedia Entry To Detain …

  2. Ross

    I imagine Talum Akcam is happy that they detained him in the Canadian airport because it makes more social activists aware of his cause… After all he is a political activist that relies on international spotlight for his cause and that’s why he was with Amnesty International and how it could be possible that his name showed up on Wikipedia. I’m incredibly dependent on Wikipedia for quick and indepth information. As you should know history and politics and access to information is incredibly intertwined. I have a BA in American Social History etc. and wrote a thesis in order to graduate. I spent months in Boston looking for information that, as it turns out, was shredded… Why? More important is understanding that everyone has an agenda and yours is incredibly clear. Agendas manipulate truths… Political groups or Goverments determine what is in their best interests and the best interests of their citizens to know… Go to Reuters Latin America/Reuters Mexico and look at the difference in the amount of state and international news offered on those divisions of the same news agency… Look for information about the same important socio-political topics you put on your blog, but that take place here in Mexico and you’ll find that, until you start truly living with your eyes turned in this direction and in Spanish, you will have almost nothing to put on your blog. Why? Because the government and the big business from Carlos Slim to Coca Cola don’t want you to know about the truth here. Ask about ’68 right before the Olympics in Mexico City… What’s really happening here? You won’t know because you and no one else has the right to know. But in the U.S. your rights are much more protected so you have access to much more information that will make your blood boil and keep you distracted away from the reality here… or maybe away from the better reality there… Here, the government forces the society into “see no evil; hear no evil” while they live in so much more “evil” than an “illegal alien” experiences in the U.S. by an American government that protects their human rights that their own government doesn’t offer them, and less me here doing everything the legal way and married to a Mexican woman. Why? Because Margarita is in the second to the lowest class the rancher/farmer/campesino class. She’s almost the equivalent of a share cropper… What does she deserve? Here, Marx’s claims hold much true than in the U.S. Religion is the opiate of the masses. But there are other opiates of the masses here that you can discover if you turn your attention in this direction… You have a lot of time on your hands to research, experience and write. Why not start writing about the real Mexico and not the Mexican fantasy offered to tourists? I left the U.S. because the culture and the people offended me… I’m immersed here 4 years and much closer to true Mexican society than would be a high prestige anthropologist because I don’t have one foot in my country of origin. I’m not above this world… And, truthfully, I will tell you that Mexicans are NOT nobler, more honest, more sincere or more just than Americans. If you’re going to get fucked over anywhere, it’s here, more than there… Become more fluent and more open to Spanish. Get closer to the conversation that Mexicans have with Mexicans not conversations with Gringos that have one foot in their country and the other foot here. And you’ll start hearing the true story of Mexico and who and how are Mexicans. Don’t mention money or you’ll NEVER enter… You’ll never get truly loved or respected or truly fucked over in the Mexican style. Spanish, boy, that’s where it’s at. Offer your blog to non-English, Spanish speaking friends. Yesterday was the first time in 4 years that I intentionally picked up an English language book and started reading it “On the Road” copied for me by Robert, whose been here for 12 years and still doesn’t speak Spanish. I entered Mexico without Spanish. My wife Margarita, my in-laws, my 12 brother and sister-in-laws their wives their aunts, uncles, 50+ cousins, two grandparents, my 3 nephews on Margarita’s side don’t speak English. For me, no one truly important here speaks English. So, for the most part I devoted my time to Spanish and Spanish is my language at heart. Afterall, we’re in Mexico. What are we doing in Mexico if we wish to recreate the American/English world we supposedly left behind? I tell people that English is no more important than any other language. The most important language is the language of the region where you live because language is just a tool for communicating more complexly. It’s for sharing with and understanding more of the people and the culture within which you live. I don’t want to speak in English here because it doesn’t serve a purpose here… What if I resonded to your blogs in Spanish? Completely in Spanish? My responsibility is to be able to communicate more clearly and to understand the other person’s communication or else I will not learn and grow sufficiently from this experience… I have nothing to offer nobody more than my physical body or the fantasy they may have about me and my origins and my intentions… If you complete their fantasy that you’re a walking bank, since that’s what Mexicans believe of “Americans” whether it’s true or not, that’s the limitation of your experience here… If that’s what you’re buying with your money… That’s great. But by the looks of your website, I believe you’re seeking something much more important… So why not immerse yourself more in Spanish and this culture outside of the walks of the American tourists…? Get to know the socio-political history of Mexico as is published and then as is lived… Start thinking more about here and less about there… Increase your audience and give your readers something a bit more interesting about your experience. Anyone can see a palapa. But not everyone can live the life below and around that palapa… You have that choice because you live here in Mexico. You have the choice to truly get to know Mexico and not take a day trip into another reality… I never liked vacations because that’s truly what they are… You never have the time to really absorb and get to know the society you’re visiting…

  3. What exactly is my agenda that is so clear?

    You are truly on a manic roll today Ross, given the above comment and your earlier emails. I don’t pretend to understand; and, frankly, don’t give a shit.

    I have my own approach to living the life here I’ve decided to explore, so please don’t presume to tell me how I should be doing what I choose to do.

    We all have our own perspective and I am puzzled by yours. You have chosen to make a life in Mexico but you are constantly complaining about the place.

    My approach to living here is to acknowledge that I am largely ignorant as to the ways and means of Mexico. I am always respectful of Mexican with whom I come into contact, I patiently wait my turn, I don’t presume to tell Mexican how things in Mexico should be done, and I always express my sincere gratitude to those who graciously help when I ask. I always keep in mind what the Beattles said, something to the effect of “the love that you take is equal to the love that you make”.

    It works for me and I am quite satisfied with the progress I am making in understanding things here and with the improvement in my Spanish.

    Finally, having said all of that, if you don’t approve of what I write in my blog, change the channel.

    And, again, please don’t presume to tell me how I should be living my life, what I should think, or what I should write. As I indicated in my email earlier “The lessons I learn here, as in the USA, are the lessons I learn; not lessons that others impart to me, for we all look at the world, whichever part, differently.”

  4. Oh, by the way, I know what happened in Mexico City in 1968, the same year that students and Jackson State and Kent State were shot down by National Guard troops.

  5. Ross

    That’s cool Chris. I didn’t expect a different response. The great thing about freedom of speech is that you can call anyone and yourself whatever you wish and then you can debate the reality or the legality of it later… Because, it’s truly legal to state your opinion. What a world this would be if you censored my thoughts and I censored your blog… But if you’re inviting me to not respond to your writings or your statements or your interests or your style… that’s fine also. I’m not wrong. Just being myself and stating my mind. I’m sorry that there’s nothing for you to learn from or with me… You take me personally. But I’m just what god or life placed on the table just as you are the same. You chose to seek me out in the Lakes. I confused you with someone who had passed by the day before and that’s why I asked if you went to Xico or if you’ve been to Naolinco… I feel bad that I confuse people when I meet so many over such short or long periods of time… However, you took interest in me and my story and the story of my family with Margarita and company and we took a turn down another branch in the tree. But if you’re telling me only to go down the branches that you feel are good branches and the turns I take are manic, well I guess that’s something that you put down on the table for me to pick up and consider. That’s what lifes all about picking up or putting down the cards that are put infront of you… Maybe I shouldn’t have picked up your cards because you’ve dropped a few on the table and offended me before today. There’s a difference between complaining and describing the reality of a situation, especially a difficult situation… I think you complain a ton too… I imagine you have a right to complain because there are a lot of things to complain about… But, maybe what “god” says is correct, to accept it all, all the cards and to accept it as good even what “seems” horrendous. We are reflections of everything around us. I reflect something within you that you don’t like about yourself so you reject it… But it’s also something you need because we all attract what we need subconsciously… You are my card. I am yours. If we have nothing to offer each other, even if it’s uncomfortable thenwhy did we begin the relationship in the first place? I didn’t ask you for money. You offered it to me… You offered to help us out in a way that wouldn’t be difficult for us that no one but you would do here in Mexico and you said that everyone gains something from their actions; it’s a personal need. Your lending us that money satisfied a personal need for you to help us grow and maybe just maybe the situation causes me to “appear” manic because I am the same person you met a month or so or almost a year ago and I’m in the same situation that you claim that I fabricate in my mind because it’s complaining not describing the situation, just as writing your blog satisfies a personal need in you. One day I responded by email to what I read in your blog and you asked me to respond within your blog. Why? What’s the difference. What if 1,000 people read your blog and no one responds? What if everyone responds as you wish them to respond but dishonestly? I’m being honest and you call me manic and you invite me not to read and respond to your blog. That’s fine… I’ll pick up your card, read it, and hand it back to you. I have much more important things to do in my time at the moment than to be worrying about what happened in Canada or Karl Rove. It’s just a distraction away from the stress of what I must be doing at the moment which is extremely difficult even with your generous $30,000 USD. This is not complaining but stating a fact. It’s easy to be small. It’s much more difficult to be big. Life in Mexico is very difficult at the street level if you know what I mean, especially if you’re trying to grow. Try to understand that and that it’s not complaining but everyday life and suffering that does not exist in the U.S. at this grand scale and intensity. There isn’t a “Mexican Dream” but there is an “American Dream”… And you are a wonderful example of that. I am truly happy for you… I’m sorry that you can’t understand that…

    My family on both sides of the border is very happy with what you’ve done for us. Two of my brother-in-laws dropped what they are doing in Guerrero to enter with us. For them, that’s worth $80,000 pesos in take home wages and worth so much more the opportunity to create something big with my manic ideas and my manic impulses and my manic inspirations that even inspired you… It’s all part of the same me… The manic gives the unnatural energy to do what isn’t done here in Mexico… I invited you to step down to this level and try to know what you say I’m complaining about. Talk to the people and hopefully they’ll talk to you honestly about themselves… We couldn’t do it without you so soon. But we planned on doing it without you before you showed up. With all of my “complaining” I was extremely confident and optimistic about our future and what we could create. However, it’s very difficult, risky, exhausting and slow. And that’s why you offered me the money. Life at this level, especially if you’re a “poor” Gringo, is extremely paradoxical. Talk to my brother-in-laws, my wife about what you call complaints. Ask Margarita about our marriage and my rights with immigration and what is happening right now. Without your money, I’ve gotta go back to the U.S. Do you want that for Margarita and my brother-in-laws? Stop talking to me. You don’t believe me. But it wasn’t them that you were talking to all this time. Talk to them about what you call my complaining and they’ll show you that YOU ARE WRONG about me.

    They’re very content to have this opportunity. They are some of the better Mexicans you will know and it’s worth your effort. Don’t like me. That’s ok. I imagine that this was never about me in the first place. We’re all cards placed on the table. I imagine that you are an expert at putting the cards down and walking away. I’ve been pretty good at it also… although people are just a bit more important to me…

    Thank you.

    Ross

  6. I purposely do not moderate comments left here nor have I ever deleted a comment, other than spam, so you are welcome to comment as you wish. I, of course, will respond as I see fit.

  7. Ross

    Hey Chris,

    I was way out of bounds with attacking you yesterday… I should have kept those issues to myself because everyone has the right to pursue their happiness as they wish… I’m sorry. I was an asshole. You truly didn’t deserve it.

    Ross

  8. mcm

    Re: Kent State/Jackson State — 1970!!!

  9. Oops. Thanks for the correction mcm. Sorry for the error.

  10. mcm

    No apology necessary — just dates that are etched in my memory…

  11. You’re too kind mcm.

    As someone who lived in Wash. D. C. in 1970 and who was very much involved in the anti-war, and other, protests the dates should also be etched deeply in my mind.

    1968 was the year of the “police riot” at the Chicago democratic convention and the murder of both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. All events which more or less catalyzed my political ideals.

    Again, thanks for following my ruminations.

  12. This much is known for sure about Taner Akcam:

    1- He was a communist in 1960s and 1970s–way before he discovered the power of US dollars.

    2- He was involved in acts of terror in Turkey in 1970s; caught in the act; tried; convicted; imprisoned; and escaped from his cell.

    3- He sneaked into Germany; asked for asylum; got it. He studied socilogy there, not history.

    4- He poses as a professor and historian, but he is neither.

    5- He poses as an honest researcher, but he circulates Dadrian’s and Zoryan’s propaganda material, thus deceiving the public.

    6- He poses as an objective Turkish scholar who turned on Turkey when he discovered facts; but actually, he is a paid Armenian agent (Taner Akcam is paid by Zoryan institute and Cafesjian Foundation, both Armenian propaganda houses.)

    7- He says he is employed by yhe Univ. of Minnesota as an assoc. prof. but that is not true. UM’s legal councel says TA is eployed as a “research assoc.”, a non-tenure position renewable annually.

    8- “A Shameful Act” is not only the name of a book TA wrote using Dadrian’s material, but also the life he leads as a cheat and a liar.

    9- Anyone glorifies this crook is also a cheat and a liar (as in “Armenian lobbysist”)

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