• 19 March 2008
  • Posted By Shadee Malaklou
  • Neo-Con Agenda

Wikipedia victory

In a March 19 email to NIAC, Wikipedia promised to “indefinitely halt” all editing on Wikipedia articles, “Trita Parsi” and “The National Iranian American Council.”

In Wikipedia’s own words, “It seems clear that a small group of people, if not possibly a single person posing as several, has been consistently trying to re-add…questionable, poorly sourced information about your organization [NIAC] and its president. In addition to being possibly libelous, it is strongly against the policies of our project.”

Many opponents of dialogue and diplomacy—the same people that Babak references in his post, Disrupting Discourse—have used Wikipedia as a platform for baseless attacks against Trita and NIAC. While these attacks say more about the undemocratic mindset of some factions of the Iranian-American community than they do about NIAC or our work, it is unfortunate that Wikipedia, a well-trusted source of information for so many people, has become the most recent target in their efforts.

We, as the NIAC DC team, are thrilled that Wikipedia recognizes the need to halt public access to the “Trita Parsi” and “National Iranian American Council” articles. We hope this victory helps elevate the discourse in our community beyond ad hominem attacks, to genuine debate about the issues facing Iranian Americans. We thank Wikipedia for helping push the conversation about these issues to a better, more productive level.

Posted By Shadee Malaklou

    10 Responses to “Wikipedia victory”

  1. It is great to see Wikipedia take responsibility for the content posted on their website. This has been a long-winded battle for NIAC, and I am very happy to see our labor finally come to fruition.

  2. Marsha Ershaghi says:

    This is an oustanding victory! In this era of transparency, individual and organizational reputation can too often be mis-judged by the results of a google search. Wikipedia has become the single source of information for so many information consumers. The defamatory attacks on NIAC and Trita Parsi were disruptive and unwarranted. Its great to see that Wikipedia has completed their investigation and closed access to the defamatory entries. Great work Shadee and the NIAC team!

  3. Michael Mahyar Hojjatie says:

    Fantastic news!

    Iranians trying to make Iranians look bad, seriously! Who benefits from this? Childish behavior like this does nothing to make us look better on the world stage already so hostile to us.

    Babak and company, can we please find a way to discuss our culture’s intolerance for each other and possible solutions in a seperate blog entry or forum? I know this entry isn’t the right time or place, but this has to be discussed amongst us sooner than later. It is very disheartening to see our culture be so fragmented, not to mention unbelievable!

  4. Babak Talebi says:

    Shadee – Great job on getting this important victory.
    Marsha and Michael – thank you for your kind words and support.

    Michael – On the issue of discourse, we of course agree fully. Part of the purpose of this blog is to bring issues such as this into the limelight and discuss them. I think it would be fine to talk about these issues on this thread or others – but the key is to what end? what do we hope to achieve from those talks? Its one thing to notice intolerance in the Iranian (or White, or Black, or any other) community, its another to actually solve these issues in any meaningful way.

  5. Reza says:

    Shadee’s work, on behalf of NIAC is of immense importance. It is safe to say that NIAC is the only political voice of the Iranian American across the nation, and we should do all that we could to promote it.
    NIAC should stand ready to engage in meaningful debates and respond to critiques without losing the ground. The path to success was never an easy one.
    Thanks Shadee and our wonderful young folks in DC.

  6. Mehdi says:

    Great job! It is hard work but it must be realized that this is valuable work. Fighting the falsehood is very important for NIAC. Congratulations!

  7. Thank you, everyone, for your warm words of support!

  8. Michael Mahyar Hojjatie says:

    Indeed, Babak, “to what end?”

    I don’t have the answers, nor the solutions. Hopefully one day (if enough people are galvanized) we can discuss the how, what, and why of this issue and do our own part to at least be a minority working towards putting an end to it. I shall remain optimistic.

    Beh salomati.

  9. Shervin A says:

    Yet another example of why NIAC is so critical to Iranians everywhere, not just those in the US. Thank you Shadee as well as all the other hard working folks at NIAC. Your efforts and successes are deeply appreciated!

  10. Nahid N. says:

    Thanks Shadee, GREAT JOB…I was waiting for that news.

    NIAC is a great hope and a voice for many of us here . Thanks again!!

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Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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