Similarly with Zoora Shah, the mother of the Labour MP Naz Shah. The Wikipedia entry for Naz Shah says: “When she was 20, her mother was convicted of the murder of her partner, who had sexually and physically abused her for over a decade, and served 7 years in prison”.
No, twice no, and thrice no. Zoora Shah poisoned her married lover with arsenic, and spent over a decade in prison. Claims of physical and sexual abuse are easy to make, but it is a matter of record that this woman made a number of false allegations, and that she tried to steal Mohammed Azam’s property while he was in prison for drug offences.
I linked the page to the Court Of Appeal judgment in her failed appeal against conviction only to be told I am a “complete wackadoodle”. In case you don’t recognise it, this is the theory of blanket dismissal. If you don’t like someone for whatever reason, you simply ignore whatever evidence he adduces under any circumstances.
Now if the person concerned is one of those types who knocks on your door at 9.30 on a Saturday morning to tell you about Jesus, fair enough, but thoroughly documented facts from recent history are not revealed truth.
So, anyone reading up on either of the above cases will be wilfully misled by Wikipedia. But there is more.
In 1976, the actor David Webb founded the anti-censorship organisation NCROPA. It was very active in the 1980s but did very little after 1998. Webb is pictured above from the popular TV series Dr Who. David Webb died in 2012, whereupon in collaboration with his executor I created the NCROPA Virtual Archive. I also set up The David Webb Virtual Archive & Fan Site. The former is complete and contains close to three thousand documents, some of them quite lengthy. We donated the complete archive to the Modern Records Centre at Warwick University.
Two years later, the independent scholar Terence DuQuesne died, and I was given a similar though much less daunting task. His papers were donated to the Griffith Institute at Oxford.
While not being enamoured with Wikipedia due to the Satpal Ram charade, I decided to set up pages for both men on the site. Shortly, a notice was appended to each that the page was recommended for “speedy deletion”. I managed to forestall the deletion of the David Webb page, and some time later someone added a separate page for NCROPA, but the DuQuesne page was deleted because apparently the life and work of this lesser known but accomplished Egyptologist wasn’t considered significant enough to document.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned claim that I am a “complete wackadoodle”, my work has been cited on many Wikipedia pages, including the one for convicted murderess Linda Carty. As with Ram, the information on the actual page is misleading; this woman is the most guilty murderess on death row, and deserves to suffer the same fate as Lisa Montgomery.
The above are all serious examples of dishonesty, but common or garden murders and the failure to recognise a scholar are not the most serious allegations that can be made of Wikipedia. Here is an article by an Indian national who is even more unhappy.
As might be expected, the serious shortcomings of Wikipedia are glossed over or ignored in favour of imaginary ones. The Atlantic, the magazine that published that blatantly fake story about Donald Trump insulting the military, whined that it has a “sexism” problem. In 2011, only 10% of its editors were female. And? Clearly women have more important projects with which to concern themselves. Anyone may contribute to or edit Wikipedia articles, whether or not these contributions or edits survive, but it is clearly the mindset of especially its editors that is important, and damning, rather than their sex.
Back to Part 1.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.