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Wikipedia and Iraq: rewriting history?

Sanjay Sharma | Journal: Commons | General Issue [0] | Issues | Oct 2007

  The shambolic, illegal occupation of Iraq by Western powers has resulted in countless deaths (murder) of civilians.

The ‘war against terror’ is as much an info-war as it is one involving death and destruction.

Enter Wikipedia into the affray. It’s an amazing resource. While controversy exists over the accuracy of its contents, a more interesting question is how it contests the authority of conventional (expert) knowledge. Moreover, what Wikipedia reveals is the politics of knowledge itself. A significant example is how the contents of a page about Iraqi “resistance” has been edited to “insurgency“.[1]

If you are unfamiliar with the principles of a wiki, it enables readers to collectively edit a page, and the page’s edited history is stored. In the case of Wikipedia, if controversy arises, the page can be locked disabling any further edits.

Click the thumbnail image below to compare how the key terms over the entry about Iraq have been edited/altered. A case of rewriting how we are meant to grasp war and violence in Iraq?

Notes

1. For the latest Wikipedia entry now entitled ‘Iraq and Insurgency’, click here. (And has the article reverted back to include the term ‘resistance’?)  [↑]


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