Sunday, February 8, 2009

PA Arts Sunday - February 8, 2009 - Part 2 -- The Skies Are Weeping Makes Wikipedia

As I was googling, looking for information for the preceding article, I discovered that somebody has created a wikipedia The Skies Are Weeping, entry about my 2003-2004 work about Rachel Corrie, the young American human rights activist, who was killed in the Gaza Strip in March, 2003, just days before the beginning of the invasion of Iraq.

I didn't have anything to do with the article, and don't have a clue who wrote it.

The entry seems to have a neutral tone, has a thorough bibliography, and was created very recently - on January 27th. It has some inaccuracies, but they don't mar the essence of the entry. It is incomplete, as it doesn't link to material available on the web, like my recording of the November 2005 London performance of the work, my 2004 essay defending the premise of The Skies are Weeping, and Rep. Bob Lynn's denunciation of the work in front of a joint session of the Alaska Legislature.

I've watched wikipedia from its birth, as it has grown and undergone incredible stresses. I don't have a wikipedia entry of my own, but am mentioned in a few articles on other subjects. I decided a while back that I didn't want to write my own wikipedia article, so I'm tempted to keep out of the The Skies are Weeping article too.

I'm curious to see if it gets troll crashed like most wikipedia articles which treat people who treat Palestinians as human beings get trashed.

image - Rachel Corrie


Mel said...

Experienced Wikipedia editor here [raising hand]. The primary author of this particular article is a relatively new editor to Wikipedia called Kasaalan, most of whose edits have been to the Rachel Corrie article or to this one. I posted a message to Kasaalan's talk page alerting him or her to your blog post, & I've also been doing a few edits to improve the article itself. Since you don't wish to edit the page yourself (& you're right, it's a good idea for your yourself not to), you could still write to Kasaalan via his/her talk page.

Meantime, my attention is now on it, & I'll probably do some more work on it too. I was right here watching the whole controversy at UAA, still kinda winds up my guts to think about it. I took a creative writing MFA (poetry) under Linda McCarriston, so that was another point of interest for me. I haven't been doing a lot of active Wikipedia editing for a couple of years, but you count on me at the very least to fight any efforts to troll-crash the article.

I follow your blog via Google Reader -- keep up the good work!

Philip Munger said...


Thanks! On ALL fronts.

My only substantive criticism of the entry as I found it yesterday, was that only the soprano slated to sing the solo part in Anchorage and I got threatening e-mails. As of the cancellation on April 8th, 2004, no student names had been released, hence no way for anyone to threaten them. Their safety was the primary reason for the cancellation, as the article states.

Linda's poetic contribution to TSAW is one of the most powerful short poems to have come out of this present war.

Mel said...

Oh yes -- that's another point of interest -- the soprano who was to have sung it was the teacher of my niece, who took her Bachelor's of Music from UAA. It may have been through my niece that I first became really aware of the controversy.

Linda did a great presentation at UAA on her poem. I recorded it, but unfortunately the recording is on a hard drive that crashed which I'll have to pay through the nose to get the data from it.

Inaccuracies will get fixed. Do you have links to the other items you mentioned in the blog itself? (I can probably find them in a search, but....)

Philip Munger said...

I would prefer if the soprano involved in Anchorage have her name kept out if it doesn't impact thoroughness or accuracy in the article. She is still concerned about the 2004 threats.

Mel said...

I personally wouldn't see keeping her name out of it as a problem, though this being Wikipedia which is ruled by consensus (of sorts), other editors down the line might disagree. In that case, there will be discussion on the article's talk page (the "discussion" tab at the top of the article). People who want to know it can, of course, learn it, since it's mentioned in one of the articles used as a source for the article. The ADN article, btw, says that some students received threats, & attributes that info to you.

Philip Munger said...

I raised that issue with the ADN back in 2004, after the article came out. I've got the highest respect for George Bryson. H mis-transcribed what I told him. It should be clear from my written comments of April and May 2004, that he didn't base his written account based upon my written statements prior to his article.

Mel said...

I'll figure out how to cite a correction appropriately. Certainly you've documented the correct story here.

Meantime, happy to say I've found links to the three things you mentioned in the original post that would make the article more complete -- though I'm not sure the recording is of the London performance. (I found the Garageband website for Knik Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm looking forward to finally hearing the music myself!)

From a Wikipedia standpoint, the article needs some reorganization. Next coupla days. Best wishes to you.

Philip Munger said...

It is a recording of the November 1st 2005 performance. The quality isn't very good, as I had to sort of hide the recorder under my chair. We hadn't raised enough money to pay off the singers' union for a recording waiver fee.

Somebody podcast the performance from a cell phone onto a London web stream, but the people who did it have never gotten back to me. It's too bad, because people who heard that podcast said it was great sound quality.

My recorder was on the floor in the front row, under a hair, right under the chorus.

I guess there are a couple of other important issues having to do with the performance, particularly:

1) Deborah Fink's pivotal role

2) Demonstrations outside the concert, BBC's coverage of them, and BBC's subsequent written apology to Debbie and to JfJfP about their coverage's inaccuracy.

Mel said...

Thanks! I'll look into that too. I get pretty geeky about accuracy & completeness, & of course Wikipedias standards such as neutral POV, good documention, etc. so... it may take a few days, but it'll get done.

Meantime, I love the name Knik Philharmonic Orchestra, & also that it sounds like the Eklutna Philharmonic Orchestra (per the Garageband page).

Philip Munger said...


e-mail me and I can provide hyperlinks to a lot of stuff to help the article. my e-mail is attached to my complete profile at my blog.

kasa said...

Some IDF based users try to cut off the crucial info about the cantata and try to shape just as they like. So it became essential for me to create the article. I listened GarageBand site too, yet to publish info on wikipedia, first the copyright issues should be cleared on the works. But since you personally uploaded the recordings we can always link them. Doing work by yourself is time consuming, I tried to make a starting article extracted from my previous discussions on archived rachel corrie discussion pages so it still lacks info. By the way we improved Rachel Corrie article a great deal too so you may prefer to read it again. And a side note the translation you used for Moshe Nissim interview is originally belong to a Jewish Peace organisation called Gush-Shalom voice of palestine is just quoting from them. Maybe you shouldn't edit the article yourself, yet you can always write in discussion page any detail you need us to check or correct. I am sending a mail too.

Mel said...

He isn't editing the article himself. But I am. (yksin in article history -- I'm the person who left messages for you on your talk page.)

kasa said...

I know

kasa said...

I have no reply from Mel or You for long is there something wrong

I made some effort and create these pages

Can anyone help me out improving the articles or pinpoint any consistencies or missed points

Anonymous said...

Near 30 songs dedicated worldwide to Rachel Corrie