Saturday, August 27, 2005

Updates On Webster

So ladies and gentlemen, after spending A LOT of time checking on latest news concerning the Webster Dictionary Issue and making sure they are accurate, it’s time for a “ progress report” :)

After reading my blog, Mr. Nadim Abuljobain supported me every step of the way. He kept me updated with the latest news and contacted Mrs. Rania who was the intermediate between us and the Anti Discrimination Committee(ADC). Thanks to her, we knew that ADC actually tackled this issue in 2002, and Webster informed them that they could do nothing about the already printed copies, but assured ADC that all new editions will have the edited definitions.
It’s to be mentioned that the ADC became aware of the “anti-Semitism” definition through Dan Walsh, a political consultant, who first questioned the definition with Merriam-Webster in 2001. Merriam-Webster spokesman Arthur Bicknell replied to him by saying that the company has no plans to immediately change the definition, but because the definition no longer reflects current usage, "it is likely that [it] will be changed or eliminated" in the dictionary's fourth edition, which will be published in seven to 10 years.
Hussein Ibish, director of communications for the ADC, called Merriam-Webster's response " totally unacceptable. . . . It's not good enough to say in 10 years' time they'll deal with it." Source: Rense.

And since the definition remained unedited the ADC filed a complaint in March, 2004 requesting an immediate action. Media Coverage of ADC's Merriam-Webster's Campaign.
And the followup on the Updated News of the same year.

Latest Updates: August 2005
August 7th, I wrote about the issue, and some bloggers showed great support and spread the word: Subzero Blue, And Far Away, MFLS, Earth To Omar, and Bashir.
I Also found An open letter to Webster by Peter Ryan.

August 14th, two Jordanians: Zarqa University President and president of the Professional Associations Council protested to Merriam-Webster over entries for “anti-Semitism” and “arab.” The Jordan Times.
Following that, August 15th, Jordan Unions called for boycott of Webster Dictionaries(it’s mentioned that bloggers were the ones to draw attention :)).

Webster issued an apology letter concerning both definitions (Arab & Anti-Semitism), the letter reads: “We apologize for any unintended offense caused by these entries... Please be assured that we will continue in the constant process of reviewing the accuracy and currency of the entries in all our books, and we will make appropriate changes when we prepare new editions of those books..” -Kory Stamper, Associate Editor, Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Also a Statement from Merriam-Webster, Inc. explaining the whole misunderstanding was published. (I’ve read this statement a while ago since it was first sent to WATA and they were great enough to give me a copy).

In August 22nd, news were published about Definitions being pulled. (also on ADC).

I would like to thank all those who helped me and supported me, and I would like to thank all those who took action in defending our identity and origins.
And last but not least, I thank Webster for caring about their reputation in the Arab World and for showing cooperation and understanding towards our requests.