SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A recent dust-up between Wikipedia and Canada’s largest university raises questions about how collaborative the popular website that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” truly is.
The online information portal recently took a professor from the University of Toronto to task for one of his classroom assignments.
Steve Joordens urged the 1,900 students in his introductory psychology class to start adding content to relevant Wikipedia pages. The assignment was voluntary, and Joordens hoped the process would both enhance Wikipedia’s body of work on psychology while teaching students about the scientist’s responsibility to share knowledge.
But Joordens’s plan backfired when the relatively small contingent of volunteer editors that curate the website’s content began sounding alarm bells. They raised concerns about the sheer number of contributions pouring in from people who were not necessarily well-versed in the topic or adept at citing their research.
Discussions in the Wikipedia community became very heated with allegations that articles were being updated with erroneous or plagiarized information. Some community members called for widespread bans on university IP addresses and decried the professor’s assignment as a needless burden on the community.
Joordens issued a statement defending his students, saying only 33 of the 910 articles edited were tagged for potential problems.
But he also acknowledged that he did not understand the limited scope of the Wikipedia editorial community, which boasts a few thousand members compared to the more than 488 million people that visit the site every month.
“I assumed that the current core of editors was extremely large and that the introduction of up to 1000 new editors would be seen as a positive,” Joordens said.
“However, the current core of editors turns out NOT to be that large, and even if my students were bringing signal along with noise, the noise was just too much to deal with on the scale it was happening.”
Joordens said the Wikipedia community became “annoyed and frustrated,” adding that things became heated to a point he found “somewhat ridiculous.”
The animated discussion that’s ensued from the incident highlights both the pros and cons of using social media in the classroom, experts said.
Sidneyeve Matrix, media professor at Queen’s University, said crowdsourcing platforms like Wikipedia offer unparalleled opportunities for students to engage with their topics of study and to feel they’re actively involved in the learning process.
But collaborative projects can’t survive without leadership, she said, adding the zealous editors at Wikipedia have an important role to play as gatekeepers. This case, she said, exposes the difficult balancing act at play.
“I thought it was a lot more open than it is, but at the same time I’m seeing that more and more teachers are using it in their classrooms,” she said. “The authenticity and verifiability of the information on the site has been improving, and that doesn’t happen from the magic fairy. It happens from dedicated folks who are behind the scenes.”
Jay Walsh, spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation that operates Wikipedia, said the online encyclopedia is working to carve out its niche in the classroom.
The website has established a pilot project that works closely with both teachers and students, he said, adding Joordens had some preliminary discussions with the company before carrying out his own plan.
He described the professor’s approach as “experimental,” emphasizing that editors need to follow certain protocols when contributing to articles. The strong reactions and speedy response of the Wikipedia community, he said, is the very mechanism that makes the site attractive to educators.
“This response is pretty high-value within the Wikipedia community,” he said. “It’s conceivable for someone to interpret that response as being too fast or not giving us a chance, but in this case there seems to be an openness towards figuring out ways to make this kind of an initiative work.”
Joordens agreed, saying he will limit the number of students who take on such voluntary assignments in the future and make sure they’re up to speed with the site’s editing practices. In turn, he called for Wikipedia members to back down from their hardline position on fledgling contributors.
“Now that at least some members of the Wikipedia community are putting down their digital pitchforks, it is becoming more and more obvious to me that we all share the same goal of improving the quality and quantity of information on Wikipedia,” he said. “If we could find ways of working together while also being respectful of one another, we could really do some great things.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: The globe and Mail
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An Air Canada flight with 24 passengers on board was forced to circle in the air for over an hour after one of its engines failed en route to Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto.
Rescue crews faced a tense scene shortly after 4 p.m. as the plane coasted safely onto the Toronto runway with only one propeller spinning.
“It appears that the plane has landed safely, that the emergency procedures that we had put into place were not needed, and that everything went as planned,” Peel police spokesman Thomas Ruttan told CP24.
Everyone on board was safe, Ruttan said.
The plane had apparently suffered hydraulic issues, which appear to be related to the engine malfunction.
The Air Canada Express flight reportedly left from Moncton earlier on Wednesday.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – About one thousand people packed into a downtown Toronto cathedral Sunday to hear Thomas Cardinal Collins hold his last mass on Sunday, before heading to Rome to begin preparations for the historical process of choosing a new pope.
The dark wooden pews of St. Michael’s Cathedral were filled with people of all ages, and both parishioners and media gathered near the doorways of the downtown church.
The Archbishop of Toronto — one of three Canadian Cardinals who will help elect the next pontiff — said it was too early to know what traits will be key to become the successor of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to step down in almost 600 years.
Obviously, we want a holy person
“Before I’m kind of locking in and casting in stone what I think of are the traits that are essential in the next pope, I want to listen, and reflect upon that,” he told reporters after Sunday’s mass. “Obviously, we want a holy person … and there are many, many possibilities there. But the question is, which one for now? Which one is the one that we choose to be Pope for this situation in the Church?”
Cardinal Collins and his peers from around the world are heading to Vatican City to begin what he called the “awesome process” of choosing the new leader of the Catholic Church, after Pope Benedict’s resignation for health reasons.
“It is an astonishing experience…. To be in the conclave, I am overwhelmed by it,” Cardinal Collins said Sunday.
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On Wednesday, the cardinals will be present at Pope Benedict’s last general audience in Rome.
Thursday marks the last day of Pope Benedict’s papacy. On that day, he will meet with all the cardinals and at 8 p.m., he will cease to be the head of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict will then retire to the gardens of the Vatican for a life of retirement and prayer.
The cardinals will also meet to decide when the conclave — where Cardinal Collins and 115 of his peers will choose the next pope — will be held. It is typically held 15 days after the seat becomes vacant, but that much time may not be required in this case, said Cardinal Collins.
The cardinals will also discuss the respective issues they face in their regions, and the future direction of the Church.
“I think we will be looking at the challenges for the next pope when we get together,” Cardinal Collins said. “I think they differ from place to place. Persecution in some places, rampant individualism in other places, like around this part of the world…. I think it’s quite a range.”
One parishioner at Sunday’s mass, Gerard MacNeil, said the biggest challenge for the incoming Pope will be to “rebuild the identity of the church” given the negative headlines involving the Catholic Church in recent years.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things, to rebuild the confidence of the people around the world in the Church,” said Mr. MacNeil, a retired principal from Toronto.
He also said he believed it took a lot of “courage” for Pope Benedict to resign.
“I think he’s ultimately looking out for the betterment of the Church, and I think he feels that he can continue to contribute through a life of prayer and turn, as it were, the reins over to another generation.”
Cardinal Collins said, unlike what happened in past conclaves, there is no clear front-runner to become the head of the Catholic Church.
Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has become one of the most talked about candidates to replace Pope Benedict as leader of the world’s one-billion Catholics. Cardinal Collins says he himself is not interested in taking on the role, but some churchgoers hope for a local Canadian pope.
“In my heart, I hope it is him,” said Maria Garcia, after Sunday’s mass. “He’s a good one…. Charismatic, knowledgeable.”
However, Cardinal Collins said the origin of the pope has little bearing.
“The pope is beyond any particular country…. Whatever country the pope is from will probably be very happy about it.”-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Canada's largest city of Toronto will welcome the first-ever Muslim track and field competition this year.
"The competition will be open to youths, 10 to 20 years old, both boys and girls and will be at the Toronto Track and Field Center which is at York University," Riyad Khan, a founder of Leading Out Loud (LOL) Inc., which is organizing the event, told OnIslam.net.
"It will be a day filled with fun, sports and unity."
Set to open in May, the Muslim Track and Field Championships 2013 will include a variety of competitions, including running events, pit events, shot put and high jump.Canada Muslims Urged to Contribute
"We are going to be a sanctioned event through Athletics Ontario, so it can count as a preliminary event to go onto further competition," Khan said, referring to the sport governing body for athletics for the province of Ontario.
"So if anyone comes and breaks a provincial record, those times will be official."
LOL Enterprises was recently formed by Khan and Bilal Qureshi, teachers at the Islamic Foundation School in suburban Toronto.
LOL aims to provide unique opportunities for Muslim youth and young people in general within the Greater Toronto Area.
"Myself and Bilal from the Islamic Foundation School (IFS) have had this idea for sometime and we have a core group of students who graduated from IFS who wanted to do more for the community," Khan said.
Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing
Track and field events are generally individual sports with athletes challenging each other to decide a single victor.
The racing events are won by the athlete with the fastest time, while the jumping and throwing events are won by the athlete who has achieved the greatest distance or height in the contest.
Track and field in the United States and Canada tends to refer to all athletics events, including racewalking, marathon and cross-country running.
Organizers have urged Muslim youths to join in the ground-breaking event and 'Be Orange with us.'
"What does it mean to Be Orange?" asks the organizers on their website.
"The color orange embodies many of the core values of our organization. It has been associated with traits of warmth, energy and ambition.”
The founders are hoping to expand their offerings in the near future.
"We are starting with one competition but we are not restricted to athletics,” said Khan.
"We want to do other things in the future, such as leadership conferences.
"At the school we take our students to events, such as the Ontario Student Leadership conference or interfaith events or Me to We, on a yearly basis and we are the only Islamic school there,” he added.
"So we would like to do something like these so we can get more Muslims on board."
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.- www.shfaqna.com/English
Sourcie: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau told an Islamic conference Saturday that groups who attacked his decision to attend the gathering only work to divide Canadians.
Mr. Trudeau told a crowd of thousands at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto that his critics attempted to tap into “fears and prejudices” that sap the acceptance of others.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Graduate Student Union (GSU) at the University of Toronto has joined the international campaign to boycott Zionist regime’s products in protest to Tel Aviv’s apartheid.
According to Press TV, the GSU issued a statement on December 10 saying that 97 % percent of its members voted for boycotting products from illegal Zionist settlements built on occupied lands in a bid to end the complicity of the Canadian university in the violation of Palestinian rights.
The statement also said that “this (boycott) includes any company that profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land such as BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard.”
According to reports, graduate student unions at other Canadian universities including York University, University of Regina and Carleton University in Ottawa also joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which started on July 9, 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations to protest Zionist regime’s illegal settlement in the Palestinian territories.
Zionist settlements are considered illegal by the UN and many countries, since those Palestinian territories were captured by Zionist regime in the 1967 war, and are therefore subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.
A number of industries have sprung up in illegal Zionist settlements, with a range of products, including cosmetics, beverages and plastics. - www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - A woman was killed by flying debris in Toronto Monday night as officials warned Canadians to prepare themselves for wetter and windier weather due to the remnants of post-tropical cyclone Sandy.
Police confirmed the unidentified woman was struck by an airborne sign at a parking lot near Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue at about 7:20 p.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The sign broke loose from a Staples store amid strong winds estimated to be about 65 km/h.
The effects of Sandy extend over 1,000 kilometres, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre, with southern Ontario and Quebec experiencing high wind gusts and periods of heavy rain on Monday night.
Forecasters are predicting that winds could climb beyond 100 km/h overnight into Tuesday and officials are urging those in the storm's path to be prepared to last 72 hours without power. Some areas of the country could see more than 50 millimetres of rain.
The storm could spawn the most widespread weather emergency since the ice storm of 1998, according to the Canadian Red Cross.
The agency has 550 volunteers on standby in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, said John Byrne, director general of disaster management for the Red Cross.
Forecasters were predicting that residents in central and eastern Canada would wake up to intense weather Tuesday morning. Southern Ontario and Quebec are expected to see the strongest winds and between 30 to 50 mm of rain, while the Atlantic provinces will see weaker winds but a lot more rain — up to 100 mm.
The storm is moving up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, and made landfall in southern New Jersey around 8 p.m. It has already caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights to and from Eastern Canada. At Toronto's Pearson International Airport, one-quarter of all departing flights were cancelled.
Wind warnings were posted by Environment Canada covering much of southern Ontario, along with parts of Eastern Ontario and western Quebec along the St. Lawrence River.
Storm surge warnings were also issued for Quebec, near the mouth of the St. Lawrence and the Gaspé Peninsula.
Parts of Ontario and western Quebec might even see snow Tuesday.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre says parts of southern Ontario should brace for 90 km/h winds or higher, especially along western Lake Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Ornge air ambulances were grounded Monday due to the weather.
CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said the southern shores of the Great Lakes will see the risk of pounding waves and some shoreline flooding.
"If you're in the Niagara Region [or] if you're south of [Lake] Huron towards Sarnia, northerly winds will be piling that water up on shore," Scotland said. "Avoid being near the shore. The waves are fun to look at, but you'll be doing a dangerous thing to take in those sights."
Strong winds with gusts exceeding 90 km/h could also batter parts of Quebec. The force of the winds could uproot trees, said Environment Canada meteorologist Etienne Gregoire.
Gusts up to 80 km/h are expected along coastal areas of southwestern Nova Scotia, with slightly lower winds expected farther to the north and east, the weather agency said. Other Atlantic provinces will also experience some rainfall and strong winds, as well as large waves and pounding surf.
"We have forecast offshore winds to reach probably 120 km/h … and seas will be building west of Nova Scotia, in the Gulf of Maine and at the mouth also of the Bay of Fundy," said forecaster Jean-Marc Couturier at the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
"We would be expecting probably wave heights to reach five [to] six metres in that area."
Southwestern New Brunswick should expect up to 40 mm of rain tomorrow and up to 80 mm over the next couple of days, Couturier said.
What makes Sandy different from other storms is its sheer size.
"Usually a tropical storm system is a bit more compact than this and it doesn't affect quite as large an area," said Canadian Hurricane Centre spokesman Bob Robichaud.
"This particular system is going to affect everywhere from southern Ontario, even into northern Ontario, and all the way to the Maritimes."
The Canadian Red Cross issued a statement Sunday urging people to prepare for the storm by stocking a number of supplies including water, food, flashlights and a first aid kit. Sandy could down trees and power lines and cause flooding, the organization said.
"Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours in an emergency,” Mike Morton, the Canadian Red Cross director of disaster management in Ontario, said in a release. "By taking some time now to store emergency food, water and other supplies, you can provide for your entire family during a power outage or evacuation."
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews issued a statement saying the federal government is monitoring Sandy through the Government Operations Centre and the Canadian Hurricane Centre. He said Public Safety Canada is working closely with provincial agencies and urged those in potentially affected areas to check the website getprepared.gc.ca and have an emergency plan in place.
“We have taken precautionary steps to ensure that the federal government can aid the provinces affected, should the need arise. The Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard are standing by ready to assist, Health Canada is conducting generator checks and has reviewed the National Emergency Stockpile and the Government Operations Centre is working around the clock to ensure all necessary assets are in place."
People living in the affected areas are also being asked to refrain from storing anything that could become airborne outside of their homes.
Emergency Management Ontario said objects that can be blown away, such as garbage lids, outdoor furniture and Halloween decorations, should be brought inside or secured.
"Our primary goal at this point is to make sure that everybody understands that this is going to be a serious storm and that they have a part to play, so they need to be thinking about making sure that anything that's outside is secured or taken in," said Allison Stuart, the chief of Emergency Management Ontario.
Porter Airlines said it has cancelled all of its Toronto flights until noon Tuesday. Air Canada and WestJet have issued statements warning that flights to and from the U.S. northeast have been or will likely be cancelled in the coming days. Passengers are advised to check the status of all flights.
Almost 30,000 homes were without power in Ontario Monday night at around 9 p.m., according to Hydro One. Communities that faced outages included Chatham, Walkerton, Bracebridge and Huntsville. About 6,000 hydro customers in Toronto also lost power.
One crew member of the Nova Scotia-built replica vessel HMS Bounty is still missing after the crew abandoned ship off the coast of North Carolina in high seas brought on by Hurricane Sandy. Fourteen people were rescued and a woman was pulled unresponsive from the ocean. She has since been pronounced dead.
Fredericton's Emergency Measures Organization advised residents to keep catch basins near their homes clear of leaves and other debris to prevent localized flooding.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A single mother from Toronto was reported missing just days before parts of her body were found in two separate cities, police said Tuesday.
Peel Regional Police say that DNA testing has confirmed that the body parts found in Mississauga and Toronto in recent days belong to Hua Guang Liu, 41, of Scarborough.
Insp. George Koekkoek told reporters Tuesday that Liu was last seen alive on Aug. 10 and was reported missing the following day by friends. Her foot was found in the Credit River on Aug. 15.
Liu, a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, was a single mother of three.
Koekkoek said Liu was the owner of spa on Eglinton Avenue in Scarborough.
He said police have executed search warrants in their investigation, including at a motel in Scarborough.
"We are working on suspect information," he said.
Police are treating Liu's death as a homicide.
"We have no reason to believe that this is anything other than an isolated case and that's the focus of our investigation thus far," Koekkoek said. "We're satisfied to this stage that there's no threat or danger to the public safety. If we have information to the contrary we'll be the first to advise."
Police seek video from outside spa
The spa that Liu operated was known as Forget Me Not.
Helen Savo-Sardaro, the building manager for the complex where the spa was located on Eglinton Avenue, told CBC News that police told her that Liu left the spa at 5:30 p.m. on the day she disappeared.
Savo-Sardaro was also a client at the spa. She said Liu ran a legitimate business and was very professional.
Imran Bachcha, a pharmacist who works next door to the spa, said police have requested access to the video recorded by on-site security cameras.
Bachcha told CBC News that police were interested whether the cameras covered the exterior of the pharmacy.
They told him they were "doing some major investigations regarding that missing woman."
A few doors down, Jong Soon Suh became tearful over the news about Liu's death.
"It's a nightmare," said Suh, who has owned a dry cleaning business in the complex for nearly 18 years. "It's very sad. She was the mother of three children."
Suh said a Caucasian man came into her store last week with a missing poster of Liu. He was visibly upset and said that Liu was his girlfriend.
She said the spa had been owned by a married couple for the past few years until they sold it to Liu in May so they could go back to China. Suh said the new owner mostly kept to herself.
Friends said Liu was planning to sell the spa after only a few months in business and, the evening she went missing, was scheduled to meet a prospective buyer, CBC's Jeff Semple reported.
CBC News has also learned that police are investigating whether a suitcase of clothing found in Toronto on Monday has any connection to the case.
The suitcase was found just two blocks from where some of Liu's remains were found.
Investigation launched after foot found
The investigation that led to Liu’s identification began when her foot was found in the Credit River in Mississauga's Hewick Meadows Park last Wednesday. Other body parts were found nearby, about 45 kilometres west of where she lived in east-end Toronto.
Savo-Sardaro said she knew who the victim was when police revealed details about what they had found.
"As soon as I heard it was yellow toenails, I knew it was her," she said.
On the weekend, Toronto police were alerted to the discovery of body parts on back-to-back days in the West Highland Creek, just blocks away from Liu's home.
Forensic tests have determined all of the body parts belonged to Liu, but police still do not know how she died. They estimate the body parts had been in the water between five to seven days.
Police have finished searching the park in Mississauga, and Toronto police were expected to wrap up their creek search on Tuesday.
After Liu was reported missing, Toronto police issued a news release with her description on Aug. 14.
She was described as being 5-1", weighing 108 pounds and having "thin eyebrows that are tattooed and long, straight auburn/brown hair."
Peel police are asking for anyone with information on Liu, her activities or movements in the days leading up to her death to call them.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Toronto police have found what they believe to be a body part in Scarborough that may have links to human remains found in Mississauga.
Police received a call just after 1 p.m. Saturday after a suspected body part was discovered near Kennedy Rd. and Bonis Ave., north of Sheppard Ave E., said Staff Sgt. Keith Smith.
While police believe it is a body part, it’s not yet confirmed that the remains are human, he said.
Peel Regional Police said their homicide and missing persons bureau was contacted by Toronto police about a “suspicious” discovery. However, it is not yet clear if the discovery is connected to the body parts investigation in Mississauga, where a human foot, head and hands were found in and around the Credit River.
More than half a dozen police cars blocked off Kennedy Rd. and Cardwell Ave. Saturday as officers scoured the banks of a creek that flows under Cardwell Ave. The forensic identification unit, marine unit and the coroner were at the scene and access to the creek on the south side of Cardwell was also closed off.
Cameron Janes said he came across the remains when he was looking for golf balls along the edge of the creek. When he noticed bones sticking out, he took two pictures with his cellphone and rushed up the bank to call 911.
“The smell was unbelievable and there were flies all over it,” said Janes.
“It just looked like it had been cut with a hacksaw.”
Janes found what he thinks is a part of a human leg about 1.5 metres in front of where the creek runs under Cardwell Ave.
It was found on a rock at the edge of the creek, he said.
“The stains on the rocks just made it look like it had been there a while,” said Janes.
Police came immediately and taped off the area, he said.
At about 7:45 p.m., police set up floodlights on Cardwell over the small ravine where Janes made his gruesome discovery. More lights were hooked up down along the creekbed.
West Highland Creek flows through the small wooded area from the nearby Tam O’Shanter golf course.
On Saturday afternoon, an evidence marker sat beside what appeared to be a baseball-sized chunk of bone uphill from where Janes made his discovery, behind a row of townhouses.
Residents wandered over to the edge of the police tape to see what was going on.
“I can’t believe this, things like this never used to happen,” said one man.
Elizabeth Kinsman, general manager of the condo complex that backs onto the creek, said she hasn’t heard of anything strange occurring in the area.
“I think they’re more curious than anything,” said Kinsman. “This is a really quiet neighbourhood . . . I think people are more surprised than anything.”
Police stopped the search after dark Saturday but kept the area cordoned off and officers and forensics remained on scene. Police said they would continue the investigation at daylight Sunday.
Toronto police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond said Saturday night that police were waiting for results from the coroner and would provide more information as it became available.
“It’s unreal when it happens in your backyard,” said Eddie Muise, who lives nearby. “I walk by here at all times of night.”
“I just hope they come to some solution, all of us will be happier then,” he added.
In Mississauga, Peel police are still combing the area along the Credit River after several body parts were found in the last few days.
“Our priority is still to ID the victim, and from there we can continue with this investigation,” said Peel police Const. George Tudos. “But we are looking at all missing persons cases within our jurisdiction and within others too.”
Police are continuing to search for other body parts in Hewick Meadows Park, with ground crews, a marine unit, and cadaver dogs on scene. Tudos said police have expanded the proximity of the search as a result of the recent discovery, but not by much.
“This is a very large area here and we’re not going to jump around from area to area depending on what gets found,” he said. There is no time frame for when police will end the search.
A right foot was found by hikers in the park on Wednesday and police found a severed head Thursday. On Friday, two hands were found in the river.
Investigators believe the remains are female because the foot had yellow painted toes. Police said the body parts have been in the water for some time, and are heavily decomposed. As a result the person’s age and ethnicity aren’t clear.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Darren Joblonkay was digging at an archeological camp in southeastern Turkey when he spotted a lock of curly hair carved in stone.
“At first, we weren’t 100 per cent sure what it was,” said Joblonkay, a 23-year-old University of Toronto graduate student.
He didn’t want to get too excited yet.
Then, there was a shoulder, an arm and a wrist adorned by a bracelet with two lions.
Word spread quickly at the site. Soon, there was a large crowd.
The student had found a king.
A colossal 3,000-year-old statue of King Suppiluliuma lay face down, eyes wide open, curly beard in the dirt, the tale of his reign carved into his back.
Joblonkay couldn’t believe his luck.
This was the third of his four major archeological finds. All hail from a 10-by-10-metre square bordered by two temples excavated in the 1930s and in 2008. They expected a courtyard, but it’s an archeological treasure chest.
“He’s very lucky,” said Tim Harrison, professor of near eastern archeology at the U of T and director of the Tayinat Archeological Project.
It took two weeks and a team of more than 60 field workers to unearth the two-tonne statue of the man who reigned over the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Patina in the 9th century B.C.
It is a massive monument.
The head and torso are intact and measure about 1.5 metres in length, suggesting the statue’s full size was close to 4 metres, said Harrison. It’s about a metre wide. They’ve found fragments of the bottom half but have not excavated it fully yet. The king’s big eyes, made of white and black stone, are beautifully preserved, said Harrison.
There was no guessing who the king was: “I am Suppiluliuma,” reads the inscription on his back. It is followed by a list of his accomplishments: taking land from eight neighbouring kingdoms, establishing a border, and building a monument to his father, said Harrison.
Joblonkay wants to know how the statue was knocked down, why it is there at all. Is there evidence of an internal conflict? Did trouble come from outside the kingdom, beyond the borders?
These are difficult questions to answer, said Joblonkay, who decided he wanted to pursue archeology after his first undergraduate year at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.
Though he is looking forward to starting his PhD this fall, and to having a real shower, Joblonkay said he’s “sad to be leaving the statue, sad to be leaving the site.” Joblonkay leaves Turkey Sunday.
He said he’ll return next summer to uncover the mystery of how the statue of the king was toppled, the big eyes staring at dirt for so long.—www.shafaqna.com/english