Truth and Defamation

I created this blog to record the experiences of the Peace Corps volunteers of my generation who served in Morocco. To my great surprise, the post most read and commented on is Defamation. I wrote that post almost by accident. Early on, when writing about Fes, I came across a piece on the Internet that linked the color of the Shriners ceremonial hats with a purported massacre of Christians in Fes.

A screenshot of a recent television appeal for donations for sick children.

I had worked in Fes and read some Moroccan history, but I had never read about a massacre of Christians. Many things in the article made me question its veracity, beginning with the size of the massacre. In further research, I found no mention of the event in any standard historical text.

I wrote a response to what I thought was a falsehood, challenging the facts as presented and suggesting that the author had no justification for his claims. Today, several years later, no one, neither the original author nor anyone who has commented on my post, has yet produced any evidence whatsoever that the purported massacre took place. I characterize the article as defamatory. Unfortunately, it remains available and continues to be read. The internet is a wonderful source of misinformation.

I am neither a Muslim nor a Shriner (a charitable and fraternal organization connected to the Masons.) I believe in examining historical evidence before committing it to print. I also believe that no one should publish misinformation on the Internet where it may be accepted as authoritative simply because it has been written and circulates. I am a Christian, too, and Christianity, like other monotheistic religions, teaches that lying is a sin.

A large part of the battle between good and evil in today’s world involves curbing the spread of false and misleading information. I never imagined when I wrote my post that it would become the most read article on my blog. For me, it’s a very small part of the ongoing war on lies and bigotry, and I am happy that so many have visited my blog and read it. If only more of my blog posts were as interesting or relevant!

Kids get some sun in an historic medrasa in Fes.
Photo by Gaylord Barr: 1969-1970

Author: Dave

Retired. Formerly school librarian, social studies teacher, and urban planner.

One thought on “Truth and Defamation”

  1. An appropriate comment, and good advice, indeed. My co-blogger, Jim feels the same way. I couldn’t resist, however, since so many visitors have found that post. I really wasn’t interested in an argument, and if I receive any comments that are argumentative (and lack real facts), I won’t permit them to be posted.

    People finally got out in Boxing Day, more celebrated in Canada than here, but most were searching for food, not bargains. Western New York had a terrifying snow storm and, despite considerable preparation, 40 or more people died, trapped in cars, frozen in their tracks by the blizzard when recorded wind gusts reached 149 km per hour, or trapped in their homes without electricity, heat, or needed medicines. Our little corner of Niagara County got the winds but little snow, but the airport in Buffalo was closed for multiple days and the traffic ban in Buffalo was only ended at midnight last night. The storm began last Friday!

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