Talk:Death of Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb

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Biographical details of Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb[edit]

The deceased was not notable prior to his death. It is the event that is notable, not the deceased. Report the event, not the person WP:ONEVENT. WWGB (talk) 14:32, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure how the person's background is irrelevant here. It's part of the story of their death. What about the activities Hamza enjoyed (swimming, bird-watching) as explained in a newspaper article is off-topic here? Without the person underneath there is no death. Ocaasi c 01:47, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
The particular person Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb is not especially relevant here. It could have been any young person and the article would still have merit following the international reaction. It is the manner of the death, not the person, that is notable. It is why we have articles such as Murder of James Bulger but not about the person. What Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb did in his spare time has no relevance to this article. WWGB (talk) 02:38, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how the fact that it was a young person's brutal death which had an impact negates the fact that it was this young person's death. The convention to have an article about the death not the person does not mean no details about the person can be included. Why do you equate the two? What Hamza did in his spare time is the part of his life that is now gone. It's the only biographical details we have. I don't agree that it's not relevant to his death, as it is both what comprised his life as well as how he is now being remembered. I've seen at least 2 major newspaper articles which discuss his swimming and birdwatching. That's now part of his legacy if you want to contextualize it in his death. I'd rather see it as part of his life, but either way, it's part of this story. User:Ocaasi c 02:47, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
WWGB is entirely in the wrong here. The biographical details are important and relevant and this topic falls directly under the scope of WikiProject Biography. Viriditas (talk) 06:19, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
You are entitled to your opinion, but it is completely irrelevant that Hamza liked swimming and watching birds. That is the only "biographical detail" that I removed. WWGB (talk) 06:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
It is irrelevant outside of the context that it appears. It is relevant if we are talking about his life. You take a very hardline, fundamentalist position when it comes to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and that kind of inflexible approach isn't amenable to writing articles. Each article is judged by itself, on its own merits. Viriditas (talk) 06:39, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Hardline? Fundamentalist? Inflexible? Thanks for the unsought character analysis. You are so astute and perceptive ..... WWGB (talk) 08:56, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree completely with both Ocaasi and Viriditas. The article is about the boy's death (as opposed to a biography of the boy). That does not, however, preclude the inclusion of various biographical components within the article. The events of his death need to be placed in context in the article; certain biographical details of his life do just that. Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 15:03, 2 June 2011 (UTC))
Overview of the 'include' position

Brief biographical details which give readers a sense of the person who died are not irrelevant. In moderation they are part of a well developed article. This strict approach bears no fruit here; the article is already focused well enough on the death and sources are reporting on the person and how he is being remembered. I'll provide a list of sources which address his personal life. Then I intend to put the information back in once more. If you disagree and want to bring this to a venue for discussion, I will do that. Something like: Can "Death of" articles include general biographic details about a person's life, including information about their hobbies, passions, interests, etc. ?" User:Ocaasi c 15:12, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Articles for comparison


  • Hamza al-Khateeb used to love it when the rains came to his small corner of southern Syria, filling up the farmers' irrigation channels enough so that he and the other children could jump in and swim. But the drought of the last few years had left the 13-year-old without the fun of his favourite pool. Instead, he'd taken to raising homing pigeons, standing on the roof of his family's simple breeze-block home, craning his neck back to see the birds circling above the wide horizon of fields, where wheat and tomatoes were grown from the tough, scrubby soils. Though not from a wealthy family himself, Hamza was always aware of others less fortunate than himself, said a cousin who spoke to Al Jazeera. "He would often ask his parents for money to give to the poor. I remember once he wanted to give someone 100 Syrian Pounds ($2), and his family said it was too much. But Hamza said, 'I have a bed and food while that guy has nothing.' And so he persuaded his parents to give the poor man the 100."
  • The new face of the Syrian revolution is chubby, has a winning smile and belongs to a 13-year-old named Hamza al-Khatib... In the YouTube video[of a protest march following his death], a picture of Hamza is held above his coffin. It shows his angelic grin and thick head of black hair. He is dressed in a polo shirt. Below the gold-framed photo lies his body.

The point is that this death had the impact that it did because it was not just anyone, but a young person, a child, who loved swimming and birds and was chubby. Those details are relevant to his life, but also to the innocence that has made his apparent torture that much more shocking. These details may seem trivial but they are not irrelevant. User:Ocaasi c 15:12, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree with all of the arguments (above) made by Ocaasi. Hence, there is no point in my repeating them. Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 15:25, 2 June 2011 (UTC))

Basis for Age[edit]

(being time between birth date (unknown) and death date (unknown)) --AdamakaCausticLogic (talk) 02:02, 1 May 2016 (UTC) Everyone says 13, except the coroner, who said between 10 and 20 ("in his second decade," so between 10 and 20, not "his twenties.") Visibly, the dead Hamza appears adult-sized, I'd guess 17-19. I always wondered what was his birthdate then, or year at least. This Wikipedia page is the first place I've seen specifying a birth date, and October 24, 1997 would make him 13. But the source is not cited and frankly, I doubt it's accurate. Does anyone know what that's based on? Also, his death date here is unsupported and seems wrong. Died May 25? He's turning black with decay, been dead days at least, maybe weeks with good refrigeration (no expert). And al-Jazeera reported his body was returned to family May 24, but Wikipedia says he died the next day? I'd say death date unknown, anywhere between April 29 and May ... 21? --AdamakaCausticLogic (talk) 08:07, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

To amend, on closer look, I'd say 15-18, and I wouldn't rule out an unusually large 13. but the point remains, how do we know his birthday? --AdamakaCausticLogic (talk) 12:40, 26 April 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I noticed at this Zaman al-Wasl posting of Hamza's and Thamer's morgue photos (warning, graphic), there's a gravestone with readable dates. May not be trustworthy either but that seems to be his name in green, and below it says: he died 2011/5/25 - or at least that's the second (burial?) date. Birth date: different than here - May 9, 1998. By this, he was 12 when arrested, and might have died before reaching 13. I'm not trusting this either, but at least it's a source. (to translate the numbers, see Eastern Arabic numerals. Also, I started off-base. He's not blackening, nor bloated in the photos, he was just that plump. Dark and bloated would be maybe as seen in the video from May 24/25, after return, poor quality and I haven't reviewed them closely. This would be the morgue photo, by the Syrian official story taken the night of the 29th. Facial blackness is odd for someone so freshly dead - bruises, blood and (??). Next I might compare this to his video appearance and consider the time lapse. So far I suspect they were correct he died on April 29th, before he was ever "arrested" that night as unidentified body #23. --AdamakaCausticLogic (talk) 06:41, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
Updates: birthdate would be May 6 - it looked like a 9 at first. The boy has no body hair, so 13 or so is probably right. Death date is the issue of contention. Most say late May, right before handover, but April 29, right before alleged arrest, seems more likely. Only honest way is to have a range, I guess April 29-May 24. And the only credible birth date says he'd be 12 or 13 when he died, unknown. Not sure if this is too "original research" to just change it... --AdamakaCausticLogic (talk) 02:02, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

Facebook in External links[edit]

The facebook site We are all Hamza Ali al-Khateeb is specifically mentioned by several RS as part of the noteworthy public outrage and activism which followed his death. To me that makes them appropriate as ELs. If you want to stick to that strict reading, I'd like to list the websites in the text, just the url without a hyperlink. User:Ocaasi c 02:47, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Added as reference. WWGB (talk) 02:57, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Father's arrest[edit]

Apparently the boy's father was arrested after his body was returned to his family. Is there any official word on why? I inferred that it was for making and releasing the videotape. Has anybody found a source that links the reason for his arrest to Hamza's death? Has anyone come across any information on the father's release? Abrazame (talk) 20:53, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Detained on Sunday. SANA reports he met with Assad on Tuesday, but who knows if that's accurate. They did question him for releasing the video, but I think that's past now and there's too much attention for more trouble (I hope). Those links basically say that in a few different ways. I haven't seen specific updates since the SANA article yesterday. User:Ocaasi c 21:30, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Articles and updates[edit]

Alternative account of the incident[edit]

I have been informed by a Syrian dissident that the story may not have developed the way this article makes it out to be. While I understand that original research is not considered a credible source for Wikipedia, at least it would be fair to provide the alternative account which is recounted by the the official Syrian news agency, SANA ([1]).

On a personal note, I loath the current regime as much as any other person but even in a revolution, the truth still matters, doesn't it. - Bob K | Talk 15:19, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

I find the following article more plausible than this wikipedia entry - which should be removed - use the google translation feature:

Close paraphrasing[edit]

I have received some criticism that articles I recently wrote were too closely paraphrased from reliable sources. I am tagging the page so others can review the text and we can work on improving any instances of close paraphrasing. Ocaasi t | c 14:11, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

This article is ridiculous[edit]

There was suggestion that the boy had been tortured and mutilated, sure, however the autopsy as well as the official findings indicate that his death was due to gunshot wounds. They also emphasised that the supposed mutilation of the body was a result of a natural decomposition process.

Given this, why does this article continue to press on the initial accusation of torture and mutilation? STEVENJ0HNS 1 (talk) 04:59, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Well find sources and then the article can be modified. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 06:07, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Sources attached: This story is consistent and does match - the Wikipedia article in current form is not plausible any more !

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