Dear Editor: Would you call Quebec a country?
A medical journal turned the Palestinian Authority into a country when it never was and still is not a country. On March 11, two days after I published a brief post about that, I sent an email to the journal editor with a copy to the corresponding author of the article.
Here is the letter.
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Dear Professor Leeson,
As a statistician and demographer, I have no doubt that you are a stickler for detail and accuracy. Therefore, it was with great surprise that I read in a recent article published in Population Horizons, that your journal turned a geographical entity into a country when it is not a country.
I am referring to the paper, “Ageing and health in the Arab region: Challenges, opportunities and the way forward”, in which the following appeared:
“Palestine” appears twelve times in this article, in the text and on figures and tables presenting hard data. However, it is not a country and has never been a country. Its proper name is The Palestinian Authority (PA) and it only became that with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Before that time, the term Palestine referred to a geographic region that was first a province of the Roman and Ottoman Empires and then a British mandatory territory, in all cases covering a lot more land area than currently under the auspices of the PA.
I have the feeling that, regardless of their separatist ambitions, you would not publish an article in your journal that called Quebec a country, nor Catalonia, nor any of the other numerous regions for which separatist groups are seeking sovereignty over their land.
Therefore, I do not understand why “Palestine” is offered sovereignty by your journal without waiting for the requisite diplomatic and international processes that accompany the formal recognition of new nations in every other case. I am curious about your thoughts on this.
cc: the corresponding author of the paper in question
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I received a response from the editor. He wrote that my comment has been noted. OK.