As part of my quest to not be complicit with the Dubai government’s cover up of Laura’s death and to keep her story alive I added Laura’s suicide to the Burj Khalifa’s Wikipedia page when I was in Dubai in March 2015, using the name of the director of the Burj Dubai police station as a reference, but it was deleted by the Emir of Wikipedia after my reference to the Daily Mail article, which I had also inserted.
After the deletion I found this on Talk: Burj Khalifa – Wikipedia, where members objected to the deletion.
“When you followed the advice of the BRD essay, you overlooked, or didn’t check, to see whether other papers, like The News (au) largely confirmed the Daily Mail version, AND DISCOUNTED THE VERSIONS OF LOCAL PAPERS, AS BEING INFLUENCED BY POLITICAL PRESSURE FROM LOCAL READERS. Even if, for the sake of argument, a reliable blue ribbon panel were to confirm the Gulf News version, I still think it was a mistake to excise the paragraph. If our readers read that Laura jumped from the Burj, but can’t find any coverage of it in our article, they would be correct to be let down. Balanced coverage would say International papers reported that she jumped, and that her mother reported being shown the security camera video, and the gap in the observation deck windows that allowed her to squeeze through, but that local papers denied the report. Verifiability, not truth. You made up your own mind what happened. I made up my own mind what happened. Our readers are entitled to make up their own minds what happened — not have you excise a perfectly good paragraph, because you want to make up their minds for them.
If you now think you were overly hasty to cut the paragraph, can we count on you to restore it?’
The Burj Khalifa Wikepedia page became semi-protected which prevented me from adding new information to fatalities at the Burj Khalifa.
It took another two years, and with the help of investigative journalist, Mark Saunokonoko of 9news.com.au, the irrefutable truth with more concrete evidence brought to light, and the lies of the government of Dubai, exposed. It gave me some closure, and I will always thank the three journalists that didn’t want Laura to be forgotten; Will Jordan of Al Jazeera, Rod Davies of the Daily Mail, and Mark Saunokonoko of 9new.com.au. I will always be so grateful to them for their sensitivity and kindness towards Laura and me.
From the article by Mark Saunokonoko. “The Internet is censored inside the UAE. News that could reflect poorly on the country or important people, including the ruling royal family, is blocked. There is a brief entry about Laura’s suicide on the Wikipedia page of the Burj Khalifa. Leona has attempted to add more detail about Laura’s death, but it has been edited out several times by a user named Emir of Wikipedia. Activity logs show the Emir of Wikipedia has a dedicated interest in editing the Wikipedia pages of Dubai’s elite ruling class and some of the Emirate’s most significant organisations.”
From the Burj Khalifa Wikipedia page:
Within 17 months of the building’s official opening, a man described as “an Asian in his mid-30s” who worked at one of the companies in the tower, died by suicide on 10 May 2011 by jumping from the 147th floor. He fell 39 floors, landing on a deck on the 108th floor. Dubai police confirmed the act as a suicide, reporting that “[they] also came to know that the man decided to commit suicide as his company refused to grant leave.”
The Daily Mail reported that on 16 November 2014, a Portuguese national who was in Dubai on a tourist visa, fell to her death from Burj Khalifa’s “At the Top” observation deck on the 148th floor. However, on 18 May 2015, Dubai police disputed the report made by the Daily Mail on this incident and said that this incident took place in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. A Dubai coroner’s report stated her body was found on the third floor of the Burj Khalifa. Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information act from Portugal’s embassy in the UAE also confirmed that she had committed suicide from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa.“
I inserted the evidence from the coroner’s report once the page was no longer semi-protected.
I often think about Athiraman Kannan and his suicide on 10 May 2011, and I think of the sheer desperation that he must have felt, that Laura must have felt, on the day they took their lives, finally putting an end to their own pain.