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Ch02 Part 3-5 - Self-expression

Page history last edited by ym@... 12 years, 9 months ago








Middle East




# BBC news report 17 Oct 06 - rise of blogging in Saudi


i. "The media here are controlled," says blogger Fouad al-Farhan, who is 31 and runs an IT company in Jeddah. "We can't express our thoughts on TV or in newspapers or magazines."

Unusually, he includes his mobile phone number, as well as his full name, on his Arabic blog (www.smartinfo.com.sa/fouad/).


ii. Her English blog (www.mystiquesa.blogspot.com) is, by Saudi standards, outspoken.

"I have this fictional series, a love story between a man and a woman. And I get into the most intimate details of the relationship - like sexual details."

Not surprisingly in such a conservative society, she gets hate mail - as well as support from like-minded young Saudis.


o She stopped blogging 20 Nov 06, one month after the BBC article, writing on her blog


"A Letter to my Beloved Readers,


Mystique created History and she's History, I'll miss you..

It's time to emancipate Mystique, since I've prisoned her in a vicous cycle in a very foolish moment of mine almost two months ago.


I won't stop writing, I promise.



And as Mahmoud Darwish once wrote:


One day I shall become what I want

One day I shall become a Thought, a Bird, a Poet.



Warmest Regards




o It appears she stopped blogging because she lost her anonymity after being outed in a Washington Post article - as reported on the blog Just World News - http://justworldnews.org/archives/002253.html - 28 Nov 2006


"The Saudi woman blogger 'Mystique' left a comment on JWN yesterday pointing out that the reason her earlier blog was down for a while was  because I sort of lost my anonymity to only one person. & this alone made me stop blogging, here in Saudi it is very difficult to write freely so imagine if I no longer have the privilege to remain anonymous.."


Helena Cobban authors Just World News - " I'm a writer and researcher on global affairs. I'm a Contributing Editor of Boston Review. I have a part-time affiliation as 'Friend in Washington' for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. I wrote a column for The Christian Science Monitor1990-2007, and have written a lot for Al-Hayat (London).  I'm probably the only Quaker who's also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies."


# Saudi blog by female scientist - http://entropymax.wordpress.com/ - in Arabic and English


# Irreverent Saudi blog - eg http://dotsson.blogspot.com/2007/11/fashion-from-guys-point-of-view.html - note Saudi connection with Malaysia; post entitled Asshole of the Week - http://dotsson.blogspot.com/2007/11/asshole-of-week_29.html


# Saudi block Blogger and Flickr - Oct 2005 - http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2005/10/04/saudi-arabia-blocks-blogger-and-flickr-again/







# Jordan bloggers mobilization leads health minister to investigate hospital error - 09 Sept 2007 - http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/09/09/jordan-nine-crimes-other-september-stories/


Over 50 Jordanian bloggers discussed the issue on their own blogs, trackbacking to the original post and building enough momentum to reach the local media via Jordanian blogger and journalist Batir Wardam. Soon after, the newly-appointed Minister of Health gave direct orders to form an investigation team.

The story and its outcome is a milestone for the Jordanian blogosphere, marking the first time that the local media and blogs have entwined to produce actual tangible results. From this author, comes a special thanks to all those Jordanian bloggers who helped make that a reality.


# Jordanian blogger and commentator -   http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/author/naseem-tarawnah/ and http://www.black-iris.com/about-me/




# Rayyesh - http://rayyash.net/index/?p=56 - as reported on Global Voices - http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/11/23/bahrain-losing-its-identity/ 23 Nov 2007


"When this blog was started some years ago, the number of blogs in Bahrain could be counted on your fingers, and it was very easy to follow what was being written! Expect the thing that distinguished this period was that the vast majority of bloggers represented the liberal line of thinking. … The situation has not changed much today. The number of blogs has greatly increased and they have become one of the most important sources of knowledge and information in the world, while the brightness of the discussion forums has dimmed, but the disaster is that 97% percent of bloggers in Bahrain are liberal and secular and do not belong to the religious or Islamic path. This issue will create problems in the future, and we have to take care and put in place a plan of action through the youth groups and associations for establishing blogs which will reflect the reality of Bahraini society."


# Bahrain writer, blogger and commentator - Ayesha Saldanha - I am a translator and writer, so I live with words; nothing makes me happier than learning a new language! I was born in India, grew up in Britain, have lived in various countries in the Middle East, and these days live in Bahrain, which may be tiny but is an incredibly complex and interesting place. I feel very attached to Bahrain, and I hope that in my coverage for Global Voices I can convey some of its cultural richness, as well as its social and political complexities. I blog at bint battuta in bahrain.

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