Thursday, May 19, 2005

What about Egyptian bloggers?

Never mind the question. I'm not really looking for answers. Here's a disconnected post however.

Did I ever mention that I admire Iranians. Well, I do, regardless of how many of them hate Islam. I admire those smart and strong-willed people. I have to better formulate my reasons for thinking highly of Iranians --but that's not the topic of this post. An Iranian friend of mine sent me an email with pictures of today's Tehran. Check them out here (most of them don't show the beauty of the mountains surrounding Tehran). Yes, those are pictures from the Islamic Republic of Iran! Now, my friend is one that hates the Mullah's regime, dislikes (to use a lighter word than hate) Islam and the prophet, and is not fond of the Arab invasion of Persia, so she left Iran and lives elsewhere. Yet, she sent me those pictures, missing Iran and longing for its beauty. I'm a fan of Iranian movies, although they're usually very depressing, exposing all their social problems and focusing on the poorer segments of their society, so those pictures were a change for me (as well as others I saw of a ski resort there).

Anyway, that's not the topic of this post. I just want to point to an interesting presentation (ppt) about Iranian blogging by Hoder (some call him the godfather of the Iranian blogs) which I find inspiring:

Weblogestan: How weblogs are affecting Iran

Some Facts

  • Total Population: 70 millions
  • Population Under thirty: 70%
  • Internet users: 4-5 millions
  • Media: State monopoly and control
  • Active weblogs: over 75,000

How weblogs affecting Iranian society and politics?


  • Windows (culture, information)
  • Bridges (society, activism)
  • Cafes (politics)

Blogs as Windows

  • Social changes: new values
    • Self expression
    • Tolerance
    • Individualism
  • Free information
    • Example: Female journalist banned from parliament turned to blogging (Massih Alinejad)

Blogs as Bridges

  • Divided society, social islands:
    • Genders
    • Immigrants ~ Non-immigrants
    • Politicians ~ citizens
      • Reformist candidate (Mostafa Moeen)
      • Former vice-president (Mohammad Abtahi)
      • Religious/secular community

Blogs as Cafes

  • Public Sphere (Jurgen Habermas):
    "a discursive arena that is home to citizen debate, deliberation, agreement and action.“
  • Ideal speech situation: Equal power for everyone to question, express, and introduce

Blogs as Cafes

  • Weblogs vs. State-controlled media
    Unique space out of the state monopoly for crucial political debate

  • Examples:
    • Iran’s Nuclear program
    • Journalism in the U.S. (Objectivity, factuality)

Election 2005 (Due on 17 June)

  • Windows:
    • Candidate buying publicity
  • Bridges:
    • Advisory session with top reformist strategists
    • Candidate’s website’s server problem
  • Cafes:
    • Debate on political advertising
    • Debate on voting/boycott

One of the Iranian presidential candidates is a blogger, Mostafa Moeen (reformist presidential candidate). See this account of the bloggers meeting with him.

Incomparable really, but Joshua Landis briefly mentioned the sudden growth of the Syrian blogosphere and a meeting between them.

Bahraini bloggers seem to be doing a good job turning their blogs into media outlets for their tiny island out in the Persian gulf.

And if being more anonymous will make you a better blogger, Global Voices have created a guide to Anonymous blogging wiki.

Off-topic: The email below was sent out at my company. There are also Radio ads (on FM 105.8) encouraging people to participate in the constitution amendment referundum. I like that.

Dear Colleagues,

As you all know, the president has invited all Egyptians who have the right to vote to a referendum on 25th May 2005 whereby they can express their opinion by approving/disapproving the proposed changes in the Egyptian constitution.

In order for the company employees to have the chance to exercise their constitutional right, the company management team has decided that on that day (25th May 2005), the working hours will be until 3:30 PM.

* Many of the above links are via Global Voices Online.


Me, Myself and I said...

Hey if this is Iran under the Mullahs, i would not mind having a Mullah rule here in Egypt..

Craig said...

Maybe you can get some leftover mullahs and ayotollahs to come run Egypt for you whenever Iran eventually succeeds in getting rid of them.

That's intended as sarcasm, by the way, because I can't believe anybody would seriously WANT to have the world's worst regime in power.

I saw on a Canadian bloggers site yesterday a bunch of Canadian housewives wanting to do violence to Iran over the arrestet, raped, tortured and murdered Canadian(or Iranian descent) journalist. "Annihilate their country like the Americans would" was one tasty quote.

In case you don't know, when even the Canadians are talking about rowing boats across the ocean to kick somebody's ass and kill them, there's something seriously wrong in the world.

Mohamed said...

You can't be serious about Iran having the world's worst regime! They are much better than most Arab regimes.

Some Canadians can be like that after watching too much American TV, and having the US attempting to drag them into every violent act they do to the world.

DNA said...

Sorry Mo, can't agree with you there. There probably isn't anything much worse than Iran's.

Like I tend to say, the problem with the Arab world isn't the governments: it's the people. Iran managed to get to where it was DESPITE it's government. At least that's what I think.

I was watching a lengthy 3 part documentary on Iran a few weeks ago, and it's amazing how hard people try to circumvent the system - how they twist it around and find loopholes to do what they want. It just so happens that what they want is good, as opposed to how, say, Egyptians twist the rules for the bad.

Mohamed said...

And that's one of the reasons why I admire Iranians.

But I'll have to disagree with you regarding its regime compared to many of the Arabs'.

Jeff said...

The Arabs and Iranians still have it better than the Texans.

Mohamed said...

Jeff, bad joke!

I spent three weeks in Texas after 9/11 and it was one of my best trips. Among the best things there was the great food, and among the amusing things there were the incredible amount of flags flying and the lax security at the airport. I tried to avoid political conversations there however, considering what Bin Laden did and considering that they were dead sure that Iraq had WMD ready to destory them, but otherwise it was great. Oh, just too humid maybe.

DNA said...

I loved the 'eat all you can for 5' home-style restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Reading through many of the posts and comments on this site has been quite enlightening. While as an American I certainly admit that the government and people of my country often behave with cultural ignorance. However, I see that many of those outside the US base their opinions on TV, brief visits, and the often arrogant behavior of the government. Unfortunately, none of these are accurate represenatations of the majority of American people. With no offense intended to anyone, it seems the cultural misunderstanding is on both sides.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, many Americans don't really consider Texas as part of America. They are often viewed as a quick tempered, inbred cousin, given their stance on civil rights, gun laws, and indiscriminate use of the death penalty, among other things.

Mohamed said...

Anonymous, I hope you're not referring to my previous comment about Texas when you talk about cultural misunderstanding. I thought I said I liked the place!

I think I've had my share of more than brief visits and encounters with Americans to generalize when I want however (right or wrong). Although I didn't even make such generalizations like you do. Can't believe you said that many Americana don't consider Texas as part of America, when they fought Mexico over it, and when your current president who's enjoying his second term is from there!

Jeff said...

OK, bad joke. I'm from Texas.

To Anonymous -
Cool how you're preaching about cultural understanding and then trashing Texas with the most tired generalizations availalbe.

Anonymous said...

You have a very interesting site, Mohamed. I'm a believer in tolerance and cultural understanding but sorry Jeff, I had to laugh at the description of Texas as the inbred cousin of the United States, when everyone knows that it's really Alabama (just kidding).


DNA said...

Oh, and in case why Arabs - even the moderate of them - find it difficult not to be judgemental of Americans - read the comments section on this blog.

praktike said...

Can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

We Iranians also love Egyptians. We will never harm you with our mollas and ayatollas. If any Islamist Egyptian wants a molla, they can rent them or buy them and take them to Saudi Arabia and do whatever they want to do with them - we will be more than happy to oblige.

Mollas have destroyed Iran and reduced our GNP per capita from 3,500 to 2,000 - even though we have so much oil. 35% unemployment and all business activities are monopolized by the "aqazadeh" - relatives of the top mollas.

Iranians hate Islam, and are dropping it left and right. They are either converting to atheism, or to Zoroastrianism, or Christianity.

The plan is to make Khomeini's tomb a public urinal after the overthrow of this regime.

If the US government does not flush the Koran, we Iranians are flushing them by the thousands. The Arab's attacked Persia and raped and massacred it. In 15 epic battles, the Persians resisted the Arabs.

I hope every Muslim studies Iran and the poverty and the dictatorship and the looting and the repression, before they even think of Islamic government.

Iran will be democratic one day - have no doubts about it. That will be the day we will ship our mollas to Mecca, and we will flush all the remaining Korans.

Religion is an individual matter. I have no business to tell a person to be a Muslim or not. Neither do others have the right to impose their ideology on me or my society. There is nothing righteous about Islam, because it is just something put together by men, who wished to rule like tyrants.

XashAyAr Izadi

Mohamed said...

See what I mean about Iranians. Thanks XashAyAr for demonstrating my point about Iranians. You've got to admire that vigor and determination.

Have no doubt that the other side of the Iranians, the hardline Shia'as have the same vigor as XashAyAr .

Me, Myself and I said...

why it there no comment thingy for you piece on Kefaya posted this mrng???hmmm..wanna give my five cents-but not any bright ideas.

Mohamed said...

MMI, I'm just trying t encourage people to go comment at the forum.

Me, Myself and I said...

Mo, I think i screwed up all the Egyptian loggers forum trying to post a comment...soooooooooo challenging that thing... oh well i think they would be able to fix it

Mohammed said...

i kind of share exactly the same opinion u hold about iran..
it's sad that in the arab world we never get to listen to iranis telling their stories of the islamic republic..
when i try telling people how 25 years under the mullas made iranis hate their gvt, depise islam and revived zoroastrianism and persian nationalism, they'd laugh at me and say that i'm biased against IRI coz i'm an evil secular...

Anonymous said...

Hi Mohammad - I am amazed the Egyptians do not care about the truth in Iran. Why are they so ideologically blinded may I ask? Does it have to do with Islamic brainwashing from age 5?

Iran is spending 30 billion dollars to build a bomb. Meanwhile people are rotting for lack of food, schools and hospitals. The religious elite that is ruling Iran is sending all their ill-gotten money to UK banks and Swiss banks. There are thousands of "AqAzadehs" now living in the US, Canada, Europe parasiting on the oil money - meanwhile Iranians go begging in the street to arrive at a loaf of bread.

When are Muslims going to look into the mirror, stop blaming outsiders and foreigners, and say we have royally screwed it? Each nation deserves their own rulers ultimately. I have rarely seen an Islamist that is willing to take blame, even 1% blame, for the disaster of $1,000 GNP per capita.

Ultimately, the west does not care for us, and it should not, and the west will not fix us up, even if it sometimes tries. But the Islamist is looking at the hands of the west all the time. By simply blaming everything on the west, they are making themselves impotent.

Muslims seem not to have an existence and an identity for themselves. Their existence and identity is entangled eternally with that of outsiders, which they look up to, and either blame them 100% for everything, or they wait 100% for them to come to the Muslim's rescue. It is very convenient to blame everything on outsiders and play victim, and make that an excuse to sit on oil reserves and consume it and build nothing.

What a disaster. Islam has totally maligned the identity and generated a DEFEATED culture and DEFEATED people.

Tafeeda said...

I agree with all of you!

DNA said...


Erga3ee le 7abl el ghaseel we taba2 el molokhia. Seebik men el seyasa.

Mohammed said...

what was that all about?
tafeeda dasetlak 3ala taraf?

DNA said...

Looked like a troll to me. If you know it isn't delete my comment, and I shall scurry away in shame.

Mohamed said...

DNA, that wasn't me asking. It was the other Mohammed.

Anonymous said...

Ya Mohammed how can you admire Iranians. While most are good people, the opposition ones are a bunch of liars. They make up history. There was no destruction of Persia by Arabs after the invasion. This is the same lie that was made up about the destruction of the Library in Alexandria.

Anonymous said...

What is up with this zeft Big Pharoah Blogger. This guy beyo3bod ostaz Bush el sughayar. Ma3oola 7ad fi masr beyfakkar keda.

Mohamed said...

I'm sorry anonymous but I can't help but admire them. I strongly disagree with them, disagree with the anti-Islam ones as well as the hardline Shia'a ones, and I think they're both very wrong, but its not that. Its some of their qualities as a group of people that I like. I actually think that Egyptians and Iranians are in many ways alike. Egyptians have their special traits, but Iranians too, have some add-on admirable traits to me.

Anonymous said...

Well Annoymous - what makes you think Islam spread by peace, proselythization and kindness?

There were 50 major battles that were faught with SWORDS. I mean how much hatred do you have to generate killing, looting, raping, and repressing to get 50 battles in a matter of 300 years? One major battle every 6 years. Take a look, and see history in its gory detail.

It took 15 battles to subjugate Iran.

va ahmaq olAq keh troll xodet hasti nafahm taazi soosmAr xor keh reedam bar Islam.

One day us proud Iranians will dump Islam and we will eradicate any remnants of Mohammedan camel culture from our land.

Peace be on you Egyptian brothers and Cyrus had the very first Declaration of Human Rights - way before the lizard eaters of Jazira raped us. We will become democratic and we will progress and we will make urinals out of Islamic shrines and mosques, and we will bring dignity and independence to 70 million slaves.

Anonymous said...

several dozen major battles perpetrated by the Mohammedan camel jocky tAzis on Persia and the middle east.

95 major and minor battles, uprisings, revolts, and resistatnce by Persians resisting Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries.

Mohamed said...

Anonymous Iranian, I'd appreciate if you show some respect to the religion that I believe in. You've already said too many offending statements. So you either show some respect or shut up.

I suggest you start by your Ayatollahs before directing your urine at me and my religion.

Now, that's what I hate about Iranians.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mohamed - why should I respect a religion that has destroyed my country and which stole my accomplishments (Ibn Sina, Razi, Khawrazmi, Khayyam, Rumi, etc.) and called it "Islam's golden age" and then persecuted these very same people?

Just because you believe in it? Just because you lowly "believe" in crap, I have to accept that crap? Who says?

If you get offended, well that is your problem and not mine. If you are so unsure about your religion that you get offended, then drop your religion and get out of something you were born into and which you did not accept it by choice.

You have no reason being a Muslim, except that you happened to be born into it. Obviously you are unable to defend it.

And BTW stop the personal attacks on me. I never attacked you and in fact you are the one who ought to "shut up" because personally attacking a speaker is a crime.

You may hate Iranians. But I dont hate Egyptians. My urine is not directed at you or Egyptians or the Arabs. It is directed at an ideology. I don't think you understand the difference between an ideology and a person, because you dont have an independent existence outside of this ideology. You have been crushed and defeated and made to feel and be nothing without Islam - because you have nothing, and you dont want to get off your fat ass to go and produce something - and thereby EARN your place in the world.

We are all brothers and we will all one day piss on the Koran and liberate ourselves from its chains. If you don't like what I say - then don't read what I write - nobody is forcing you.

Sorry gotta go - have to flush another Koran down the toilet.


Mohamed said...

You are making many stupid assumptions about me, and those are personal attacks you idiot. I don't need to defend my religion with someone who is full of hate --for all the wrong reasons. I don't care what you believe, or what you think. What you claim is wrong with Islam, is exactly what's wrong with you. Blind intolerant hatred with no respect for the others and their beliefs.

The point here is not Islam, which you're not worth discussing with. Its your tormented childhood that caused you to be full of rage and sick fantasy. Its you being incapable of holding your piss, that you have to do it on a book, when you should drink your piss if you don't like what the book says. Its your full of shit mouth, that if you don't put down other people's beliefs you don't think you're worth a dime.

I get offended, because what I believe in is larger than myself and your pitiful self.

Your next comment here will be deleted.