Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Syrian citizen….

Many of the Syrian bloggers have been showing support to the Egyptian blooger (Kareem) who got sentenced for "blogging" and saying what the Egyptian Authorities deemed inappropriate….

I started wondering if the Syrian bloggers have a safer haven! Syria is one of very few countries in the world that denies the access to blogspot in an attempt to prevent Syrians to read what bloggers may have to say! So what would happen if we have a Syrian version of Kareem? Will he/she get a better chance? I have no faith!

A friend called me few days ago and asked me to be more careful about blogging and he was referring to one of my recent posts (Until further notice). He told me that he heard some disapproval about it from some of his high-level Syrian acquaintances! He said that things are now more sensitive in Syria about these sorts of postings…. I had to re-read what I posted because for a second I thought I may have been bashing God!

I was startled to see that we have the same attitude we had for tens of years in regard to freedom of expression. A suit and a tie and broken English is all what has changed…but on the inside, we are the very same people, or let's say, they are the same people.

Our Syria is going through hard times. Our nation is being targeted. We have more important issues to deal with for now…and many other phrases and terms that we have grown fed up with…..yet..they seem to stay still…they seem to be stuck in the back of our heads…the moment someone starts to speak, they surface and they deem control of our senses, or, their senses… they wipe the smile off their faces, they take off the suit and the tie and turn into the very same security agents "mokhabarat" that scared the hell out of us for years. ……..Shush…silence…don't speak… don't breath… just be happy for allowing you to live… it's none of your business that someone is stealing your country…you are too small to talk…you are a helpless citizen…you worth nothing for us… just keep it shut…and smile… or at least…erase that smirk off your face and go home….be happy that you have a home to go back to…if you insist on talking…your home will miss you for years and years to come…maybe forever…as you have bashed God and our God doesn't like your smirk…you think you are smart? You are not…you are a hopeless citizen…don't try to bark…just close your eyes and swallow your pride…wait….pride? how dare you to have a pride when talking to us…you are one of the commons...we can erase you in a second…just shut the fuck up and go mind your own business…worry about paying your bills, feeding your family…and enjoy the luxury of electricity and internet…but don't ever dare to write what you are not allowed to speak…we do have people reading after you…if you ever think that writing is your own way of speaking up…our God will be pissed…He will hunt you down…Do you think that we cannot get you? Do you think that if you live far away…we won't get you? You fool citizen…we have your life….we have your home… we have you, always have and always will….just close your mouth, your eyes and your mind…and don't worry about your soul, it's dead, you are Syrian, remember? Now go and eat the bits of bread we have given you….and don't forget to smile…it's compulsory…otherwise, we might think you are not satisfied with our offerings….just go, citizen!

Yes, sir!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Arab Jarab عرب جرب

The name could be offensive, if we read it and stop without furthering our reading through the paper. The name of the newly launched newspaper, Arab Jarab, is far beyond controversial.

Then, why this name?

First of all, the name is a sign of refusal to many of the social or socio-political aspects in the Arab world. Since all the people who are working on this newspaper project are Arabs, then, we can be firm when we say, it is not about degrading the Arabs. It's about exposing what we have become. It's about highlighting the values that we have lost in order to remember, and maybe, revive them.

We have chosen to write in Arabic, although all the team members have good command of other languages. But the targeted audience is us, the Arabs. We are not in the business of degrading ourselves or our people. We are here criticizing our practices in our own language so that only us, Arabic speakers, can understand. Not to mention that such a paper in English would be getting lots of traffic! Indeed, None-Arabs would love to read such articles. Yet again, the purpose is not to get more people reading, but only to get Arabs reading and hopefully reacting!

We, the team members, are proud Syrians, and for that matter, Arabs. But our source of pride is not based on our people's ancient glories. It's for who we are and for what we stand for, for our values and morals. Let's say this paper is our own way of self-criticizing and our way to show what have we become and hope for the betterment.

If you are an Arab, you may want check the newspaper at

Tell us what you think…and whether you like it or not, please spread the word, as other may differ in opinion.