November 13, 2006
Blogging In the Sand: Saudi bloggers profiled
The Washington Post Foreign Service's Faiza Ambah profiles Saudi bloggers. Featured are Fouad al-Farhan, Ahmed al-Omran, and Bandar Raffa, with references to Mystique and others. An organized group of Kingdom bloggers is in formation.
[A] growing wave of young Arabs...have turned to blogging to bypass the restrictions on free expression in a predominantly authoritarian, conservative and Muslim region. Blogging is so novel here that the equivalent term in Arabic, tadween, to chronicle, was coined only this year. But it has spread rapidly among the increasingly urban youth and in the process has loosened the limits of what's open for discussion.
Fuller quote and your (one hopes) informed comments below the break.
Activists have used their blogs to organize demonstrations and boycotts, and to criticize corruption and government policies. The less politically inclined have turned them into forums for heated debates on religion and a place to share personal stories and sexual fantasies.
C'mon! You knew we had to get sex in somewhere. I mean, this is Aqoul.
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I personally am not a big fan of Mystique's blog, it seems to be attracting attention purely for the fact that the author is a Saudi female. If anything it is an indication that there is some absurd belief that Saudi women do not have sex or sexual fantasties and we have luckily stumbled upon the only woman who does.
In aggregate the writings are Mills and Boon with a mutawwa here or roguish lover there. Sadly I do recongise the added titillating factor for most readers when it is sex with an abaya on.
Posted by: Bint ash-shaitan at November 13, 2006 04:49 PM
The charter/blogger organization item is interesting, although I am somewhat disappointed at the reluctance to defend another blogger whose views are divergent from the founding group.
I suppose if there is going to be any sort of long-term commitment to this charter, it's important that the founding members agree on principles. Still, the notion that writing has to meet with "approval" in order to be protected is problematic for me.
Posted by: eerie at November 13, 2006 05:32 PM
Hmm, John from Crossroads Arabia noticed it as well (actually, his entire entry is worth reading).
Posted by: eerie at November 13, 2006 05:49 PM
here is mystique's response to faizah's article.
as for the idea by fouad, ahmed, and bandar ... i'll hold my comments 'till they've actually decided on something and published it.
I wonder how long until access to the major blog sites is completely squashed.
News: A correspondent in the Gulf region sends news that "the same day [the Washington Post] article appeared, Fouad's blog and the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia bloggers seem to have been taken off and are now blank pages. I wonder if its related to the article."
Anyone know this for sure.
Posted by: TSAG at November 15, 2006 11:13 PM
Farah's has vanished too. Blogger 404 page.
Posted by: Alex at November 23, 2006 10:46 AM
farah has taken her blog offline & parked it somewhere else 'cause she doesn't want to jeopardize her professional future.
she is fine.
i don't know what happened to fouad's blog. you should ask ahmed (saudijeans).
Posted by: raf* at November 23, 2006 10:49 AM