Achievement Unlocked x 2 !! #100daysofblogging #Day51

In the last two days I have achieved two significant milestones that very few people I know can say they have achieved:

  1. 1 blog post per day for 50 days!
  2. 1000 views on a single post in a single day!

In fact last nights post is now up to 1320 views in the less than 24 hours since it was posted.

Thanks for reading peeps!

Why am I here?

Why am I here?

A question we all come to ask ourselves from one time to another. It can be brought on by many things, from a near-miss in your car to a boring day at work. It can also mean a lot of things. Why am I here could be a question about why you are alive. It could also be a question about why you decided to take a certain path in life. In this moment of time the question is, for me, about why I am writing this blog.

What is my purpose here? Why do I feel compelled to put my thoughts out in long form for everyone to see? What do I hope to achieve? Or is it just for the release of getting my thoughts out in front of myself, and if that is the case then why choose to do it in public?

Certainly it’s about the release to some extent. There is too much going on in my head at times and it needs to be taken out, stored away somewhere else to make room for new thoughts, ideas or information. But it is much more than just that.

I feel I have a need and indeed a responsibility to write about the things I learn, the wisdoms uncovered and the failures too. We are living in a world now, where we are involved in constant communication, but one in which the communication is often of little value or consequence. We are too oft caught up in unimportant discussions about issues of little consequence while major social, political, economic and especially personal issues are hidden or avoided. It has always been my role in life to break these taboos.

Continue reading Why am I here?

Islam, Women and Middle Eastern Media

The Middle Eastern media pushes an image of a united Muslim community which is against Western influence in the area as being the dominant identity of Islam; yet reporting by Arab and other regional media reflects the fractured nature of the religion. There are four main issues to assess when looking at representations of Islam; the representation of women, extremism, sectarianism, and of course the “Muslim Street”.

I am using the news media as the basis for this discussion.

An identity crisis has been gradually developing between Sunni and Shia Muslims, which becomes evident through reporting on the sectarian warfare in Iraq and other conflicts zones. As is the case here in the West, there is always a level of focus upon extremist Islam in the Middle Eastern media. Continue reading Islam, Women and Middle Eastern Media

Punishment of Saddam Hussein

On Sunday the 5th of November an event occurred which shook, and sometimes shocked members of the Iraqi blogosphere; Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death. For those who don’t know the court case was in relation to the slaughter of 148 civilians in the town of Dujail 1982, as revenge for a failed attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein. Iraqi’s in the Middle Eastern blogosphere reacted in different ways- but one thing was clear; they know he’s guilty, but is he getting off too easy?

The first and most important place to start with this report is over at Asterism. Here Salam Adil has already written a round-up of discussion about the Saddam verdict in the Iraqi Blogosphere; make sure you check it out. Next most important is probably this post by Zeyad from Healing Iraq, also a round-up of the Iraqi blogosphere’s responses. Another round-up of responses from the Iraqi blogosphere was also completed this week, however this time not from within the Iraqi blogosphere. Continue reading Punishment of Saddam Hussein

We are all the same (really)

While Muslim’s leaders demand apologies and the Muslim street breaks out in protest against the Pope’s use of an anti-Islamic quote from a 14th century Byzantine leader, many bloggers look at the reaction wondering why?.

Keefy from Adventures in Dubai posted the entire text of the pope’s speech and bet most of the protesters had not read it. Ramrumple wonders why it’s not OK to portray Hassan Nasrallah (Hizballah Leader) in a comical sketch, but it’s OK for al-Jazeera TV to do the same by portraying the pope as shooting down peace (in the form of doves)? Iraq Pundit gives an almost comical commentary of how the situation has unfolded, pointing out the irony in these violent reactions. He also wonders why there is no reaction from the Muslim street when hundreds of Muslims are killed each day in Iraq in the name of Islam.

Iraq The Model, one of the most popular blogs in the Middle East, tries to look at things from a different perspective, using an academic approach by quoting respected Arabic books on Islamic History. However a few days later Omar posts his anger about what he calls a “War on Peace” by Islamic extremists.

In the comments section of this post there was an interesting conversation about the role of militant islam’s role in global terrorism. Two interesting comments were posted by “bg” on the 25th of September the first was the introduction to an excellent “weekly roundup” of radical islamic activity around the globe written by by Charles Bird from Obsidian Wings. Thesecond comment sampled and linked this article, which discusses true role of Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network (literally, The Base network) in organising and perpetuating militancy among Islamic extremists around the globe.

There were over 150 comments from people all-over the globe on that particular post, and the same or more on most other recent posts at Iraq The Model; this blog is a very successful forum for discussion about Iraq and the Middle East in general. There was much other discussion in the Middle Eastern blogosphere aside from the Pope issue. As usual there are always some stories of hope such as the post “Iraqi Muslim Amongst Jewish People! Felt Welcomed!” from 24 Steps To Liberty, an Iraqi blogger who moved to America very recently.
Truth Teller, the Iraqi doctor who blogs at “A Citizen of Mosul” briefly tells the story of having to move his clinic somewhere safer due to poor the security situation. Discussion about the Middle East outside of the blogosphere tends to be limited to professional opinions, journalistic reporting or discussion about western policy and wars in the area.

Just search Google for “Online Discussion” + “Middle East” and see for yourself. However in the Middle Eastern blogosphere, especially for those who delve deep into the comments sections, there is a wealth of practical analysis and discussion about moving forwards. What’s most impressive is how some people like the Tel Aviv university lecturer Ze’ev Maoz can breach cultural boundaries and discuss the situation realistically.

I have recently been asked the question “is the blogosphere going to bring a solution to the problems in the Middle East?”. To this I must say no, it is not the solution itself, it will definitely be part of the solution. But to end this post here is something from Hala_S to remind us that we all come from the same place.