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The Empire strikes back III

14 Jun

So, yes, you’ve heard: The MIA Gay Girl from Damascus is actually a Straight Guy from Virginia. The story’s was over the news yesterday, on German outlets as well as American. Western and Arab outlets mainly seem to focus on the internet-inherent problem of constructed realities and reliability of information. Media over here apparently loved the idea of gay activism in a Muslim country so much that they forgot to double-check their facts. What we got instead was trigger-happy  journalism.

I am now wondering how Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its supporters will use this incident to denounce political activism and the internet community. I could imagine that Syrian political activists aren’t all too happy about a fictional character stabbing their non-fictional cause in the back.

Will keep you posted about articles discussing this issue.


Yay, there’s a new Social Networking Site around!

6 Jun

… Only this one is Arabic.

In an interview with the National, AreebaAreeba’s founder Ayman Irshaid explains his thoughts behind the project, which was to create an online community not mainly for students, but for the entire Arab World and for Arab expats all over the world staying in touch with people at home. From the look of it,  AreebaAreeba aims at becoming the Arabic equivalent to business networking sites such as xing. But according to Irshaid, this year’s uprises saw a spike in network groups relating to the current political events in the Arab world. In this sense, AreebaAreeba seems to be somewhat of a mix of business and private networking tool.

The most interesting aspect is that the site’s in Arabic. Surely, AreebaAreeba is “yet another online community”, but with Arabic as its main language, the network site will be interesting to observe in regional competition to the market leaders Facebook and Linkedin. Some users might be tempted to join AreebaAreeba because this community  makes them feel more accommodated or “at home”. And while an astonishingly large number of Arabs has excellent command of English, there are of course millions of Arabs with very little or no knowledge of English whatsoever. Those might so far have been hesitant to join the mainly anglophone Facebook, MySpace and so on. I’m guessing that those are a perfect target group for AreebaAreeba.

Emad Hajjajs Cartoon zum Freitag

3 Jun

Cartoon by Emad Hajjaj,

Die korrupten Regimes (الأنظمة افاسدة) sehen sich genervt einem Freitag nach dem anderen gegenüber. Das ist ziemlich anstrengend: Freitags schwellen Proteste und Demonstrationen in der arabischen Welt erst so richtig an, denn am Freitag haben viele Menschen frei. Die Freizeitplanung sieht aber nun seit Anfang des Jahres gehäuft lautes Wutbürgertum gegenüber den Herrschenden vor. “Der Tag des Jüngsten Gerichts wäre einfacher,” sinnieren darum die bedrängten Regimes (“!يوم القيامة أهون”).

140 Zeichen: Twitter-Rezensionen von Bashar al-Assads Rede

30 Mar

Parlaments-Theater. Photo: Screenshot Al-Jazeera/unbekannt.

Reaktionen auf Bashar al-Assad:

BirutaBerytus Conspiracy again #syria

SyrSpring RT @SyrianJasmine: is it a speech or is it a show??#basharspeech #Syria

nhacizade can’t tell if #Asad is super relaxed or super nervous. Obvious diffrnce from other dictators is he’s speaking to an interactive “parliament”

blakehounshell: Drunk already. RT@kristenchick: New drinking game: take a swig every time Bashar says “conspiracy.” #syria

anasqtiesh: Speaking about the Palestinian Cause. Come on man that’s not why you’re here. #Assad#Syria

SyrianCap RT @PALRevolution#Syria الأسد يحاول التهرب من مسئولياته و تصدير أزمته الى الغير…..لن ينفعك هذا الكلام يا تافه (etwa: “Assad versucht, seine Verantwortung und den Auswuchs seiner Krise auf andere zu schieben… Diese Rede wird nicht gelingen, du Narr”)

PoliticallyBrit: The nervous laughter of blood-thirsty dictator #Bashar #Assad says it all.The crazy poems & hand clapping fail to convince #Syria. Out! Out!

shadihamid: Goodness, Assad’s speech is turning out worse than I thought… and the bar was already pretty low. #Syria

Hawasalshammari ماذا عن من سفك الدماء يا فخامة الرئيس #Syria (“Was ist mit den Blutvergiessern, verehrter Herr Präsident?”)

SyrRevo انا مليت #Syria (“Mir ist langweilig”)

weddady#Syria TV has an outside camera on pro-bashar crowd to show them chanting when he makes his point. #SmartPropaganda

Dima_Khatib: Bashar Assad speech is OVER.. Not even one reform offered !!!!! #syria #mar15 #march15

Seleucid Bad news: you’re government is much much worse than you ever expected. Good news: you never really needed it. #syria

algergawi: Bashar key message: protestors forgiven but don’t even think of protesting again.#Syria


Reaktionen auf die Parlamentsabgeordneten:

LeShaque RT @HalaGorani: If every sycophant in the room gets up to compliment the president, this might take a while.#Syria

KKKareemmm مجلس السوء #Syria #March15 (“Parlament des Bösen”)

epicloser RT @evanchill: Assad has been interrupted by at least five different MPs giving what sound like prepared remarks supporting him. #Syria

ateedalrai #syria برلمان لمسرحيه من مسرحيات غوار الطوشي (“Das Parlament ist wie ein Stück von Ghawar El Toshi”)

Mr_Qatarneh The Syrian Parliament is just clapping and laughing because Bashar Al-Asad is really a funny guy #Syria#Jordan…..

Dima_Khatib: Crowd cheering outside + MP’s acting like fans (cheering, reciting poetry) + the clapping —> stuff inherited from Hafez Assad ! #syria

“الله سوريا حرية و بس”

“Allah, Suriya, Horriya, o bass”

“Nur Gott, Syrien und Freiheit”

“After 35 years of the last regime, what is democracy?”

28 Mar

The NYT portrays young Arabs from North Africa to the Levant sharing their thoughts on freedom, democracy, religion and the future. A wide variety of minds, backgrounds, dialects and hopes.