Archive for the ‘Syria’ Category

Care to act?

Today is Blog Action Day, this year’s theme is Climate Change which many of you know is happening rapidly. Sea levels are rising at an increasing pace, and we’re losing glaciers and polar ice caps. Global action on the subject is a long way from being satisfactory or effective. The US demands China to lower their CO2 emissions because China is the worst offender when it comes to emissions. On the other hand, China demands that the US lower emissions since the US has the largest carbon print per capita. The blame game goes on and in the end  – which is coming a lot sooner than we projected – all of us are losing. (more…)


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Karim Arbaji has just been sentenced to three years in prison for defending human rights in Syria. Meanwhile, the Syrian blogosphere is bustling with posts advocating admirable and worthy campaigns. There’s the astounding campaign against masturbation, the noble Blogging Week for Moral Decay, and the enlightening campaign for Blogging Against Fossilized Thinking.

The background of this story is this post by Abu Fares, a response ridiculing the infamous call for a campaign against masturbation. The commentators on that post eventually came up with their own ideas for  random blogging campaigns. In essence to further mock that blogger, and the perceived religious bloggers he’s associated with.

I have to say that upon reading about the anti-masturbation campaign I cracked up. Also, I posted about it on Global Voices, sans-sarcasm. Some people were amused by the idea and tweeted the link of the article and a friend of mine wrote to me saying that the campaigner is likely to have a crowd supporting his campaign that you could fit in a phone booth. So, many people find – me included – that idea outrageous, But does that warrant the ridicule of the blogger? Does that make it ok to put aside all the great words and thoughts I’ve seen many Syrian bloggers write on each of their blogs to combine forces to fight this supposed “common enemy” called religiousness?


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Lock down all your traditional handicrafts workshops!

Visitors to Damascus can no longer visit the shisha/hookah/arkileh workshops, they’re off limits to tourists now. but why? one might ask. The story goes as such: one day Chinese tourists go visit one of those workshops with cameras and camcorders, regular tourist gear. Nothing scary there, yet!

The next thing the craftsmen know, and to their own dismay, is that China is flooding world markets with the same product at a cheaper price effectively taking a huge chunk of their market share. The only thing the poor guys could do do is ban all people from visiting their workshops in the hopes of preventing a future infiltrator from copying their trade secrets James Bond style.

After this unfortunate incident it is advised that craftsmen go after any camera-wielding-tourists with a stick. Unless, of course they make canes for a living. This is necessary to help the competitiveness  the national industry sector, well except for the tourism industry I guess.

Where will they strike next?

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بمناسبة عيد الشهداء

الشهيد كمال عبيد

الشهيد كمال عبيد - 1973

إلى عموتي الحبيبة ليلو
لتذكريني حين يعزف الرشاش لحنه
ويضرب المدفع إيقاعه
حين ترتفع في السماء صرخة الحق
أن : إنا لعائدون


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Sitting in one of Damascus’s infamous Microbuses (locally known as Servees), A Pepsi Max ad plays on the radio. It goes like this:

Buyer: Give me Pepsi Max.
Shopkeeper: It has no sugar.
B: I know, but it has all the taste.
SP (in dullest most stupid voice imaginable): but it has no sugar.
B: I know! but it has all the tase, why would I want sugar? GIVE ME PEPSI MAX I TELL YOU!

I don’t know what the guys who created this astounding ad were thinking, but what I inferred from the ad was that those who sell Pepsi Max just don’t get it, and those who buy it are douche bags. Excellent selling point.

That said, the Syrian Advertisement industry is largely a national embarrassment. The examples are just too many. but to be fair, every once in a while an advertising agency does come up with ideas that are pure genius, fun, and original. Yet the trend is largely finding a great song or piece of classical music and butcher it by turning it to a bubble gum song or a floor cleaner brand. Ask any Syrian whether they know the Lavicera musical piece, you will be surprised.

Anyways, you would expect an multinational mega-corp like Pepsi with a huge advertisement budget to actually come up with ads that don’t suck. I guess Syrian advertising is still a guaranteed way for a company to shoot themselves in the foot.

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I was really disappointed, although not surprised, by the recent campaign against homosexuality launched by a number of Syrian bloggers.

Seriously?! I see this only as generating from  plain xenophobia. As humans we’re genetically coded to be afraid of those who are different from us, and the herd mentality is hard wired into our brains that we don’t even want to acknowledge it. We, as humans, are instinctively to feel safety in numbers, numbers of those who are similar to ourselves and we label those who are different as dangerous, outsiders, abnormal, or even immoral as our consciousness advanced.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when that freedom is stretched to the extent of demoralizing groups of people based on grounds of religious or racial, or in this case sexual preference, differences that’s freedom gone too far.

Bloggers who participated in this campaign recycled the same old rhetoric eternally used by homophobes. Although I genuinely don’t believe in the efficiency of ‘dialogue’ with people entrenched behind a certain belief I will respond to the arguments that are most irritating to me personally:

  • “Homosexuality is immoral”: homosexuality is in no way synonymous with promiscuity or lack of morals in any sense PERIOD.
  • “Homosexuality is a sickness requiring treatment”: a sickness is defined as a disorder hampering the being’s ability to function properly. and that’s in no way the case with homosexuality; it doesn’t affect a person’s well being or their ability to be an active contributor to any given society.
  • “Homosexuality is a sin: hmm, all I can say is this, if everyone stopped trying to impose their religious belief, which of course they are entitled to have, the world would be a better place. All religions are creeds of love not hate, yet people always find a way to utilize religion to their own purposes.
  • “Homosexuality is abnormal/against nature”: who defines what’s normal and what’s not? deviation from a majority doesn’t make those who are different as abnormal based on this difference. As for it being against nature? seriously? if the sole purpose of human sexual intercourse is reproduction would someone explain to me the abundance of birth control practices and products. Over more, I don’t think any one should fear that homosexuality could endanger our species survival, Earth already harbors 30% more humans than it can provide for.
  • “Studies showed that Homosexuality is not normal”: such studies were conducted with no intent of original research, but for the sole purpose of finding a scientific looking ‘proof’ to support a false claim, such studies are best described as “junk science.”

Is it that hard to live and let live? And were there no more worthy issues to be addressed under the third Syrian blogging week? I ask rhetorically.

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من مثلي سئم من حجب مواقع الانترنت بشكل عشوائي أغلب الوقت، دون نواظم أو قواعد واضحة؟

ساعد مشروع Herdict Web في تكون صورة واضحة عن أي مواقع محجوبة في أي بلد وفي أي وقت، يمكنك فعل ذلك عن طريق موقع Herdict.org أو بتنزيل إضافة لمتصفح فايرفوكس.

المشروع تابع لمركز بيركمان للانترنت والمجتمع التابع لجامعة هارفارد، سوريا الآن ترتيبها الرابع في ترتيب البلدان التي تحجب المواقع بحسب Herdict  الذي أطلق مؤخراً وسيتم إطلاقه بالعربية والصينية قريباً

اضغط هنا لمشاهدة فيديو تعريفي بالمشروع، قمت بترجمة المقطع إلى العربية ويمكنكم اختيار لغة الترجمة من قائمة أسفل الفيديو.

شكراً وورد بريس لتحويل عملية إدراج فيديو ضمن المدونة إلى كابوس!

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