The rise of activism: Women2Drive

“Sunni Islamist is the force with the biggest mobilizing potential in the Kingdom and the only force theoretically able to threaten the system”

Although people had been arrested the activist wanted to keep doing their work, but the ideas of how to do that varied. There were various groups; one which thought the priority was to focus on the society to stop the growing trend of the social liberalization. What they wanted is to give equality to the women, an issue that was growing in the wrong direction. However, the other group thought that the most important thing to talk about was the political change, as some thought that Saudi Arabia was being converted into a “True Islamic state”. Finally there is a third group which tried to advocate a “civil jihad” using peaceful means aiming to transform Saudi Arabia into an Islamic constitutional monarchy.

However they were all in favor of the revolution and they got together which alarmed the outside countries and culminated by receiving donations, which they still are through Sahwa networks. The revolutions that happened were peaceful and they only reclaimed freedom and dignity, but with this revolution social media also increased in Saudi and people began to communicate their ideas this way.

Personally I think that having the opportunity for young people and women, along with everyone else, to reclaim and speak their minds throughout the social media is a very good decision, as no one should be banned to speak their mind and everyone should have the right to ask for whatever they want, without giving importance if afterwards that’s actually going to happen or not.

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About the campaign Women2Drive, women should have the right to drive because nothing makes them less able to do it than men, and having the ability to use the social media to express themselves and prove to the society they are wrong and the women are able to drive or do many other things which they are prohibited throughout their lives is a very good start. We are in the 21st Century and I don’t think we should be still dealing with these type of problems, as men are no better than women or vice versa. Everyone has their own ability and everyone should be able to practice it.

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The rise of activism: Women2Drive

The Fight for Internet Freedom and Accesibility

It is astonishing to me how easily people fighting for simple online freedom and accessibility can be held captive and punished for doing so. After reading the pieces I have come to realize that there are many talented scholars and organizational groups who have been working together to ensure that there is an online outlet which can help activists speak out, build their own ideas and become more knowledgeable and rounded human beings.

Bassel Khartabil’s story was an example of one of these scholars who have pushed for a broader border on virtual world access. In the ‘Captured in the line of duty’ section of The Guardian’s online newspaper on Khartabil’s accomplishments, captivity, whereabouts and some information on the Creative Commons, we read about Khartabil’s success in introducing his encoded formulation that worked to make the Firefox open-source web browser available in the arabic language.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 11.47.05 PMNot only was Bassel Khartabil’s work brilliant but it lead to making the Creative Common’s organization more widely known, as he gained recognition from several other respectable sources and projects. The piece continues with explaining that Khartabil was able to provide input for a developing project called New Palmyra Project.

The continuation of Khartabil’s work, even while being in custody, shows his integrity and determination to help expand the online world in his country, and work towards making the internet a free source for all. The fact that Khartabil took the risk to work towards a meaningful cause even after being behind bars and captured, exemplifies a true heroic and brave figure, because it is a demonstration of someone who has fought for his beliefs, even in extremely dangerous situations.

It is heartbreaking to see that someone so talented, self driven, be incarcerated and killed, as speculations have suggested, since he has not been seen or heard of for quite some time now. The article finishes off with a memorable statement. It mentions that there needs to be more people in the society such as Bassel Khartabi, who are willing to fight for change. In my opinion, I completely agree with the statement that was made at the end of the piece. Although, scholars and activists should take extra precautions regarding their work, the world will not change without those who are willing to put themselves at risk to be the change they want to see in the world. People, such as Bassel Khartabi, are the ones who will strive, die and provide the change this world needs. With the brains, intelligence, and good hearted actions of these people it is safe to say the world may be changing, and internet accessibility as well as the right to speak up and find your own voice, in countries which prohibit that, may be expanding.

The text was inspiring, yet a bit scary. Being punished for working hard on something you believe in, expanding and creating access to more sources for the people all over the world, seems unfair to me. However, seeing someone follow their beliefs despite the possible consequences is very inspiring, and makes you realize how anyone with the will can help make a change in this world.

The Fight for Internet Freedom and Accesibility

Instigators of Change

Arab Bloggers Meet to Discuss Free Speech, Reject ‘Journalist’ Label

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The First Arab Bloggers Meeting in Beirut, covered by Jessica Dheere, illuminated many important truths in regards to bloggers and their work. “Morocco has 30,000 bloggers; Facebook is blocked in Tunisia; photojournalists help Egyptian bloggers by passing along outtakes,” etc, etc. It’s compelling that despite the tapestry of problems that Arab countries continue to face, bloggers living under these repressive regimes continue to fight for free speech and human rights. Blogs have continuously been a space to discuss these issues, and though the blogosphere is limitless, there is sense of unanimity between these bloggers.

The blogosphere is not a safe space, it’s a space that can land you in prison, or worse. Bloggers express how they are already prisoners because they live under these repressive regimes, but despite these difficulties, they continue to instigate for change. In a sense these bloggers act as journalists, by covering all aspects of repressiveness in Arab countries, and yet they refuse to be called journalists. I agree with their rejection of the “journalists” label because as opposed to actual journalists who simply report, bloggers are immersed and active. Bloggers are essentially societal and political activists, they are the ultimate “instigators of change.” In short, in the readings and in class, there is a constant reiteration of how important of a role bloggers play, which I completely agree. As Jessica Dheere concluded, the more they write and blog, the more their acts are “speaking truth to power.”

 

Mapping the Arabic blogosphere: politics and dissent online

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The above map illustrates a network map of the Arabic blogosphere with each dot representing a blog. The article, “Mapping the Arabic blogosphere: politics and dissent online,” illustrated the idea of a “networked public sphere,” which was proposed by Yochai Benkler. In short, Benkler’s “network public sphere,” refers to an online space which has gone from being dominated by the government/elite, to being a space that has a sense of freedom in which where “members of society can cooperate, exchange political opinions and observations, and collaborate as watchdogs over powerful social institutions.”

Instigators of Change

Internet revolutionizing the Middle East

Arabic translation for Creative Commons licenses

As Jessica Dheere states, there is no reason why having more bloggers involved in stories means they are going to get further and more population will actually listen. But what the digital media really does is spread the word quickly and effectively. We have all lived it in a certain way or format. People have posted comments or photos that have gone viral and reached unexpected distances all around the World. This is what’s happening with the digital activism in the Arab countries. They reclaim for free speech and during this they get sent to prison or vastly punished for it, however they don’t give up and the word spread all around the World to the point that we have become conscious of what’s happening.

The most shocking part is that the government tries to stop it by blocking social networks like Facebook in Tunisia, or the vast censorship that is happening around these countries. However the population is so keen on finding a solution that they find various tactics to pass these limitations and reach far as they are doing right now.

I completely agree with Jessica’s article as the main right that everyone should have no matter what their occupation is should be the right to speak freely about whatever you want, giving opinions. There shouldn’t be a specific way to write or specific topics to comment on, the idea of being a blogger is to be able to express your thoughts and feeling to the whole World.

I don’t think being a journalist is something negative; however I just see them as two different jobs. Many people criticize the bloggers as they think that they are taking over the journalism, however in my opinion this is completely a wrong idea as it is two very different ways to see reality. Journalism is meant to be done in an objective way so the reader can be presented with the issue and the solution to that issue. On the other hand, the bloggers just give opinions which are also helpful for the reader but it is only from one point of view.

Internet revolutionizing the Middle East