Juan Cole on blogging and the middle east

Juan Cole on The Blogging Phenomenon, and speculation from Steven Levy and Jeff Jarvis.

Who knows English in the Middle East? Usually young men from wealthy or at least middle class families. They are disproportionately likely to favor capitalist, unregulated markets, to be secular in their outlook, and to be pro-Western. I.e., the views of many (not all) Western-educated Middle-Easterners are almost the complete opposite of most other Middle Easterners. You have to know something about the Middle East to know something about Middle Eastern bloggers in their own context.

Bomb in the face.

A snowy photo from the No War on Iran scrapbook – “Thought you might like to have a look at the people your army might bomb soon in the face“, There’s also a weblog nearby. From a comment on their mission statement page, “I don’t know if it will work on everyone, but I figure it’s harder to kill someone you ‘know'”.

It’d be nice to think so…

Hoder was proposing something similar last year:

Many Iranians can not read or write in English very well. Thus the best way they can show the world how they live their lives, in a direct and unmediated way, is by using photoblogs. The rapidly growing market for digital cameras in Iran and the rise of free photo hosting services could pave the way, as well as particular projects and awards.

See also: Chomsky on “Rattling Iran”. Or PNAC’s Rebuilding America’s Defenses.


We popped over the border from San Diego last night.

Our experience of Mexico was as a 3rd world freakshow. Want dancing girls friend? big boobies butt naked, best bar in Tijuana, I take you. 10 beers for 10 bucks. Friend, where you from? Friend?

Notes from Bristol Amnesty International meeting

Jan 15 AI Bristol: Martin, Nancy, Margaret

Notes taken at the January 15th 2004 Bristol Amnesty International (AI) meeting. There were two guest speakers on the topic of “Israel, Palestine and Amnesty’s new mandate“: Martin Knight, AIUK Co-ordinator for Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Palestine Authority, and Nancy Rollason of Bristol Palestine Soldidarity Movement,

Note: this article was written a week afterwards based on my semi-legible handwritten notes. It likely containing errors and omissions (some but not all flagged with ‘@’ signs). This version (updated 18 March 2004) includes some edits and clarifications from Martin. The text that follows reports as closely as possible what I heard from Martin and Nancy. Also note that I’ve avoided prefixing each sentence with qualifiers such as “Martin reported that…”, since the article itself sets that context. Where my notes seem to capture a reasonably verbatim account of what was said, I’ve put the text in quotes; please bear in mind that I probably didn’t get it word-perfect. I’ve added a few links to supplementary materials that I found online. Except for the AI and ISM sites, these links weren’t provided by the speakers.
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