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Bridging The Gap… Danish Cartoons Again

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Syria, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Protest

A very important update on the Syrian Blogsphere was the Bridge the Gap in Blogspace [1] project, started mainly to get bloggers from all over the world a bit closer, bloggers who believe in peace and mutual understanding. Ayman from The Damascene Blog says… [2]

Moderate and open-minded people exist on both sides and the craziness we are now witnessing makes it of utmost importance for them to get in touch and start a healthy and civilized debate. There can be no better place for such a debate than the web, and the flourishing blogging phenomenon provides a very unique opportunity to let people learn about each other and discuss topics of common concern.

While this new project comes as a response to the violent escalation of the Danish Cartoon Row, The Syrian blogsphere continued trying to cope and react to the trauma of the violent assaults against foreign embassies in the heart of the capital, Damascus. Violence occurred when angry protestors to the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper burnt down 4 embassies, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Chile.

Ayman from The Damascene Blog says [3] he was ashamed, shocked and bitterly disappointed at what happened.

What happened in Damascus today is just shameful. I had expected the protest to be peaceful and civilized. Mobs ran into the streets, shouted and attacked embassies, without realizing the severity of the damage they inflicted to “their” cause and to Islam's image. Mobs controlled the protests today, and people who were there to peacefully protest were shocked and had to hide in their homes. I felt a bitter disappointment.

Ammar Abdulhamid from Amarji points out that… [4]

Each time a demonstration goes awry in Damascus, the event often takes place on a weekend, involving empty buildings and minimal, if any, civilian casualties. Even last year’s incident in Mazzeh, when an alleged “terrorist” cell attacked a UN headquarters, the building had been empty for years, albeit a woman bystander was killed. This and arrested in Beirut as well for involvement in the riots that took place there, not to mention the burning of the Danish embassy there as well.

Suggesting that the regime is the player behind these violent acts, Ihsan seems to agree on that theory… [5]

While I’m 100% convinced that the Syrian Regime had a hand in what happened. I still cannot understand the concept of being driven like a sheep. To me, those people who were sabotaging and burning the embassies seemed like stupid sheep led by a smart shepherd.

Most Syrian bloggers were keen on stressing the fact that these demonstrations do not in any way reflect the Syrian people. Sinan from MFLS says… [6]

However it's necessary and very crucial for the rest of the world to understand that these actions do not, I repeat, do not in anyway reflect what the Syrian people really believe, or at least what the elite in here believe.

Just like The Syrian Brit, who's a Syrian expatriate, renounces these attacks by saying [7]

These acts were carried out in the name of Islam, under the guise of defending it… What a sickening farce… I say to all those bastards who attacked the Embassies and burnt flags and vandalized properties… Not in my name… Never…

Yazan sees these attacks [8] as directed at the very image of Syria.

No, they were not attacking Danish or European “out of line” freedom of speech, they were not even taking revenge for the prophet, they were attacking the heart of Syria. The civilized idea of Syria.

And Omar Salaymeh from Earth to Omar calls [9] for all the rational people to work together to save this image.

We, the rational, should work together to show the world that there’s more to Arabs than what they see on television. If I learned anything from the cartoon fiasco, it’s that our views, beliefs and culture are not well known to the west. I think this whole situation could have been prevented if there wasn’t much ignorance on both sides of the table.