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Pulse of the Saudi Blogosphere

Like the rest of the world, the infamous Danish cartoons was one of the main topics discussed in the Saudi blogosphere during the past two weeks. Abu-Joori believes that boycotting Danish products was a very civil choice, even though he understands that neither the Danish government nor the Danish people are responsible for what the newspaper published. “So why do we try to harm them?!” he asked. He goes on:

When we expect others to respect us .. our highly respected figures.. we shall do the same .. we shall respect them and respect the things that are important to them!… Actually, even if they do not show respect to us or to our religion .. we shall do what we think is right .. and not be in the reaction mode ALL the time!!!

He was, of course, talking about the violent assaults against foreign embassies in Syria and Lebanon. However, Mo5 o 7ekma says such attacks were expected, and thinks that those who attacked the embassies should not be arrested and punished (Arabic) because they are “just some angry youth.” The boycotting has affected some of the nutrition habits for Saudis who used to depend on Danish products for a very long time. “All I can say is thank god Dunkin Donuts isn’t Danish!!Feras said. Mohammed Al-Shwaier posted this drawing with the title “What kind of destruction have you chosen for yourself, Denmark?”

Now, let's move on to another controversy. This time, it's about a novel called “Banat Al-Riyadh.” It was written by a young dentist, and sparkled a lot of controversy over the past year. Jaded Saudi, who read the book on her recent trip home, thinks it is because this book “talks about everything that's taboo and supposedly doesn't happen in Saudi, like dating, booze, girls dressing up like boys and driving…” She does not understand why people are in denial, and says maybe people are upset about it because it relates such taboos to Riyadh, “when in reality this crap happens everywhere in Saudi and even in the Gulf countries,” she added. Meanwhile, Ruba, one of the youngest Saudi bloggers, thinks that this book has gained a lot of undeserved attention (Arabic). “Even in the best and most developed societies there are books which reflect a bad image about their societies,” she said.

Finally, Green Tea, posts his thoughts on how he could get rid of dealing with Arab media, and that now he depends on blogs to keep up with the latest news (Arabic). “Bloggers have given us a golden alternative, because they don't undergo any kind of control that may restrict them or forces them to publish any certain set of ideas, and because they enjoy much more freedom to express their opinions,” he wrote.

1 comment

  • Pedro Almeida

    I think infamous are the ones who use religion, faith, and so on, to their fight against their ennemies. In Portugal and Spain,in the decades 30-70 of the XX century, fascist used religious simbols like Christh, Mary-mother of Christh, and Catholic dogmas to atack democracy, comunism, capitalism, etc. And the Church in these countries was not innocent of these aproach. Fortunally, many clerics and believers fought this association. So, in those times, if some caricaturist draw a Christh in some way related to the fascists organizations, certainly would be put in jail ou forbidden to publish in these countries. But, if that would hapenned, could be interpreted as a critic to those who mixture their political intolerant fight with the creed of millions who not share their views.
    When I saw the picture of a supposed Prophet Mohammed with a bomb, I understood the goal of the caricaturist: to criticize those who use islamic religion to support their terrorist attacks to innocent people im the United States, in Europe, in Irack, in Pakistan, etc. I don’t see in the picture neither an attack to the real Prophet nor the islamic faith (by the way, in the same group of pictures there is one mocking the dannish newspapper for their inniciative).
    Indeed, I’m as shocked with suicide-bombers wherever they attack as with the recents attacks to the xiites in Pakistan or sunnites in Irack organized by sunnites in Pakistan and by xiites in Irack, and I don’t blame the whole community for the wrongdoings and crimes of some who claim belong to them. As I’m shocked about the crimes in Abu-Graibh and in Guantanamo by american soldiers/authorities.
    So, I think the least of the troubles are some drawings, but the infamous reality we live and these cartoons and many others simply reflect.
    And yes, I do believe it’s a blessing to discuss this matters openly and with fear of beeing harassed ou killed. If we are offended, there are many ways to express our feelings and our views, as pacific demonstrations in the streets, boycott goods, writting and drawing, debates on the media, even claimming in courts, if one feels so.

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