Today's Blogger of the Week is Lydia Beyoud – a writer and listener at heart, and a thinker, who has recently become a doer. This is how the blogger, who has five languages under her belt, describes herself. From Portland, Oregon, Lydia covers Moroccan blogs written in French. What is her relationship with blogging and Morocco? Read on to find out.
A recent graduate from the Portland State University with a degree in International Studies with a Mediterranean regional focus, Lydia speaks English (native), French (fluent second language), Italian (third language, intermediate), Arabic (Moroccan dialect) and Spanish (to varying degrees).
Who is Lydia Beyoud?
I'm a writer and listener at heart. I collect family anecdotes and turn them into short stories. I paint, dance, draw, play accordion and violin, and like to cook. I have a very close relationship with my family and my Moroccan in-laws. I've always got my nose in a book which inevitably means I sometimes fall downstairs…I am a thinker and only recently becoming a doer.
What are your interests and dislikes?
Likes: My husband's jokes, fluffy cats, almond cookies, mint tea, seeing people laugh when they recall old memories, listening to my grandpa's WWII stories – none of which involve fighting, most of which involve either traipsing through North Africa or his girlfriends in Italy.
Dislikes: Seeing Americans and other affluent people spending $70 on “accessories” for fluffy cats when that money could go far to contributing to a child's education or medical needs. Seeing the way France treats it's WWII and Indochina-era African and North African combatants. All electric kitchen machines that go “whirrrrrrrrrr”.
How long have you been blogging and why?
I started blogging last summer after becoming a bloghead who avidly read blogs all day and eventually realized I wanted to write about my own interests and hopefully meet new people through the blogosphere.
Other than blogging, what other online-related activities are you involved in?
My husband and I chat with his mother in Meknes, Morocco, on Skype almost every day. Getting the computer and software set up in her home was a godsend and since then we've gotten to “visit” with friends and family, watch our niece grow up and chat daily while the heartache of separation and homesickness have been lessened. Thank you, Skype People.
How long have you been a member of GVO and why?
Since December 2007. It was fellow GVer Jillian York who proposed becoming a part of GVO. I checked out what she did for her roundups, learned more about GVO and its mission and was very excited to be a part of this organization.
Why are you covering French blogs from the Moroccan blogosphere in GVO?
I have the linguistic and social interest and speak French, so I could do the roundups of Francophone Moroccan blogs in a shorter amount of time. Also, because I've traveled to Morocco and am married to a Moroccan (and spend a large part of my free time among other Moroccans) I'm sort of immersed in the culture though still an outsider. This all helps in doing the roundups and explaining the significance of phrases, events or cultural references.
Do you think you are achieving your goal?
*Sheepishly* No… I can and hope to do posts more frequently as time allows.
What are the criteria you use to select translations and topics for your posts?
My criteria is whatever is interesting to a wide audience or else extremely obscure but still interesting; beyond that I try to post on the blogosphere's reactions to major events and holidays. I will sometimes skip over people who often write one-liners of subjects that another blogger has covered thoughtfully and extensively. Because of the translation nature of my roundups, I tend to choose to cite more rather than less so readers can get a broader picture.
Do your views and perceptions impact what you select?
Is anyone ever truly objective?
What are the main issues effecting the French speaking Moroccan blogosphere?
There are many topics this blogosphere touches on: some are cultural, such as religious holidays or days of particular significance. There are a large number of bloggers who call for remembrance of political prisoners and those who've “disappeared”. There are also a fair number, particularly among those who live outside of Morocco, who write about their experiences when they return to the “bled”.
The Fouad Mourtada case was huge. By consequence, the issues of freedom of speech, the objectivity of the Moroccan judicial system and the nature of the Internet and how Moroccans interact with it were all topics bloggers wrote about.
Censorship is now a growing issue in many blogopsheres around the world. Is this something of concern to Moroccan bloggers?
It's a major issue for Morocco; not only in the blogosphere but in all media outlets in that country.
What is your most memorable blogging experience?
Besides the little thrill of joy each time I get a comment on my blog or GV? Then it must be interacting with and getting to know such interesting people all around the world.