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Palestine: Workshops Inspire Bloggers in Gaza and West Bank

Recently the director of Global Voices Advocacy, Sami Ben Gharbia, gave a series of blogging workshops in Gaza and the West Bank. The workshops were organised by the Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN), which is aiming to increase the number of bloggers in Palestinian society.

Dozens of Palestinian bloggers and other people interested in blogging issues met every day for a week in Gaza, and for another week in the West Bank, to learn as much as they could about the ways that new web techniques can help people make their voices heard.

Topics covered included: using internet tools for advocacy and free speech, with examples of that from around the world, security and privacy while blogging and using the internet, and cross-posting.

Bloggers Nour El Khoudary and Nazek AbuRahma wrote a joint post on AlJazeeraTalk about one of Sami’s workshops in Gaza :

تواجدنا في إحدى هذه الدورات التي كانت بعنوان : “معاً نحو خلق ثقافة تدوين تسعى للتغيير” واستمرت لمدة يومين في مدينة غزة، أثرى خلالها بن غريبة عقول المدونين بكثيرٍ من المعلومات والإرشادات والنصائح والتجارب الغنية التي سردها، فحفز هممهم نحو تدوينٍ فعالٍ ومؤثر .
We found ourselves in one of these workshops which was called “Promoting Blogging and Citizen Journalism for Social Change” which lasted for two days in Gaza City, in which Ben Gharbia enriched the bloggers’ minds with a lot of information, guidelines and advice, in addition to the rich experiences that he recounted. The bloggers were encouraged to blog in an active and effective way.
Workshop by Sami Ben Gharbia

Workshop by Sami Ben Gharbia

Abu El Sharif, another blogger from Gaza, wrote on his blog :

من أكم من يوم، كنت محظوظ كفاية إنو اخد دورة في مجال التدوين و هي ” استخدام التدوين من اجل المناصرة” مع المدون التونسي سامي بن غريبة، و كان اشي قوي انو اللاقي الاثبات الحي انو انتا قادر على التغيير عن طريق كتباتك، يعني لو انتا بتستخدم الادوات اللي عندك بطريقة صح، ممكن جدا يكون الك ضلع بتغيير اشي بتشوفوا كل يوم و ما بعجبك، و بشوفوا غيرك و ما بعمل اشي عشان يغيروا !
و زي ما حكى سامي و اللي بلخص الوضع بغزة كالتالي :
” خلاصة تجربتي و حواراتي مع نيرة أهل غزة: الحصار الأكثر ضررا هو الحصار العقلي، غزة لا تحتاج أغذية و شكلاطة وأدوية بل تحتاج عقولا و كوادر و كتب”
Some days ago, I was lucky enough to participate in a workshop on blogging called “Blogging for Advocacy” with the Tunisian blogger Sami Ben Gharbia. It was powerful to find actual proof that you are able to create change through your writings, which means that if you use the tools you have in the right way, then it is very much possible for you to have a hand in changing something you see every day and don’t like, which others see but don't do anything about!
As Sami said, while summing up the situation in Gaza: “To summarise my experience and discussions with enlightened people in Gaza, the most harmful siege is the intellectual siege. Gaza doesn’t need food or chocolate or medicines, it needs intellects, qualified people and books.”

After the workshops ended, a video conference was set up between bloggers in Gaza and the West Bank. Ola Anan was one of the bloggers who took part in Gaza, and later she wrote:

الحوار كان ثريا وممتعا.. اختلفنا احيانا واتفقنا احيانا اخرى

تحدثنا عن تجاربنا مع التدوين.. وقارنا بيننا وبين من سبقونا في المدونين العرب

The dialogue was rich and enjoyable. Sometimes we disagreed, and other times we agreed.
We talked about our experience with blogging…and we compared ourselves with those who had preceded us amongst Arab bloggers.

Ola ended by saying:

لكم أن تتخيلوا شعوري وسعادتي بهذا اليوم … سيصبح عمر مدونتي تقريبا اربع سنوات .. ولأول مرة اشعر ان ما افعله له قيمة أو من الممكن ان يكون له قيمة على ارض الواقع
You can imagine my feelings and my happiness with this day… My blog is almost four years old, and for the first time I feel that what I am doing has some value or has the possibility of having value on the ground.

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