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February 21, 2006



dear aa,

the jordanian bloggers are as patriotic as most other bloggers in the mideast - they're not particularly politically mature.

so instead of actually contemplating that, surprise, there are jihadist groups in their own safe & happy place, they immediately go into "don't make my country look bad" mode.

oh well ...




One minor correction, Sami Youssef is a musician who sings religiously oriented music. Not a preacher.

Otherwise, very interesting.

the aardvark

Yes, about Sami Youssef - he was identified in al-Hayat as a preacher, but of course you're right about his music.


Bush Says He Will Veto Any Bill to Stop UAE Port Deal

*Link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,185479,00.html

The Informer

Interesting to find that on the Mental Mayhem blog, the author of the article you mention responds to the criticism. It seems that an overzealous editor altered things in a more sensationalistic manner than even he, the article’s author, intended. He adds a few bits of information that make the piece have a more complete flavor. Ah, the power of the blogosphere:


Raf*, As to the political immaturity of Jordanian bloggers, I think that you should visit itoot, as mentioned here on the Aardvark. Sure there are some immature writers out there. Surprise, some of them might be under the age of 20, so cut them some slack. And remember, there is still a culture of fear in talking about things that just might get you arrested (see editors publishing Prophet cartoons). But in all of that, you'll find some fairly serious and insightful commentary and critique. Try not to broad brush a whole community like you’ve done here. You do yourself and those you tell this a real disservice.


dear "informer",

re: "broad brushing a whole community" - point taken.

i actually am reading itoot, and a fair number of mideast blogs more. i've been part of the mideast blogging community since early 2003 ... so i do have some experience. if you'd've actually visited my blog (or aqoul.com) you'd've known that.

i do NOT think that having a hard time taking criticism of one's own country is rooted in "fear of talking about things that just might get you arrested" - and if you would read mideast blogs then you wouldn't make that statement.

i live in the mashriq - reflective defense of one's own country in the face of outside criticism or "uncovering of negative aspects" is widespread. i don't fault bloggers for that. but i also don't have to accept it.



The Informer

Raf*, first off, it's unfortunate you can't reply without getting snotty e.g. "if you'd've actually visited my blog (or aqoul.com) you'd've known that." There is no need for such theatrics. Why do I need to go visit your site when you make your argument here? Do I have to reconstruct everything you stand for -- gather up your life's context -- to understand your point? I'd sincerely hope not.

Second, your address of "taking criticism of one's own country" also seems a bit off the mark. That's not what I was addressing in your comment. I was referring to your comment about Jordanian bloggers being politically immature. You'll notice that I preface the comment that you quote with the clause: “As to the political immaturity of Jordanian bloggers...” Please note that such a preface is there to suggest that the following argument will be addressing that particular point. I was not addressing the idea of “taking criticism.” You may tie the two things together. I do not.

The issue I had with your statement was simply your complaint that these bloggers are politically immature. Full stop. You seem to agree that you used too broad a brush on that.

As to reading Mideast blogs, well, thanks for the advice. I've actually been reading and even involved in the creation of a number of aggregate sites for Mideast blogs since the earliest of days. But you don't need to know that to understand my points here. My presence or lack thereof in the scene really is not necessary to grasp my points or for acceptance or rejection of them.

Your final point seems more measured than your initial comment to this post. It is frustrating to see a 'reflexive' defense but then it's difficult to stop a reflex. And I think it'd be a mighty broad brush to think that people should just welcome criticism whole cloth. On an individual basis, most folks don't like to be criticised. That fact carries on when things they believe in or are proud of are put into the fire. Frustrating though it may be, I think it’s not just Mideast or Mashreq or Levant nature, but human nature.

With specific regard to the article in question, much of the response was reflexive. But, thinking of the above, it seems hard to blame so many when Jordan and jihad have gone hand in hand through so many a story thanks to Zarqawi …and others. Some Jordanians are just tired of it and they there’s no reason they shouldn’t be. Who would want such a quick association as that? However, there are more measured analyses of the story within Jordan's budding blogosphere. Those bloggers deserve a bit of notice as well don't you think.


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