Monday, May 23, 2005

Babbling Bahrania...treasures on the shore of the blogosphere...

Here is a link to a video via a blog in Bahrain that I have been following for a few months. Bahrania is a smart, cocky young woman whose blog is still in the formative stages. She's all over the place with cultural commentary, history, politics, whatever.
Her blogroll is a study in diversity, showing a range of talent and interests that I find refreshing and encouraging. I don't know much about Bahrain, except it is one of those little countries in the shadow of the larger ones that interest Americans mostly because of petroleum.
Too bad we aren't able to understand their language. But thanks to the internet and a global English-speaking empire we are now beginning to peer into their world with something resembling understanding. I love the way she comments on the video:

There's just something about a guy who can kick a ball about well that makes a girl tick. This kid is called Soufiane Touzani.

"...makes a girl tick." That's elegant use of a language that is not likely her mother tongue.

She and another blogger from Bahrain were interviewed by an Italian journalist, in English...

Chan’ad and Bahrania are the young editors of two diaries on the internet; in these diaries they tell other Bahrainis, and the rest of the world, their points of view about life and politics in Bahrain. We met them and had a double interview on the theme of freedom of expression.

Reporter: What are the differences between journalism and blogging in Bahrain today? In your opinion what are the advantages of such an instrument?

Bahrania: In the official media journalism is much more restricted than blogging, blogging has no boundaries, no censorship, no red-tape, no editorial approval, no deadlines. Blogging happens in real time, and gives the opinions of the writer who takes sole responsibility for the content. In the context of Bahrain, blogging offers freedom of speech that we don’t have in the state controlled media. Blogging by nature is unrestricted and, therefore, doesn’t fall under any particular standards and so bloggers need time to build a good reputation.

Chan'ad: There’s a huge difference, in Bahrain all the media, radio and TV are owned and run by the government, while all the local newspapers are self-censured to the point that you can never read a real and honest discussion about certain issues such as the royal family or the government. The internet gives you the perfect space to discuss issues freely, and you can do this anonymously and so you can avoid being persecuted by the authorities.
Another big advantage about blogging is that it gives the readers the opportunity, if they want, to give their opinions and to interact with the writer, both parties can learn new things, in mainstream journalism the information is usually one way.

Reporter: Bahrania, you are one of the few woman women bloggers, how do you see the position of women in the Bahraini media?

Bahrania: We live in a patriarchal society, but this doesn’t mean that there are not opportunities for women. Bahraini women are very well educated, in fact there are more women graduating than men from the University of Bahrain. There are also some very good women journalists in the local media. However, in a country where basic citizen’s or human rights are frequently ignored breached or totally absent it’s difficult to weigh up women’s rights. As a woman myself I would say I want human rights before women’s rights.

This is all pretty ordinary stuff. That's what I like about it. Most of the world is unremarkable and most of it's people face the same issues everywhere.
When we generalize and steroetype people from other countries, we only fool ourselves.

The first link on her blogroll, likely because the first character is not alphabetic, is 1 Pissed Arab. Posting here is infrequest, but revealing. Here is an interesting snip from a March post:

A storm is brewing in the Islamic world over Dr. Amina Wadud's leading the Friday prayer in a New York mosque. I heard her speaking and I did not find her offering any explanation (religious or otherwise) as to why she is stirring an unneeded controversy in this TIME and PLACE!
Here is a half-witted statement from the "organizers" shedding light by saying "this event is about Muslim women reclaiming their rightful place in Islam"
What ?? I guess Moslem women's list of demands is nearing the bottom of the list!
My point is:- Moslem women's struggle IS to re-claim what Islam has originally given them, and what deep rooted social traditions have taken from them in some countries.e.g. Inheritance, right to manage her own money, and run her own business, freedom to marry & divorce whoever and whenever, freedom to refuse her husband's taking on another wife whthout her consent, right to have her husband or brother fully cover all her financial needs from their own money ..NB. Islam gave women more rights than "western" women enjoyed until only 50 years ago, and in many countries until today.-
I understand why the Friday speech and prayer is led by a man, and if you think it's racist, please point me to where I can find the name of the last woman that held the Pope position, and the name of the church where the sermon is led by a nun. And as far as I know female Rabbis are hard to find!-
One Pissed Arab

I highlighted part of this post because American readers are not apt to catch the argument. When we look at Arab society, all we see is a male-centric society that keeps its women in an alien condition akin to "barefoot and pregnant." By filtering what we read through a politically correct interpretation, it is easy to presume that those who fail to match our own understanding of women's equality must be primitive, in need of correcting. It is worth noting that Bahrania entered the first comment on the thread and agreed with what he had said! And she doesn't strike me as a milquetoast kind of kid.

1 comment:

Bahrania said...

Hi Hoots,

Thanks for you're kind words and for taking the time to read and follow the blogs on the 'shore of the blogosphere'. You don't have a shortage of blogs in the US, but here in the Gulf, bloggers are an endangered species!!