If you’ve been a reader of this blog for more than a year then you might remember that I wrote a lengthy essay on the occasion of its first anniversary. Two years have passed since I first started blogging but I promise not to make a big deal out of it this time. Instead I will share my thoughts about the phenomenon of blogging, for it still is an infant trend in this part of the world. I will focus on
Syrian bloggers have persisted because they are reading each other. I believe this is the only reason which has kept us going in addition to “enlightened and/or open-minded” international readers/bloggers. From my own observation during my tenure the number of non-Arabic Syrian blogs has increased moderately then eventually leveled off. The founders have been writing significantly less, if at all. The newcomers are naturally more enthusiastic and prolific, while those like me, who fall somewhere in the middle, are more parsimonious and frugal in the frequency of their postings. In my case, my career has taken a bend and has become more consuming of my energy and more demanding of my time. When I don’t make an entry for over a week guilt creeps up on me. Yet I never felt that blogging is a burden. On the contrary it’s indeed an exceptional delight. Despite very encouraging and sincere words of praise from fellow bloggers my writing is giving ME the greatest amount of joy.
There are many more Syrian blogs being written in Arabic today then say a year ago. They too failed to infiltrate the cultural scene in any significant way. I truly believe that some of the best contemporary writing in
Our work has not gone unnoticed as some of us might think. Blogspot was not blocked because two or three bloggers went too far. Blogging was and is regarded as a movement and we are all too aware of how movements are dealt with in the Arab world in general. Any progressive trend will be immediately met by two redoubtable adversaries, the political regime(s) and the religious institution(s). “Progressive” in my last sentence shouldn’t be considered as a mere adjective. It’s irreplaceable in the context of my argument. A spiritual yet humanly void trend is welcomed by the religious establishment and tolerated by the region’s governments. A politically nonsensical and obstinate position or a cowardly reptilian and compromising attitude are not only acceptable by the correlated regimes but are also praised during Friday Khoutbas and Sunday masses. A progressive trend is one which does not appeal to either of these two absolute obsoletes. Blogging as such, even in the presence of political conformists and religious subservients is a tidal wave of unpredictable behavior. Thus and despite various degrees of severity in dealing with bloggers, this emerging group of “intellectuals” constitute a clear and present danger to the torpid Arabic status quo.
In this respect, blogs written in Arabic could eventually instigate much needed social change before their counterparts written in foreign languages as long as they don't approach the reader from a patronizing vantage point. I for one write in English because I believe that my message (for lack of a more appropriate word) should be delivered to others. Even when I dive deep in the realm of the ridiculous or skim the essence of truth promoting
We have a powerful medium in our hands. We are talented, full of potential and most notably we are not writing to make a living. Not that there is anything wrong with being a professional writer or author but what I meant was that we are writing for the right reason and that is because we love it. We have not made our presence felt yet but we ought to. We owe it to ourselves and to others to make a dent on more than one level. Basically, as I’ve indicated earlier, our complacency is a natural result to the fact that we have no competition in the form of the printed essay. Our government has taken every measure to marginalize us. The vast majority of people and most Syrian internet users are totally oblivious to blogging. This second group, for a starter, should be our immediate target audience. We should bridge the divide between Arabic and non-Arabic blogs and websites. There is a certain trace of suspicion, of aversion, if I may say so, between practitioners of Arabic and non-Arabic writing. Every single Syrian blog I’ve read and followed, with the exclusion of a very few, has something positive within its folds. But here we are, standing on either side of the river bank, too timid to take the first step, the all important initial plunge toward integration. I will be criticizing myself when I say that even the commentators are two distinct groups as I’ve rarely left a comment on a Syrian blog written in Arabic. It is understandable that some of us are masters of only a single language; however, this is not an absolute truth. Therefore, my resolution for this third year is to start getting more involved with blogs written in Arabic. It is not enough that I read them; I should start making a habit of commenting on them as well. I wouldn’t go as far as pledging to write in Arabic one day, although I see nothing wrong with that if a person has the knack, the time and the flair to pursue this ambitious double course.
I will put this matter to rest by appealing to all inactive or dormant bloggers to return. We are up to something and we should make every effort in continuing a very promising endeavor. We, at this juncture, might fall short of making an iconic impact on society but our inner circle is in dire need of both vertical and horizontal expansions. We should write more and to more people. The topics we choose to write about is not what really matters. As long as we don’t intentionally pursue silencing or patronizing those we disagree with we are on the right course. I’m a firm believer that not all words are created equal but in the end every single word counts. To create, to promote to build a body of literature we need plenty of spirit. I see a better future for all of us in blogging and I’m making an ultimate plea to all and especially to those with abundant talents and colorful stories to get into action again. I look forward writing for a third year in a row but more importantly I’m excited to keep reading your fabulous, enriching, inspiring and intellectually stimulating blogs.
Thank you all for being a part of “my” reading conscience.