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Blogging for Change

I’ve seen some skepticism about whether blogging can be an effective force for change in Morocco or in the Arab world, because bloggers are a tiny minority and the political class isn’t listening to them. I’ll have more to say about this soon, but for now I want to present to you the article On Online Activism by the blogger Saudi Jeans.

As his name implies, he is from Saudi Arabia, yet despite the fact that things are much tougher in Saudi Arabia than they are in Morocco in terms of censureship or social freedoms, he is fairly optimistic. He understands that the goal of blogging is not to directly challenge the political system, but rather, to change the way people think and live in small ways. Even a small change can become a big one if it catches on!

    One of the things I like about Saudi blogs is that they are encouraging people to work together in order to reach goals. Unfortunately, we lack the concept of “collective action” in our country, but I hope that blogging will help to change that. The social networking aspect of blogging can play a big role in building recognition of such concept, through groups of bloggers who work together in what can be called “online activism.”

By “online activism” he means putting ideas to work in the community. As an example, he mentions a campaign that a fellow blogger has started, to insist that store owners return the correct change after a purchase, instead of keeping it. This goal, while small in itself, teaches people collective action, which is a value that can transform society.

    Many of the problems with our society is related to the fact that people don’t care. As long as they can get what they want, many of them don’t care about anybody and anything else. If everyone only looked after his own interest, ignoring the greater good, what kind of society are we going to live in? I would die a happy man if blogs could increase awareness on the importance of values such as collective action, freedoms, plurality, etc. We have the potential and we have the tools. We just need to get started, and hopefully someday in the near future we will get there.

The very fact that we are discussing social problems and what to do about them is already a step forward. The next step is putting our ideas to work in the community we live in. If each of us acts in his or her own community, and we share our experiences of what works and what doesn’t, we will establish an collective knowledge that becomes more and more influential over time. In sociology there is something called the tipping point. When enough water has accumulated behind a dam, a single drop is all it takes to burst the dam and cause a flood of change. That is what we as bloggers are doing, adding water drop by drop.


Comment from omarsoft
Time: December 11, 2006, 11:20

I think blogging is gonna be a new success story in morocco such as celular phones,because of the fact that we’re sociable people’n we like discussions.
Now,I’m not sure that the blogoma is enough mature to implement such campaigns.But it’s starting,and t’s gonna developp quickly..

Comment from adel
Time: December 11, 2006, 12:13

I still don’t understand why blogma’s community should be sort of social movement, blogma is just great as it is!

Blog is just personal-homepage done right! leave politics to experts and let’s have fun as social

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 11, 2006, 15:14

@Adel — Who are the “experts”? I think that’s my point, that the experts can’t be trusted. Have the politicians in Morocco, or anywhere else, done a good job without scrutiny from us? We the citizens have a duty to shine a light in the dark corners of politics, or things start going wrong.

My question is, can blogs and the internet, with the tranaparency they bring, help prevent a repetition of the “Years of Lead”? Can they help prevent the U.S. from attacking Iran like it did Iraq?

Of course, this is voluntary. No one’s going to drag you away from what you’re doing and make you get involved in politics! This isn’t the army. But you’ve already said on your blog that you’re working for “freedom.” What you write about there, even when you’re just having fun, sometimes tests the boundaries of what it is possible to talk about in public. So I think you’re contributing already.

@Omar — I think it needs to build on a solid analysis, and I see a lot of excellent political analysis in the Moroccan blogosphere, such as Larbi, Nadia Lamlili, Ibn Kafka, “Pensez à haute voix—I have links to them all here. I agree that it’s a question of maturity. And it’s up to us to move things forward!

@tous — Je vous invite à intervenir en français si vous seriez plus à  l’aise.

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