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Defending the Blogosphere

Farid of Le magazine des blogs au Maroc defends the Moroccan blogosphere, which is apparently under attack from both the right (Islamists) and left (socialists). By the way, the Islamist-Marxist divide on university campuses in Morocco ensures that student debate there remains mired in stupidity, with the two ideologies in a perpetual shouting match. Bloggers have a chance to change that, which may be why they’re ruffling feathers.

Strangely, journalists use the same attack tactics against blogs here in the U.S.

    Approximations, inexactitudes, near-misses and shortcuts. …an article on the blogosphere totally lacking in sense, based on the approximations of a journalist who is treating a subject that is surely beyond his qualifications.
    Moroccan blogs exist, we have seen them and many are of excellent quality! The shortcuts taken by this lazy journalist are regrettable and demonstrate a profound ignorance of blogs. When one doesn’t know one’s subject, tragically one ends up writing whatever comes into one’s head, and loses a great opportunity to shut up.

He quotes this sample of the so-called journalist’s judgement:

    “Do [Moroccan blogs] represent the beginning of an era characterised by war, sex, satanic music, pot, dancing, deviance and political prostitution?”

This was in a socialist newspaper, which says something about the pathetic state of the left in Morocco (see Doga’s article from two days ago). In the comments, blogger B2 gives this spirited response:

    Now where’s the sense in any of that? I’ve never been fond of the Moroccan press (most of it) because of such articles, which only plunge people (those who don’t take the time to look around and to think) into false ideas and prejudices of all sorts!
    Anyway, let them say what they want, the important thing is that we know where the truth is :D… the fact that our Moroccan youth is blogging is a very good sign… we’re making itself heard all over the world… so long as we keep our solidarity and stay strong…

To which “notre univers à la fac” (“our universe on campus”) adds:

    Before joining the blogosphere, I was sad because I thought our young people were truly pathetic, without anything to say… but when I discovered it, it warmed my heart and filled me with pride… I told myself, so that’s where our intelligence has been hiding itself!
    Judging us this way can only be justified by the low nature of this person, who lets himself make such an accusation, supported only by what he wants to see, at a time when Morocco really needs to have faith in its youth… US!!!

I want to recommend the blog of the above-mentioned B2, a young man from Agadir who, to me, represents the best spirit of Moroccan youth. Check him out right away if you read French! For example his latest effort, Another Lonely Day, or his discovery of the pleasures of serendipity, Breaking the Habit.


Comment from B2
Time: November 22, 2006, 06:02

How would an ambitious country like Morocco, develop end reach that level on the top … if we’re leaded by such those people !
They live With false ideas, and just spread them to ignorant and poor minds !
Well … as I said … let us stay strong … and keep our road to glory :) ..
It remembers me a song from Ben Harper … it’s called “People Lead” .. it speaks about leaderships … really interesting :)

Thank you for linking me on your blog :) .. that’s a honor for me !
I’ll add you to my blogroll ;) … it’s the best way to thank you !

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 22, 2006, 07:01

Thanks for being here, B2. The honor is mutual! Blogging is a “breath of fresh air” and I’m delighted to see it taking root in Morocco. Democracy only works if people talk to each other. And there is so much to say!

No generation can do everything, but we can all try to leave the world a little better than we found it. Maybe the internet will help us practice democracy, not as citizens of rich or poor nations, but of the planet.

Do you know what Gandhi said? “There go my people and I must follow, for I am their leader.” And that is happening now! Not for the first time, the people are ahead of their leaders.

I don’t know the song you mentioned, but I’m downloading it now….

Comment from B2
Time: November 22, 2006, 08:00

Yep !
We’re just tryin to improve our world … more love … more happiness … Leavin it better than how we found it … you’re definitely all right :) !

Enjoy the song ;)

Comment from Moh
Time: November 22, 2006, 20:57

Thanks for the scoop and the great links which I enjoyed.
I am not at all moved by who may say what about Moroccan blogs. That cat has left the bag a long time ago and does not even carry a passport.
Too bad for those who missed the bus including Mr Said who could not get his mouse click passed the ass thing.
Needless to say that socialists may be taking unnecessary risk by alienating Moroccan bloggers whose reach I believe goes far beyond the sales of an archaic paper whose time has gone leaving few diehards holding the bag.
Needless to say that it’s widely believed that blogs nowadays influence policy and have become the gage for lots of media outlets in the west. Telling ya the staff works, ask the folks at “Huffinghton Post”!
I am tempted to believe that Moroccan blogs (which I begun to read more and more) are gradually becoming the icebreaker in the Moroccan socio-political arena which remained frozen in time for so many decades.. Taboos are being dusted off, so labeled “red lines” are slowly vanishing and there is nothing anybody can do to contain the tsunami. Better get used to it Mr Said and alike and please surf safely.

Like your site!

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 22, 2006, 22:48

Thanks Moh for your visit. I believe that blogs can influence policy! It was blogs and not the “mainstream media” that “connected the dots” for people on some of the political abuses here in the U.S.—such as the way our president uses sympathiszers in the media to attack his critics, or the way the ignores the laws passed by Congress to claim a kind of absolute power for fighting “terrorists” (in quotes because some may really be terrorists, but how do we know for sure?).

I wonder how you think this might work in Morocco…!? In any case, it only works if bloggers are serious and do their research, just as professional journalists would—and if there is some connection to actions in the real world. For example, bloggers probably changed the results of our last elections, but only because they also made phone calls, organized their friends, had conferences, went to demonstrations… in other words, were visible to people who don’t read blogs.

Especially in Morocco, I think it is obvious. If half the people are illiterate, how many are reading blogs…!? So if bloggers want to make a change, it will take “outside” work as well. I’d be interested to hear people’s ideas about this.

Comment from Yahia
Time: November 23, 2006, 20:46

I agree with you B2 (once again?) about what you said in the first paragraph of your first comment. And I certainly like the discussion that followed.

I don’t know eatbees… When you see that 50% or more of moroccan people are illiterate, and only a small amount of people frequently reads blogs and know what they are about, you see that there is at best 0.5% moroccan people who are aware of this new media or just thing called “blog”.

And with all these journalists taking the lead to introduce blogs to general public as they see them, we are not really in advance.

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 24, 2006, 08:24

Yahia, I agree with you that in a society where so many people are illiterate, and so few can afford to spend time online, the effect of blogs will be limited — UNLESS bloggers communicate what they’ve learned to the rest of their communities — friends, family, neighbors, coworkers. If a single person tells ten people, and each tells ten people, then soon it is ten thousand! I think that in a place like Morocco, blogging can be a way to go around the official media and exchange ideas person to person. But it can’t stop there or it’s just a game of elites. It has to find ways to get engaged in the community. What do you think?

Comment from Yahia
Time: November 25, 2006, 08:45

Your ideas are correct, Eatbees.
I personally give friends and family my weblog’s address, but very few get in, and even fewer leave a word, just to participate in debates I launch.
The worse is that I show to people what it’s about, and they spontaneiously don’t like it. Why? Because it seems full of text without no images, no entertainment, etc.

For going around the the official media, that’s what happening in the developed countries. But all I’d have to say, and it’s the truth, is that countries like ours need a delay, before revolutions come to us. That’s how it has always been.

I’m not optimistic, I know that :)

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