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Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza: Voices from the Arab Blogosphere (and beyond)

It's undeniable that the internet has changed the face of global politics. Not only does it allow rapid mobilisation of protests and fundraising, but it provides a source of alternative, informed perspectives and on-the-ground accounts by citizen journalists, photojournalists and bloggers. The Arab blogosphere, as aggregated everyday on toot reads and Global Voices, and as charted in The Blogging Revolution, has responded to the attacks on Gaza with not only opinion and emotion, but by using blogging technology to share and aggregate information, and to organise the online community. We are now not only spectators, as John Berger writes in a letter to today's Guardian, but correspondents.

Updated 30/12/08:

Saying, "I haven't used this blog for activism before, and I may not again. But for now, there is information below on how to demonstrate, donate, and write letters," Qunfuz posts a list of London-based demonstrations, charities and NGOs accepting donations, and details of political actions and contacts for politicians. He also reproduces a letter from today's Guardian, written by the critic, novelist and humanitarian John Berger:
"We are now spectators of the latest - and perhaps penultimate - chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.

Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed. The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.

This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less - with marginal questioning - mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it - is one of history's ironic jokes. There's no laughter anywhere. We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.

Let's do so."

John Berger
27 December 2008

William Bowen's Creative-I Palestine page offers an excellent, and constantly updated, digest of non-mainstream online sources on the attacks on Gaza, including casualty reports, humanitarian and protest appeals, articles, photoblogs, and more.

Blogger Sameh Habeeb -- interviewed on CNN yesterday -- is using crowd-powered news site Now Public to flag articles as and when he has internet access.

Palestine Blogs feed aggregator gathers posts from enrolled blogs around the world, including Mounadil al-Djazaïri and Umkahlil.

Human Rights Tools gathers posts from nasrawi, From Gaza With Love, and Live From Palestine.

Ayesha Saldanha at Global Voices has a round-up of vivid and moving accounts by Palestinian bloggers, while the site also collects messages of solidarity from Lebanese bloggers and Egyptian bloggers.



Global Voices has a round-up of Syrian posts (and of Israeli posts), as well as posts from Palestinian bloggers in Gaza and elsewhere. GV also has a fascinating Twitter round-up.

Meanwhile the BBC gathers op-ed from Middle East newspapers. Kabobfest has Al-Jazeera videos and solidarity from the Zapatistas. Jordanian blogger Jad Madi has suggestions and links on fundraising for Gaza. Body on the Line and The Other Side, Westerners currently on the ground, both offer eye-witness reports, as does photojournalist and peace activist Sameh Habeeb. Robin Yassin-Kassab (qunfuz) entitles his post "Besieged", and links to Sara Roy's essay "If Gaza Falls..." (London Review of Books). And the Guardian post that, Ramzy, a young teacher in Gaza, has made a podcast on an independent student website, MideastYouth.com

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