Reflections on the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting #AB11

The Stragglers, 3rd Arab Bloggers Mtg #AB11

Some of us are only still finding our way home, but we’re looking forward to reading what everyone has to say since the meeting in Tunis. Meanwhile, here are excerpts from two thoughtful entries about what the Arab Bloggers Meeting means.

From Sudanese Thinker, now publicly known as Amir Ahmad Nasr (Drima), a touching post that ends on a personal note of self-empowerment. Read the whole post!

To truly begin to understand the significance of the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting that just took place in Tunisia, you first have to make yourself familiar with what happened two years ago in December 2009 during the 2nd Arab Bloggers Meeting in Beirut.

Back then, in the words of the late Steve “Abdulfattah” Jobs, we were “the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

We were crazy enough to think we could change the world. Crazy enough to think we could change things in our societies, some things, anything. But as crazy as we were, I don’t think any of us imagined in 2009 that we’d be meeting again in the capital of what then used to be one of the most Internet-restricting dictatorships on the planet.

Fast-forward nearly two years later and that’s precisely what happened. We met in Tunisia, and a lot has indeed changed. So much in fact that it took us all by surprise. And you know what? It’s one of the best damn feelings anyone can experience.

And here is the conclusion of Syrian Yazan Badran’s great piece on The Guardian’s “Comment is Free” site:

The challenges facing each country in the post-revolution Arab world will be complex, but not dissimilar, whether in Syria – where the revolution is yet to find its final conclusion – or in Tunisia, where elections will take place in just two short weeks, and our roles as bloggers in the coming process of nation-building will have to be adapted to these new realities.

New spheres of expression, long closed and forbidden to us, are now open. Reclaiming, defending and efficiently utilising these spaces to debate and promote our visions of the new Arab world will be our most immediate task. Also vital to our upcoming challenges is establishing a culture of openness and transparency, something that will require us to overcome years of forced secrecy and anonymity in the Arab world.

We are hopeful that when we leave Tunis and go back to our respective bases, we’ll bring with us not only the sense of solidarity and comradeship that we’ve seen in every corner of the Arab world, but also a workable vision that we can all set upon.

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