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A United Front: Bloggers for Gaza

January 22, 2009 by  


By Sumayyah Meehan MMNS Middle East Correspondent

 

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Just one of the innumerable worldwide protests against Israel’s war on Gaza held in Doha.

Israel’s war of Gaza has ended, but the carnage left behind remains to tell the tale of the horrors unleashed against a civilian population of Palestinians. The death toll rises as more bodies are found underneath the rubble and, so far, the governments of the world continue in their seemingly indifference to the Israeli aggressions.

However, citizens from all over the world have taken the good fight online to the blogosphere to keep the plight of Gaza in the spotlight. Bloggers based in Saudi Arabia started what is being touted as the ‘electronic jihad’ this past December after a large Gaza protest was dispersed by police using rubber bullets and tear gas. Taking their anger and resentment online has proven to be the best course of action and has received a wider audience than could ever have been imagined.
Saudi Arabia is ranked number 37 on the list of countries with the most Internet usage by the populace, with an estimated 6.2 million Internet users in 2007 alone. Saudi bloggers are able to transcend all obstacles online, which would otherwise stand in their way during a real life protest. Information on the Internet if free flowing and cannot be distorted or twisted as it has been in some media outlets. The reach is also immeasurable as the truth about what happened in Gaza is shared with the world. A great deal of time and energy has gone into the content on these sites, which are very sleek and user-friendly. The graphic designs alone, on many of these blogs, immediately capture the reader’s attention. The most popular graphic to date has been of the Israeli flag burning in a flash of flames.

Ever since the siege on Gaza began, Saudi bloggers have been uploading photos and videos of the death, destruction and utter mayhem. Contributors have also been submitting caricatures of the siege along with cartoons of various world leaders who have done nothing to assist the Palestinians. The response has been overwhelming with many blogs receiving hundreds of thousands of ‘hits’ a day. And at each one of these blogs, visitors are asked to sign a petition denouncing Israel’s war against Gaza.

Perhaps what is most unique about the Saudi blogs is that content is offered in several different languages to ensure that the message is ‘heard’ around the world without the barrier of language. Some languages represented include Spanish, French, Chinese and Russian. Visitors can also leave comments in their own languages.

One of the most popular of all the blogs representing the electronic intifada, is www.gazatalk.com. It has shared video of global protests around the world and scenes from the destruction of Gaza. Currently, the blog has uploaded videos of how the Gazans are moving on today as they bury their dead and salvage whatever they can out of the rubble. However, one of the most popular features is a top ten list that teaches readers how they can get involved to help the people of Gaza. The tips range from recommending that people microblog on the social networking site Twitter to opening up their very own blog on Gaza complete with a death toll widget courtesy of Al-Jazeera television.

Blogging about the siege on Gaza has proven to be the safest way to launch a protest in the virtual world not only for Saudis, but everyone who has a blog. With more and more global internet users getting their information online, instead of from more traditional media, there is a golden opportunity for the truth to not only be told, but to be heard.

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