The Arabs are coming! The Arabs are coming!

Arab dissident bloggers make the LA Times! Discarded Lies links to a story on anti-regime bloggers in the Arab world. Evariste writes:
It's interesting to read about how dissident Arab bloggers are networking and making the promise of the world wide web-unstoppable freedom-come true. Their tenacity in overcoming heavy-handed state censorship is admirable and courageous.

From the LA Times article by Megan K. Stack:
"The government gives herself the right that she's more mature than you," an indignant Abdel Nour said on a recent morning as sunlight flooded his apartment in Damascus, the Syrian capital. "She will decide for you which site you can see and which is forbidden."

A 40-year-old gadfly and childhood friend of President Assad, Abdel Nour had been courting trouble for months. His writings call for the dismissal of officials, citing them by name and listing their shortcomings. He castigates Syrian intelligence and scoffs at the Baath Party, even though he is a member. By his count, his vitriol reaches 15,200 readers every day.

"They [government officials] are very much angry because they don't have any qualified people or intellectual people to respond or explain or defend," Abdel Nour said. "So they just stand there taking bullets, with nothing to respond. They've never had this situation before."

Abdel Nour fought the crackdown.

Nadz hands out the awards. Palestinian-American blogger Nadz passes out the Mad Mullah Awards:
I was going to do this at the end of the year, but we have witnessed so much stupidity, misogyny and religious fanaticism that I couldn't resist doing an early roast of the people I love to hate. So, without further ado, I bring you the Mad Mullah Awards!

Go to the link for the lucky winners in the Leftist-Nutcase, Leftist-Nutcase-Tools, Sexist-Blame-Rape-Victims, Cheerleader-for-Patriarchy, and other coveted awards.

Sandmonkey takes on stupidity. Egyptian Sandmonkey isn't impressed with the Christian values displayed by the Ontario Christian School, which expelled a 14-year-old student for having lesbian parents: 'What the girl had to do with her "parents" sinful lifestyle is beyond me. What was she supposed to do, force them to seperate? Preach every day to them? She is 14. Not to mention, Mr. Christian teacher, do you realize what opprutunity you lost yourself here? Here is someone who, according to you, lives in a sinful household. Do you reach out and try to "save her"? Nope, You kicked her out and sent her back in it. I am sure that's what Jesus would've done, no? All I see is stupidity around me!' There's some relief from the stupidity, though, when Sandmonkey posts his favorite hawk sighting.

What do Egyptians really think? Freedom for Egyptians has some answers:
But in fact, I do not think that the US is unpopular, it is extremely popular that if a traffic light in Egypt stops working, many would lay the blame on the US. As when any earthquake happens in Egypt, they believe that the US is supporting Israel to do the nuclear tests that would shake our Egypt. The earthquake is tailored in a very special way that does not shake Israel. And they do not ask why the US is not capable of stopping any California earthquakes? The answer is pretty simple; it is the earth not the US that takes the liberty in moving in some areas. There are hundreds if not thousands of situations when the US has to stand as the sole reason behind anything. If a woman cannot get pregnant it is because the US gave Israel a spray (could be a pesticide or even a perfume) to export to Egypt to prevent women from conceiving. Yes, it gets funnier by the minute.

But this does not mean that Egyptians do not like the US but actually they are obsessed by the US. It was so funny to see all those Egyptians that literally talk about the American elections more than about our referendums. They talk about President Bush more than about President Mubarak. The only thing they do not do is that they do not go to the polling stations with the Americans. ...

Ignatius said in his article “Indifference is not an American trait. Part of our Benjamin Franklin heritage of industry and self-improvement is that we want to be admired, applauded -- and, yes, loved.” And I would add something else that should make us believe in the US whic also intrigues me if does not leave me stunned is that the US is among very few countries if not the only one that succeeded in bringing hundreds of nationals from all over the world where everyone feels home. Arabs are very nationalistic people, hence they fail to see other peoples’ best. The US brought the best from all over the world to live under one flag.

The reason of the “unpopularity” of the US is that many Egyptians believe that their oppressors and US are one. ...

Read the rest at the link.

Miss Mabrouk: What's going on? Ritzy wants to know what's going on in those madrassas: 'Where is that hand going? I really don't know what is going on here or where Dangerous got the picture from. Just as worrying is this report ...' Go to the link for the disturbing photo, and the report on Islamic schools. Also, read Ritzy's post on Sharon.

Amsterdam nights. Mahmood has a video blog from Amsterdam.

The sweet taste of exile. Syrian heretic Amarji writes about Day 17 in Washington, DC: 'On the Seventeenth Day of Exile my True Love brought to me ingredients for a traditional Syrian dish. Oh I absolutely adore my One True Love. Indeed, this is our seventeenth day in Washington DC and exile couldn’t smell or taste any sweeter. But this is only “me” talking – I who logs my exile around like a cross, a simultaneously cherished and reviled possession. For Khawla, too, exile is a cross. To her, I am a cross, it seems. Years ago, when we first met, I doubt she knew that one day she would have to pay this price for our love. I hope it was worth it. I hope I was worth it. I know I have to spend the rest of my life showing her that it/I was worth it. But that is not too much of a cross really. It feels more like the natural commitment that comes with marriage ...'

Driver needed: The road of Good Intentions. The Religious Policeman posts excerpts from a would-be suicide bomber:
You remember Ahmad, our young failed suicide bomber , the one who was still waiting for his brain cells to be delivered? Well, the good news is that he's now appeared on Saudi TV, to tell us his heroic tale. (Thanks to "Ash" for this news and URL). If you go to the MEMRI site, you can see the full interview, with subtitles, and a transcript.

The interview is obviously intended to deter future wannabe Jihadis, by showing them the terrible fate that can befall them. After all, they might get a bit singed round the extremities, but they'll end up in this extremely nice hospital room, with their own telephone, and a big bunch of flowers. In fact I would hazard a guess that it's one of the really nice military hospitals, it's certainly better than my memories of the best civilian hospital in Riyadh, the Kingdom hospital. And the interviewer is very nice as well, doesn't ask him any nasty questions, even when Ahmad trots out what you can see on the screen, "my intentions were good". ...

As always, read the whole thing at the link.

Highlander is a woman blogger in Libya. In this post, she goes snooping around the Libyan blogs: 'Being the eternal sleuth as usual ;) I went on a search for some more Libyan blogs for my dear readers . Because you don't want to have only my opinion about all things Libyan don't you ? That won't be fair or balanced ... but also because I'm curious about my fellow Libyans. Well a fresh crop of blogs have turned up, I arbitrarily chose the most interesting among them to display here , the rest will be advertised when they start updating - not just having a "testing" sign on their website...' Go to the link for the rest, and don't forget to blogroll Highlander "From the Rock" - she's joining our blogroll now.