Jan 31, 2011

China and Iran Censor News from Egypt

As Egypt uprising enters its seven day and makes its way to the entire Middle East, some countries already shocked and have fears that their citizens might be provoked against their governments. Chinese government has already started blocking micro-blogs that talk about Egyptian unrest.

At the same time, Iranian government enforced censorship of the news from Egypt on its news channels. Not only news channels forced to censor news from Egypt, the Iranian regime also blocked he BBC and social networks Facebook and Twitter.

For the last days, hundreds of Iranian bloggers were also complaining about news channels that they abstained publishing images of protesters in Egypt. They also have been saying that the Iranian news channels incessantly called the Egyptian uprising an Islamic movement against corruption, secularism and against the government which was pro-Israel and the United States.

On popular community website "balatarin" Iranian bloggers discuss that for the last 48 hours, Iranian TV channels talked about the Muslim Brotherhood and called them the right party to take control of the country.

Jan 29, 2011

Head rush on the Middle East

For the last days, I have been kept saying that uprising became a trendy in the entire Middle East. The Tunisian revolution emulated by Egyptian protesters and today the Egyptian unrest is entering to its fifth day. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak sacked his government after four days of street protests. Today, he named the intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as his first ever vice-president in order to control the situation. As pressure is mounting for President Mubarak due to widespread demonstrations against his government, perhaps, the Western world would ponder and wonder what is next and what they would expect out of all these upheavals in the Middle East.

We should keep in mind that we will be witnessing lots of changes in the Middle East in new future. Today, the Tunisian uprising not only inspired Egyptian citizens but also Yemenis. Yemenis already started a similar act against their government, according to New York Times, thousands of people rallied on the streets against their government.

Egyptians deserve a better government, a country that had been a cradle of human civilization has been under a tyrannical regime that suppressed religious minorities and disregarded the freedom of speech for its citizen.

Henceforth, the Middle East issues will be part of my focuses and I will be updating this blog and take the view that relates to my Middle East and North African class. This includes politics and media. I have to confess that the recent issues although seems pretty much clear what's going on but honestly I am flummoxed like everyone else out there. But one thing makes me secure that what is happening in the Middle East is not spatially, it is palpable and understandable. We need to sharpen our ears and minds in order to peer on facts and latching onto issues that interest us.

Jan 28, 2011

Blogging workshop photos in slide show

Here are some pictures in slide show that I've been taking for past years, roughly between 2003 and 2009. Most of those recent-uploaded pictures are from my workshops that I have been teaching blogging and online journalism for Afghan youth. The workshops have sporadically been taking place between 2006 and 2009. I thought it worth to put them in slide here on my blog as to showcase my works on digital Afghanistan. I'm still working on a project to develop blogging in Afghanistan, hopefully, soon, I will come out with some good news.

Anyhow, I'm inviting you to observe these picture from very a volatile and insecure zone like Helmand to quite secure places like Herat, Bamiyan, Kunduz and Kabul.

Jan 21, 2011

Afghan journalist attacked with acid

Let me begin by saying this that Afghanistan is not a safe place for journalists, writers and bloggers. If you think you are safe you must be either supported by the government or some Islamic radical factions otherwise you are on your own and always exposed to different kinds of dangers.

Just a few days ago I heard Razaq Mamoon was attacked by an unknown assailant who sprayed acid on his face. I worked with him for a year; I was astonished by his capability and talent. He is not simply a journalist; he is a novelist and a great playwright. In his interview with the media, he accused Iranian intelligence service has hand in the assault. He has been criticizing Iran over a number of issues. Recently, he wrote a book about Ahmad Shah Massoud’s assassination, he claimed in his book that Iran was involved Massoud’s killing.

Karzai condemned the attacked and asked promised that his government will investigate the case. I’m having doubt that Karzai have a memory. When Samad Rohani, the BBC reporter was killed in 2008, in Helmand, he published the same statement and even made a committee to investigate Abdul Samad Rohani’s murder. Going back to 2007, in a span of just one week, two female journalists have been killed. President Karzai told to media the same words that repeated just yesterday in Mamoon’s case.

Jan 11, 2011

Bugs In Your Food

How about having a few bugs in your food every so often? A few fly heads mixed up with your pasta or salad, or maybe those insects that eat in your flower gardens, how about adding to your dinner some cicadas that send out a deafening high-pitched shrill from your garden trees - that would also get rid of them and their shrill?

Well, perhaps, you may know that it is said that bugs are almost pure protein. There are many people in the world who are consuming bugs as part of their daily meal. It happened throughout history and happens today in many cultures. But there are also many cultures in the world in which eating insects are considered foul and disgusting.

Well, the use of this pretext is to demonstrate a gross experience I had today. Last night, my host family brought an Indian spicy food from a local Indian restaurant called “Tiffin”. We ate most of it and I quite liked the taste. Today, after an intense workout, I warmed up the leftover and started eating with big desire. After a few bites, I suddenly felt something unusual, something a bit hard and crunchy. Abruptly, I felt a strange and horrible taste in my tongue that has rarely happened in my lifetime. I immediately spat the food out in disgust and saw a huge blackish bug that still had its legs and its head. Arghhh, I’m spitting since then, almost running out of spit now. I lost my appetite and I’m trying to remember delicious food that I have eaten but it doesn’t help to regain my appetite.