Blogs… should they? Shouldn’t they?

A few minutes ago, I came across an interesting Post in Manal and Alaa’s Blog. Apparently, an article written in the Egyptian Daily, The Daily Star, on the 1st of this month ,criticized Manal and Alaa’s Blog as being “self-important, self-indulgent and incoherent”, in addition to other points. I found the link for the article (which I included here) and promptly clicked on it and read the article in full.

Apparently, the article was an attempt, by its author, to offer an opinion on blogs in Egypt, albeit a short one. Having read the article, which was entitled “Local bloggers offer the constructive, the amusing and the pointless” and written by a Mr. Tarek Shahin, there are a few points that I would like to put forward.

First of all, it appears to me that Mr. Shahin (whom I personally know and would consider a friend) should have research the issue a tad bit more before commenting as he did. He makes it a point to mention that…

While freedom of expression is sacred, one takes exception to a few local blogs, not because they have gone too far in terms of boldness (there is no such thing), but in terms of silliness and futility. They are simply ramblings that are best kept in a notebook under a bed, not shared with the world.

I realize there are no rules to which bloggers should adhere and I make no foolish attempt to impose any, but in my humble opinion as a reader, a good blog is one which masterfully expresses a whole set of thoughts and emotions within an independently set theme.

I will not claim to know the inner thoughts and ideas of Mr. Shahin, nor will I stoop to a level of pretentiousness to strike down his ideas as being absolutely incorrect or mistaken, but through his phrasing of his opinions in such a manner as to make them appear as facts, he seemingly unilateraly decides on which blogs are deemed ‘worthy’ and which are not.

I think that people have to keep in mind that when the concept of “web logs” was first used, they were used as personal diaries where people’s thoughts and ideas were transmitted electronically across the globe. To say that everyone’s thoughts and way of thinking in general are organized and follow “an independently set theme” would be be naive. I do not mean to insinuate that Mr. Shahin is naive, merely that blogs offer a “purer” representation of people’s mind processes than, let’s say, BBC Online.

This takes me to my second point; that Mr. Shahin, and according to what I infered from his opinion piece, expects Blogs to be much like an academic paper, a Master’s thesis, an investigative reporting article or even a published opinion piece like his own; clear, organized and coherent with a set theme and obvious points being made. I think that’s being too harsh.

To me, Blogs are the best of both the worlds of personal webpages and online forums; they allow the owner/contributor to post/publish their thoughts on whichever issues they wish to put forward and, at the same time, recieve feedback which can be discussed and criticized. Even more, Blogs have come to be accepted as a means through which one can express their opinion on certain issues and not hold to accepted standards of journalism and not have to endure the cuts of the keen editing sword; they are one’s personal opinion after all.

I personally found it ironic that two out of the seven blogs that Mr. Shahin mentioned are linked to from my own Blog; Manal and Alaa’s Bit Bucket and Baheyya. Obviously, and if you let your eyes stray to the sidebar on the left, I enjoy the content of these blogs and believe them to be of value to me (and have faith that they could be of value to others). In all fairness, their methods of presenting information are different both content and design-wise. The irony I mentioned lies in the fact that Mr. Shahin has Baheyya’s site as an example of a “beautifully written blog” while his description of Manal and Alaa’s I’ve already mentioned before.

Now, and in all fairness, I understand that Mr. Shahin was discussing his own particular views, he doesn’t need to say them word for word in order for me to understand that. It is my belief that he should have researched beyond the regular known blogs in student circles. Blogs in Egypt, as with most things internet in developing countries, are known and visited because of word-of-mouth advertising or information passed on. This is, of course, they have been mentioned in the mainstream media which automatically gets them more attention and exponential hits.

If you wish to find more Egyptian Blogs, I’ll start you out with a few sites you could visit:

The Egyptian Blogger Ring


Manal and Alaa’s Aggregator

Al Bab’s List of Blogs (Egyptian & Arab)


That was to get you started. There are definitely many more Blogs that originate from Egypt that will not be found in Blog directories simply because their owners haven’t listed them.

And that’s the way I see it.


One thought on “Blogs… should they? Shouldn’t they?

  1. my main beef with your friend is that it doesn’t look like he put in an effort at all, he commented on two posts from gayash as if they represent the whole blog and obviously did not bother spending some effort checking the other posts, he somehow managed to miss the 5seconds redirect in africano and got the old address (which means he either spent less than 5 seconds there, or checked on single blogpost, or looked at it a loooong time ago).

    I also hate the fact that he portrayed as trying to be the voice of the whatever we never made such stupid claims. and maybe he should have spent some effort in trying to understand why arguably better bloggers link to us.

    /me hates journalists

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