A Rant on Arabian Blogosphere Wars

Is it just me or is there some sort of battle going on these days in the Arab blogosphere? Maybe it’s the weather. I don’t mean to get involved in the shenanigans; not that I’m playing righteous here, this is merely an observation (a closet-rant to be more specific). Before you condemn me, just hear me out for a second.

The battle seems to be between the left and right. Each seems to think very poorly of the other. The right can be described as more Arab nationalist, religiously conservative, traditionalists, while the left may be described as liberal, secular, feminist, ‘westernized’, etc. These are only some of the adjectives masquerading as insults that each side has described the other.

The problem though is that even when these two camps differ in opinion they hate each other’s guts. And I mean hate. No one says ‘you know what, I disagree with you but I don’t hate you for your opinion’. Generally these two camps go at each other’s throats full throttle. There is actual disdain shared between them. In real life and on the Internet.

The right sees the left as atheistic in nature and breaking with tradition. Not only breaking with it, but practically spitting on it. The left sees the right as backwards: religious (and therefore backwards), and traditionalist (and therefore backwards). The left is a camp which launches attacks onto everything that defines Arabs (and/or Muslims) and the right is trying to take us back to the dark ages. Tug of war.

What I’ve noticed as being the “big thing” is that the right sees the left as westernized agents seeking to overthrow anything and in the process removing everything (even the good stuff). The left sees that the right as unwilling to change anything and therefore sticking with everything (even the bad stuff).

I could be wrong; these are mere observations of a meek Arab blogger trying to make sense of his world…or blogosphere.

I like moderation. The cool thing about traveling down the middle road is that you get attacked by both camps. Sort of like a portrait and how everyone has their own perception of what it means. The left will think I am too right leaning and the right will think I’m too left leaning. I don’t mind. Moderation is always the healthiest approach to any belief or ideology or worldview in my opinion.

Why can’t we all just get along?

Let’s face it, the left got here first, planted their flag and they kind of feel threatened that the right has just discovered blogging and are now flooding the airwaves.

But do I have to point out the obvious?

This is the Internet: the biggest forum of ideas in the universe. There is enough room for all of us. There’s enough virtual land to go around. So everyone should just leave the other alone. If you don’t like what they say, screw it. You don’t have to write a long post attacking them on your own blog. I know, I know, Naseem you’re being self-righteous and you don’t have to read it if you don’t like it (these are the comments I’m half-expecting). But I don’t like the whole reality TV fad either and it annoys me even when I don’t watch! It’s like static you can’t block out. A bad piece of art in your home that you don’t have to look at…but you know it’s there.

I’m not saying anyone’s to blame; I’m not saying who started what. I’m just trying to say: why can’t we all just get along?

Maybe I’m wrong about all of this; I can admit that. All opinions can be argued. But I’m just hoping that despite what each camp likes to believe (or day dream about) our world, and indeed our blogosphere, is not about one opinion. It is pluralistic, that is the reality. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t argue so much in real (or virtual) life. And whether you live in a plural society or plural blogosphere the key (in my opinion) is to respect the fact that there is more than one idea out there and it doesn’t necessarily need to attack another idea to survive.

Just an opinion folks…take it with some moderation…please?


  • Nas, isnt this also the way it is in the real world?

    ya3ni I’m not seeing anything new :lol:, Internet is just a mirror of reality but manifested in another way.

    If we all agree on one thing, then there wouldnt be any diversity in the world and so we can jsut as well act as one person:)

    The only point I’d highlight is:that one should keep an open ear to the other even if one disagrees, you never know what you’ll benefit of your differences…

  • Elmo loves to share? LOL! I have to laugh, I watch Elmo every day. Little Sinan just LOVES the guy! When he comes on the boy just smiles from ear to ear.

    I am with you, I am right down the middle, hence I do get attacked from all sides, but that is fine, it comes with the territory. It is like the recent article about dating, some wanted to date freely, others were for arranged marriages, I was somewhere in the middle. The truth is always in the middle. As Muslims we are commanded to be in the middle.

    I dont get into the “hate” thing however. It just isnt helpful.

  • ohoud, yeah I guess you’re right but don’t you feel sometimes that the Internet has its benefits? I mean people have the luxury of just keeping to themselves and avoiding conflict. Yes, keep an open ear always.

    Abu Sinan, Elmo rocks!

    and so does the middle road 😀

  • Personally, i wouldnt hate someone for disagreeing with me.. Although, i wouldnt call myself a leftists, but for the sake of simplicity u can assume that im from that “camp”… Now, what i find unacceptable is the practice by the right to criminilize the left.

    I have nothing against the right “thinking” in a different way!! thats natural… but the right has many practices that goes beyond simple disagreeance; for example, the latest news shows how that afgani guy who converted his religion from islam is now sentenced to death…

    Liberals are out-lawed under religious laws, while religious people can live under liberal laws; thats why i generally tend to favor the liberal laws.

    As an example: Liberals give you the choice to sleep with your gf at anytime u want… So its up to you to choose if you wanna sleep with her before marriage or after it…. Now, if some religious guy decides not to sleep with some girl before marriage, he will not be sentenced to jail!! Liberals give people the choice, and even when those choices are not identical to the mainstream, u still have the choice to do things differently… My point is, if someone is religious, he has no right to force others to be religious as well; He is given the choice to act by his own bible, lets others be.

    In other words, i dont mind anyone having different set of ideas, but im totally against imposing those ideas on others…

    On a final note on the middle road u’r talking bout… I think if you chose to go on the middle ground in this field, then u obviously dont understand the concepts promoted by the left; Personally, my highest goal is the truth… There is no-middle ground in seeking the truth… Listening to you with your middle ground arguement is like hearing the arguement:
    I want to know part of the truth, but i dont mind buying a few lies as well…

    Truth hurts, but this doesnt mean we avoid it so as not to get hurt (at least i think so)…

  • Ay! That was a very, very refreshing read. Nas, you spoke my mind perfectly well. It’s really amusing to see how people like to hate each other for such trivial matters, and the paradox! Ah the paradox!

    I cannot see how a liberal would dare call him/herself as such when they go around tagging others and being, mind you, very UN-liberal by doing that. By the same token, it is silly to appoint one’s self as the “Highest Preacher of All Religion”, and move around like blindfolded sheep overlooking the simple facts of life that people have different opinions and you know, you can reach out to them rather than bashing them right left and centre.

    Elmo… We have an Elmo that speaks, he says: ” Elmo wants to go to the potty”, pause, ” Oh oh oh! Elmo needs to go”, pause, and finally “Oops! That was an accident!”.

  • Devil’s Mind:

    “There is no-middle ground in seeking the truthâ?¦ Listening to you with your middle ground arguement is like hearing the arguement: I want to know part of the truth, but i dont mind buying a few lies as wellâ?¦”

    lol what makes you think that the left is the “truth”? you explained how the right bash the left but i believe its mutual because the left can bash just as hard. truth is about perception and what one feels is right, so what you believe in may not be the absolute truth..nor is mine. thanks for you opinion.


    lol are you talking about an Elmo doll or a real Elmo?! 😀

  • I didnt say that the left is the truth; I what i mean is that ALL OPINIONS must be heard, because each one has a truth in it… so every opinion we depreciate is shunning part of the truth…

    Thats why freedom of speech, and free jornalling need to be supported (even when people have thing we dont like to say)… Thats my point!

  • Devil’s Mind, I see, my bad then. I must’ve misunderstood when you said “There is no-middle ground in seeking the truth”

    I do agree that all opinions should be heard and respected despite what we think about them.

  • Just as an elaboration, if you re-read the example i gave: I wouldnt say that sleeping with a girl before marriage is right, and after that is wrong; Nor did i say the oposite, that before is wrong, and after is right… No one has an authority to say whats right of them and whats not (although religious people argue that GOD has such authority); So the solution is to give people the CHOICE; if they see one version as being right, then they go for it… Thats what i am saying;;

    And what i am totally against is that one person thinks that one right, so they end up BANNING the other version…

    See my point? I am not saying that one of them is right.. i am saying that we need to be given the choice to pursue truth… Liberals DONT BAN religion, they only allow otherwise….

  • Devil’s Mind, I didn’t question you’re example. I wasn’t arguing that.

    There is a difference though. I believe in Islam that it is forbidden to have pre-marital sex, that’s a given. It’s a fundemental belief. It’s not up for debate in religious circles. So i won’t lie to you and say I don’t consider this to be the truth, because as you said God has the authority. But just because I consider this to be a truth does not mean that I am on the far right. But I do believe there is choice. I don’t go around condemning liberals for having premarital sex, they know both sides to the story and they’ve made their decision. Same goes with anything else. For example I a believe alcohol to be haram according to my religious beliefs, I don’t believe that state should go around closing all the stores in Jordan or form a moral police to go around beating people for drinking. Perhaps it should be regulated for the benefit of the general society, but im not going to go beating up on people who made their choice.

  • Exactly, quoting my self:
    “I have nothing against the right â??thinkingâ? in a different way!! thats naturalâ?¦ but the right has many practices that goes beyond simple disagreeance; ”
    “In other words, i dont mind anyone having different set of ideas, but im totally against imposing those ideas on othersâ?¦ ”

    so my arguement is: If you are a muslim and believe that pre-marital sex in wrong; You have the choice to refrain from it… I was never against what other people have opinions about, like yours…
    What i am against is having LAWS THAT BAN the other version…

    What i meant by “There is no-middle ground in seeking the truth” was that, we can say, we’d search for the truth with few “red-lines”; seeking that truth should have no red-lines

  • Nicely put. I would also say that all the voices in the middle are getting marginalized amdist it all… it seems there is no room for religious moderates for example, they get shunned from either side *poof* and disappear into the nether!

  • “but i believe its mutual because the left can bash just as hard”


    When was the last time a prominent lefty called for a mob to tear a person apart?

  • natalia, i’m talking when it comes to views and arguements. in real life yes the far (or extreme) right does have a mob mentality. i have never joined such voices but suffice to say I’ve been bashed by both extremes 😀

  • I’m new to your blog so I haven’t caught up on everything yet.

    The Arab blogoshpere seems to suffer the same malady as the bloggers in US. We are as polarized as you are. It may not seem like it to an outsider because our MainStreamMedia (MSM: TV, Hollywood and newsprint) is slanted to the left, so I doubt if outsiders hear what’s going on in America from the right.

    To hear the right in the US, you have to listen to talk radio. Actually talk radio isn’t right wing, but mostly center and right. It’s only by contrast with the MSM that the rightwing designation applies. The rightwing in the US, constantly battles with the leftwing over the appropriate application and interpretation of the US Constitution, and the role/duties/responsibilities of the federal government.

    Most people would regard me as rightwing (conservative), but I consider myself a traditionalist: I place Constitution nad America ahead of political party or ideology. A good number of people who listen to talk radio have similar considerations.

    I don’t think you will ever change the mind of someone who thinks with their heart.

    One thing about American debates; Although we might hate each other’s ideas and way of life, it’s not mandatory. In public debates or discussions, we usually (and grudgingly) respect the skill of our opponent if his argument is reasoned and supported by evidence. In other words most of the time we overcome the hatred, or put it aside temporarily.

    Over here the leftwing who is thought to have the “mob mentality.”

  • Nas,

    There is a toy Elmo, several of them, that speak. Tololy is talking about the Potty Elmo that tries to held teach kids how to go potty. We have a soft Elmo that is taller than Sinan and he speaks all sorts of stuff, they have a dancing Elmo, all sorts of stuff.

    I thought I’d never say this, but there are several of these kids shows I have started to really like! LOL!

  • Very well said, Nas. I don’t expect everyone to get along, but I do expect that people who appear to be educated will at least respect the rights of others to express their own opinions. When I read this kind of bickering and fighting, it reminds me of the guests on Aljazeera’s infamous talk shows who constantly yell at each other, raise their arms, and proceed to throw personal insults at one another. You would expect that people engaging in some kind of debate would exercise the most basic forms of respect to one another. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Thankfully, there are many Arab blogs that do not fall into those two categories and are indeed a breath of fresh air. Yours is definitely one of them.

  • I agree with you Nas, we should at least agree to disagree
    What happens though is that each side believes they are right and therefore have the right to force their opinions on others; if others do not accept this; they bash them and turn hell against them .. without putting any side in any role here .. because both sides tend to suffer from this

    I love the middle ground; it is the best platform for people like us to speak and get our voices out there for both sides to hear, and thank God for us because without having us in the middle the right would be talking to themselves as well as the left would … so having us in the middle builds bridges and creates useful conflict for all of us to learn and develop

    Great one Nas! 🙂

  • Well, Haitham aka Sabbah Blog, has now banned me because of my comments about his Hamas article. For all of his blathering about freedom of speech, it doesnt believe in it too much himself. I didnt attack him personally, I didnt call him names, I addressed his points and asked him if his arguments could be consistantly applied.

    It seemed he didnt like that too much, now I am banned. At my site as long as you dont threaten people, dont curse and I often let that go) then there is complete freedom of speech. I guess with some people their freedom of speech only counts if you dont attack their ideas, poke holes in their theories, or question their points of views.

    If their feelings and ideas are so weak they cannot hold up to spirited debate, I suggest they rethink them.

    I sent Haitham an e-mail letting him know my feelings. I wasnt surprised. He knew the identity of someone who was posting on my site and threatening my wife, the baby and my family, yet he refused to tell me. So why should I expect any different?

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