Fouad AlFarhan & Breaking The Silence

I wanted to mention something about the move to have a day of silence to protest the jailing of Fouad. Let me admit that I had originally wrote a lengthy post on how we should not silence ourselves and instead speak up. But then it occurred to me that this was more of a symbolic move, that it was a form of solidarity that is tough to do simply because bloggers such as myself find one day of non-blogging as difficult as fasting, and that it was a way to mobilize and show a bit of unity. This is to say nothing of the fact that I would rather join and add some value of unity, than criticize in an obvious display of disunity. It is, after all, just one day, and I think even bloggers can put aside their knee-jerk critical reactions for a day to stand side by side.

This is to say nothing of the fact that I know some love to use such an opportunity to criticize the choice to choose one day of silence, and as an affect, it’s just another way of embarrassing the many bloggers who joined in to show their solidarity; not sympathy, no, solidarity (there’s a difference, really, look it up). Talking about the issue is one thing, insisting on talking about the issue because others have chosen another (temporary) form of protest is quite the other. Criticism is easy, shutting up for a day, well that’s a different story.

Some of the most profound statements that are the hardest to refute, can be said in silence. So there is something profound in a lot of people coming together to show solidarity in that way.

Now, all that being said, the day of silence is over and Fouad is still jailed, which means there’s something still worth fighting for, still worth speaking about, still worth screaming about, still worth spreading the word about, still worth talking about, over and over and over again, until even deaf ears are forced to listen. A stand should be made that symbolizes how bloggers will not tolerate one of their own being jailed for voicing an opinion.

And I hope that stand will now be taken with words, because on the blogosphere words are by default their own action. I hope the day of silence brought bloggers together in an effort to mobilize them for this cause. I hope they’ll use their blogs to push the issue to the forefront of controversy; on to the international stage with a big giant spotlight for all the world to see. If everyone blogged about the issue on a single day, or even every day for one month. If everyone sent emails of their posts to the press, I think something positive can get done.

Tyranny does not listen to silence, it does not take orders from silence; it simply grows and festers in silence. Martin Luther King Jr., once famously said that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

So I hope the wheels will start turning and bloggers will continue to force this issue into the daylight. Together, I think a difference can be made and if it takes a day of silence to do that, to bring people together in that way, to help them understand what it’s like not to speak, then so be it.

Because Fouad, as of now, has had 28 days of silence.


  • Tyranny does not listen to silence, it does not take orders from silence; it simply grows and festers in silence. Martin Luther King Jr
    I think this part is enough, silence isn’t the the message we want to send, it’s the other way around.
    But you have your thoughts, others have theirs, lets all agree on the bigger issue of supporting one of our own, a person who was prosecuted for his ideas and thoughts. Let each of us pick the weapon of choice, pick silence if you like, I will pick loud protest, and lets hope that at the end our combined efforts will get to the deaf ears

  • In this case in particular, i see that choosing silence as a means of protest is valid since, as you mentioned Nas, after all Fouad AlFarhan has been silenced for 28 days till now, and only God knows when/if he will ever resume blogging, hence silence for one day (the stress is on one day) won’t hurt, rather it is a chance for bloggers to unite, support, and promote one cause.
    The day is over.. now what? I believe that after this day of silence bloggers should raise their voices as high as they could for effective results.. us, Jordanian bloggers in particular, experienced change first had, remember who-sane’s family ordeal and how positive it was when most bloggers voiced their opinion? .. by the end of the day, the message has to be sent out, and that is of protest against the unjust treatment of Fouad..

  • Criticism is easy, shutting up for a day, well that’s a different story.

    LOL, so true in this case! Certain bloggers only wrote about this to criticise the campaign. I couldn’t find a single post on their blog about Fouad before.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: khaalef to3raf! :p

  • I read on another blog that Fouad’s blog is still up and running and that the Saudi government would usually block an offender. There was some talk that he had been jailed for other reasons? Anyone know the truth. I don’t know where to look to find out.

  • This might not be related to this thread, but it is related to the idea of freedom of opinion.

    I think that most of us (arabs) did not understand the meaning of the ‘freedom of opinion’, maybe because of the taboo culture we live. A couple of years ago some danish reporter published some photos of the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and I saw thousands going down to streets to protest. Those who protested in the street or on forums (like myself) were admiting in the same time that they can NOT stand or live the freedom of opinion, because the freedom of opinion is the only freedom that does not (or maybe should not) stop on the limits of hurting another. My opinion may always hurt another,,, should I keep it inside?

    I think this incident showed me then that the arab world is not ready yet for the freedom of opinion, because it leads to breaking taboos, as much as a religion can be a taboo, or a leader can be a taboo. Creating standards (or rules) in such an issue, is exactly killing the freedom of opinion. So the question here is , are we ready to hear all? anything that may touch our religious symbols? because this is the freedom of opinion, a one-package; take it or leave it.

    I wrote this to say that we should consider this before we continue fighting for it.

    personally I have no problem with the freedom of opinion. I can take all.
    sorry if this comment is not very related to this thread.

  • Post is very touchhy….It shouldnot be happened but……..anyway we hope he will be free soon……..And by the way, I’ve published ur post in my blog too.I hope you’ll be kind for it.But I’m unable to give ur name,bcoz i’ve not find it.If you so,drop ur name by my site.

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