‘Don’t wait for change, be the change’

2 May, '07

Good advice. And one that should be kept in mind at all times especially in our lethargic Arab societies.

The advice comes from a young lady who demonstrated an iron will to fight injustice and offer venues for inter-faith and inter-cultural rapprochement through cyber activism which, if not emulated, then at least supported, because ultimately her efforts leads to hope of a better future.

Thanks for your efforts Esra’a, and you have my full support.

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Comments (16)

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  1. captain Arab says:

    Mahmood, the link does not work to the “Thanks for your efforts Esra’a”

  2. mahmood says:

    thanks, fixed now.

  3. Craig says:

    inter-faith and inter-cultural rapprochement

    That can’t be the same Esra’a that I’ve encountered bashing Jews and Americans so often in the past, right? 😛

    Or has she changed her ways? :blink:

    Or maybe that’s just as good as it gets, in Bahrain?

  4. mahmood says:

    care to link to anything that would support your argument?

  5. Esra'a says:

    Thank you for the kind words Mahmood! Your support means a lot.

    And Craig, yeah, where I have bashed Jews if I have started a website that directly fights for the rights of Jews in Arabic countries? Where have I bashed Americans if I include the voice of Americans on Mideast Youth?

    Really, good luck finding your proof.

  6. Craig says:

    Mahmood/Esra’a,

    The proof is on your blog, called “Mideast Youth” – this is one American who complained personally about the constant bashing of America and Americans there. I haven’t been back to that blog since about a year ago, because I got trashed pretty badly on a personal level for taking offense at some of the things that were said.

    And, really, Esra’a, if you think condescending to allow Americans to comment on your blog constitutes promotion of “inter-cultural understanding” then maybe that really *is* as good as it gets in Bahrain. It’s not that easy.

    where I have bashed Jews if I have started a website that directly fights for the rights of Jews in Arabic countries?

    Again with the condescension. There are very few Jews living in Arab countries. It’s about 50 years too late for your struggle for the righst of Jews in Arab countries.

    If you want to demonstrate inter-cultural understanding why not argue for rights of Jews to live in Israel, instead of ebing killed?

    Or would that be too much of a risk?

    There’s no “inter-cultural understanding” when you make no effort to walk in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

    I’ve never seen that, in you. I’ve been appalled at some of the things you said about my country and my people. And I’ve said so. On your blog. I’m not going to go back and find the instances. You wouldn’t recognize the problem, anyway. You didn’t then, why would you now? You seem to think promoting “understanding” is telling people they are wrong and then patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for them to change their ways. It doesn’t work like that.

  7. Esra'a says:

    this is one American who complained…

    And this is really all you do, Craig. Complain.

    None of what you said is true, and none of what you claim about my work will be taken into consideration. There ARE Jews living in Arab countries – there ARE Arab Jews living abroad who would still like to come to their countries, fearlessly. They deserve to be fought for because they aren’t any less Arabs than any of us, and if you disagree with that, tough luck, becase our network is growing each day and it’s making our mission more realistic than ever. Secondly we use this same network to fight for Baha’i rights and the rights of other minorities. What is the shame in that, can you tell me? Because there aren’t many Jews in the Arab world you think we should forget them? I don’t care about your opinions. You know almost nothing about the Middle East and this is why you hate our network, because our members embarrassed you. They never insulted you, but they embarrassed you with proof of your ignorance.

    As for the rest of your post, you offered baseless accusations and silly remarks. Plenty of Americans post on our website. Plenty of Arab-Americans post as part of our team. Americans are more than welcome to join in and none have ever sent us complaints, with the very exception of yourself who – apparently – do nothing but complain.

    Finally, we asked for the direct link. I see none. If you won’t bother going back and finding my “appalling” remarks about “your people,” then you shouldn’t bother making these petty accusations in the first place.

  8. Jina says:

    You still didn’t link to any actual quote or link. Prove what you say or shut it.

  9. mahmood says:

    It’s never too late to champion a good cause. If it was, then only the strong will survive.

    Links?

  10. Craig says:

    Jina,

    You still didn’t link to any actual quote or link. Prove what you say or shut it.

    I don’t have to “prove” what I say. I feel offended by things that Esra’a has said about me, my country and my people. On a personal level. I find it extraordinarily odd that she is being touted as a champion of “inter-cultural dialog” in view of my personal reactions to her. Since I come from a different culture (and a different religion) than she does, I feel that my observations may have some value.

    If you’d rather go with your own observations, more power to you. As far as I could tell, she (and her commenters) didn’t say anything to me that was out of character for her. Go read her blog posts and her blog comments, and if you think you see tolerance and compassion for people non-Muslims and non-Arabs, then I’m happy for you. I didn’t, and I don’t.

    And how about this “shut it” thing…. that’s completely unacceptable in a public forum. In my culture. Don’t know about yours. Just so you know 🙂

    Mahmood,

    It’s never too late to champion a good cause.

    I generally agree with that sentiment, but not in this case.

  11. mahmood says:

    Craig, forgive me for pointing this out to you: your objections sound more of a personal rather than a relevant theme. Especially when you assert that you “don’t have to prove anything”. Of course you do. You cannot levy the kind of vitriol against others without at least offering a semblance of support to your case.

    You sound that you were snubbed some time ago and are still holding a grudge.

    I have not changed my view of Esra’a and her work because of your comment as you have not offered anything that would allow her herself to develop because of constructive criticism, but rather you essentially just pointed at your own failure to communicate.

  12. Esra'a says:

    I love that you are trying to use my blog posts as proof, when really, my blogs are the first thing that prove you wrong. They’re mostly about non-Arabs and non-Muslims and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, so this only shows that you haven’t been reading the website for months. Furthermore, we have Iranians, Arab Jews, Israelis, Kurds, (plus one Armenian) posting with us, and now you claim that we are intolerant of others? Get a clue dude, we’re a great team.

    “Go read her posts,” actually I won’t refute this, because this is free PR… so yeah folks, go read our posts!

    Like Mahmood correctly implied, your accusations are purely emotional and not factual at all. You’re holding a grudge, and that’s all there is to it, it’s more personal than anything.

    This is what happens when you assume too much and provide no facts. You did it before and you’re doing it again, and it’s not the right way to argue.

    I won’t feed your arguments anymore, you are sad for even attempting to lie in order to get what you want (pity and sympathy), the great thing about Mideast Youth is what while people accuse us of many things, we never get distracted. And we just keep getting bigger and better, and no false complaints from you or anyone else could ever stop or discourage us because this is our passion. We know exactly who we are and what we stand for – you picking fights with us isn’t going to change that.

  13. Craig says:

    Mahmood,

    Craig, forgive me for pointing this out to you: your objections sound more of a personal rather than a relevant theme.

    Well, yeah… feeling offense is kind of “personal” you know? How do you expect me to prove that I was offended, Mahmood? Seriously?

    I’m pretty sure Jina from this thread called me a Jew on Roba’s blog, a year or so ago. Do you have any idea how offensive an American Christian finds the kind of arab mentality where anyone who supports Israel gets accused of being a Jew? Does Jina? Does Roba? I tried to explain it to Roba and I don’t think she had any idea what I was so upset about.

    but rather you essentially just pointed at your own failure to communicate.

    I haven’t been held out as an example of inter-cultural understanding and communication, Esra’a has. I commented here to vocie my dismay at that. Not to try and build bridges 🙂

    Esra’a,

    They’re mostly about non-Arabs and non-Muslims and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, so this only shows that you haven’t been reading the website for months.

    I already stated I hadn’t read your blog in months. I stated that i ahdn’t read your blog in about a year, since the last time I did I got trashed by you and others in your comment section.

    By the way, I recieved e-mail from an American Egyptian after that episode where he explained that you guys just didn’t get the American persepctive on things and that it was kinda pointless to argue with you about it.

    There’s your “inter-cultural communication”, Esra’a.

    Do you want me to prove this, too? Go find that thread and you’ll probably recognize the Egyptian I mean, and you can ask him to verify. I won’t forward his e-mail without his permission.

    Furthermore, we have Iranians, Arab Jews, Israelis, Kurds, (plus one Armenian) posting with us, and now you claim that we are intolerant of others? Get a clue dude, we’re a great team.

    Yeah, it was an Iranian who made the post I participated in. He said a lot of outrageous things about the US, and about Americans.

    I did NOT appreciate it. I doubt very many other Americans did either.

    Maybe you should change that “inter-cultural/inter-faith” claim to include only some cultures, and some faiths. And some individuals from those cultures, and faiths.

    I know for a fact that your Iranian blogger is not representative of the opinions of most Iranian dissidents. Most particularly, American Iranian dissidents. And there are more Iranians living in the US than anywhere else in the world, other than Iran itself.

    And I don’t see the way you and the rest of your regulars piled on the lone American to shut him up as an example of tolerance. Especially considering it was MY country that your blogger decided to attack in his post. America can be attacked on your blog, and the only American who shows up to defend it gets chased off with abusive commentary?

    You call that “inter-cultural dialog” ?

    I call it an agenda. Be honest. Nobody gets heard on your blog unless they say what you want to hear. Right?

  14. Ibn says:

    Craig,

    I’ve never seen that, in you. I’ve been appalled at some of the things you said about my country and my people. And I’ve said so. On your blog. I’m not going to go back and find the instances. You wouldn’t recognize the problem, anyway.

    If Esra’a “wont recognize the problem anyway”, then why are you here, wasting everyones time?

    And how about this “shut it” thing…. that’s completely unacceptable in a public forum. In my culture. Don’t know about yours. Just so you know 🙂

    Yes, in your American culture, no one ever tells anyone else to “shut it” in public discussions. They might go “shut your trap”, “zip it”, “go to hell”, “take your head out of your a**”, but never “shut it”. So you are right! Heh, yeah – you havent heard those before, or even used them. What are you? Amish?

    and if you think you see tolerance and compassion for people non-Muslims and non-Arabs, then I’m happy for you. I didn’t, and I don’t.

    So again, why are you here? hehe .. no really… why are you here? Look, if us evil Arabs and Muslims are intolerant and uncompassionate wastes of skin, then what do you hope to accomplish by pointing this out to us, to our faces here? Go write a book. Call it ‘Why Arabs and Muslims are intolerent uncompassionate poopoo heads, because a Bahraini chick who lives in Switzerland hurt my feelings.”
    Im sure that will get some traction with at least a couple Israeli publishers.

    Furthermore, you accuse Esra’as intentions of not truly being along the lines of inter-faith and inter-cultural lines, because your feelings for a little ruffled during some inter-cultural exchanges. Did you not expect this? Its an INTER-CULTURAL discussion remember? – feelings are bound to get scathed here and there. Or did you think you were discussing the merrits of baklava over donuts? Man up already.

    And finally, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that if a person from culture A, wants to have an inter-cultural discussion with a person from culture B, that person A needs to accept up front the demands of culture B. I believe the proper term for that would be “inter-cultural-lecture”, or maybe even “Zionism”.

    In contrast, an inter-cultural mediation would require that you at least listen to a perceived/real grievances from both sides, and understand where they are coming from. Understanding where they are coming from means you work really really hard to put yourself in their shoes, in their mindset, and run a simulation in your head over what you would then say and do. It does not mean as you have implicitly implied, “that if you dont support the right of Jews to live in Israel then you dont want to have an inter-cultural discussion”.

    So. Leave the girl alone. Although I dont agree with a few of her opinions here and there, I think she is doing one hell of a job, running 5 or so blogs, building bridges, discussing, analyzing, and all in all doing a great service to the Arab world at large, more so than what I could currently claim, or what you can ever claim.

    If anything, she has exposed you. Exposed you, because the light coming out of her work, has made the cultural-imperialist cockroaches such as yourself scatter, and now, here you are.

    -Ibn

  15. Craig says:

    Ibn,

    If Esra’a “wont recognize the problem anyway”, then why are you here, wasting everyones time?

    Is Esra’a the only one here? I meant my comments for Mahmood. I’m not a regular here but I’ve heard he’s a good guy and a good blogger. If he isn’t interested in my opinions, he can say so, and I won’t be back.

    If you feel I’m wasting your time, then I humbly suggest that you stop reading what I write.

    Yes, in your American culture, no one ever tells anyone else to “shut it” in public discussions. They might go “shut your trap”, “zip it”, “go to hell”, “take your head out of your a**”, but never “shut it”. So you are right! Heh, yeah – you havent heard those before, or even used them.

    Telling somebody to “shut up” is a pretty good way to get yourself punched in the face, here in the US. Wanna come over here and try it and see how far you get before you find yourself flat on your back?

    You just don’t say those things to a stranger, in the US. Ever.

    What are you? Amish?

    No, I’m a guy who doesn’t react well to being told to shut up.

    I’m skipping the rest of what you wrote. It’s full of personal attacks. You must go to teh Esra’a school of inter-cultural exchanges 😛

    So, now that I have been told that I shouldn’t be here by at least half the people commenting here, I am no longer here.

    Mahmood, I said what I had to say. If you choose to hold Esra’a out as an example of Bahraini enlightenment, that’s up to you. I think she’s an abusive bigot.

  16. Esra'a says:

    Oh well. That’s just your personal opinion, which I don’t value, so it’s not the end of the word for me. 😀

    Anyways, on that note, Maskati and I just launched a new project a few days ago – FreeActivist.org (also redirected from freebloggers.net)

    So far it has been a Bahraini effort, but we hope to include much more in the future. Our strategy for this is really powerful and we hope it will serve as a great source for activists in the region. It’s the first time Mideast Youth and BYSHR partner up, so it’s pretty cool. Expect a lot from us in the near future, this summer is going to be our most active and busiest.

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