Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Arab world's Pink Tide?

You can tell I haven't a lot to do at the moment as I've been posting quite a bit lately. I recently stumbled upon the blog of Amal, a progressive Palestinian woman currently residing in the United States. Amal had linked to one of the Sheikh Imam clips which I post regularly on Youtube under my Falafel2000 (yep, have a look!) and runs a blog which, though primarily focused on the Palestinian struggle, also attempts to bring attention to all forms of injustice. To my surprise, while many of her posts concern Palestine, it seems most of the (recent) comments she received focus on why she also champions the cause of gay rights in the Arab world. I did enjoy winding her up a tad though I am agnostic when it comes to this particular matter in the Arab world (again, boredom can be quite problematic for me). Still, I found her blog highly interesting since she is probably the first Arab female "progressive" blogger I've ever come across. I particularly enjoyed her articles where the aim was to shake up the stagnant complacency we find in the thought of many bloggers in the Arab blogosphere and proves that there is no one "flavour" of championing the Palestinian struggle or Arabism or Islam.

It was quite surprising the level of homophobia and hostility she experienced for including in her rejection of injustice the rights of homosexuals as well as womens rights (albeit from a slightly 'western' feminist perspective), and the accusations and level of discussion levelled against her were distasteful to say the least. While I don't necessarily agree with her entire interpretation of injustice it was interesting how much I emphathised with her struggle the more I read her posts. I felt a resentment that since that was one of Amal's beliefs, that her entire blog should be associated only with the politics of sex or sexuality as I felt there was much more to be read. In the past I have been accused of all sorts of things from racism and sexism (quite recently actually!) to fascism and fanaticism when I've challenged ill thought out beliefs or positions but I'm actually quite the opposite of these things for those who do know me genuinely. I think I identified with Amal's struggle for injustice because it paralleled my own search for justice but in the back of my mind there was also a worry. What if my search leads me to a conception of justice which would put me at loggerheads with people such as herself? What is justice and how can we identify it? Surprisingly, not many people (including myself) can give you an answer, nor can we clearly identify whether something is right or wrong. Does that mean there is no right or wrong or that we just can't be bothered to work it out to it's fullest extent? Anyhow, should I eventually find myself opposed to views such as those expressed by Amal, I think we'd all benefit by engaging with one anothers ideas and criticisms, provided it's civil and in the end, we are all aiming for the same thing after all. The downside is that those who are unable to engage in decent discussion and debate do make people in Amal's position incredibly defensive and so criticism of their ideas can be a potential minefield (Note to myself, handle with care!)

Anyhow, have a read of Amal's blog. It is interesting and thought provoking while her logic is sharp and concise, a quality I've found in only a few Arab blogs. I must say that navigating my way through the treacherous waters of feminist politically correct discourse is challenging and at times annoying, but there is actually a point to it and the subject does interest me genuinely. Her article on the 1967 war is highly recommended and very very touching.


Dubai Jazz said...

I must say that navigating my way through the treacherous waters of feminist politically correct discourse is challenging and at times annoying

my thoughts exactly!

Yaman said...

i agree, hers is a great blog.

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

thanks for sharing. eid mbarak.

Hisham said...

that's a refreshing blog... thanks fellow!

Lirun said...

thanks for the find.. very interested to read her thoughts..