Posts from December 10, 2003

Pssst: Reporters… great story here

Pssst: Reporters… great story here
: Hey big media guys… Want a great story? Read the story of Zeyad, the new blogger from Baghdad. Want the story? I’ll help you.

Note, by the way, that almost everyone in the blogging world is linking to Zeyad’s report. It’s a big story…. if you listen to your readers.

More anti-terror demonstrations

More anti-terror demonstrations
: Canada’s CTV reports on the anti-terror demonstrations in Baghdad, saying there were also demonstrations Baqouba and Ramadi. They can’t resist a swipe at the U.S.

But the protest, kept in check by U.S. military and Iraqi police, was far from pro-American.

“There was a lot of anti-Americanism in that crowd,” [CTV reporter] LaFlamme said, noting that none of that anger turned into violence.

Nonetheless, the reporter was impressed with the event.

Dictators hate the Internet

Dictators hate the Internet
: But they’re invited to the U.N.’s Internet conference, where Robert Mugabe said:

President Robert Mugabe’s anti-British diatribes rose to new extremes yesterday when he declared that Britain was using the internet to destroy Zimbabwe and recolonise the Third World.

Planting the seeds of free speech and democracy

Planting the seeds of free speech and democracy

: I’m so damned proud and happy to see what Zeyad and his friends have done today demonstrating for freedom and against terrorism in Iraq and telling that story to the world immediately and effectively with words and photos on weblogs.

This is Zeyad’s story and I don’t want to insert myself into this. Instead, I do want to take a moment to reflect on what it took to enable this to happen.

It’s all about one person, Zeyad, who had the vision and courage to do this.

It’s all about how the Internet, weblogs, and a community can bring tools to that one person.

It’s all about the power that one person has today.

: Back in April, I started nudging anybody who’d listen about finding some way to bring the power of weblogs and free speech to Iraq. I said we wanted to see a thousand Salam Paxes with a thousand new perspectives. I said we wanted to recreate in Iraq what Hoder had created in Iran with a flourish of free speech (even under the thumb of the mullahs’ tyranny). I said we needed to find government officials and companies and NGOs to help bring the connectivity and computers and help to Iraq. I never said so, but I started wondering whether it would be necessary to go get grants and donations and even go to Baghdad.

I was dead wrong. That was old-media think. That was egotistical. This didn’t need me or any government or business bigs to make this happen.

All this needed was one person: Zeyad.

In October, I got an email from Zeyad; go read it again. He said that he wanted to start a weblog from Baghdad with a new perspective about building and rebuilding his nation and all he asked for was a little advice (which he actually didn’t need). Two days later, he was publishing to the world and the world paid attention. He has been doing a wonderful job ever since, giving us news and a new perspective from Iraq.

Just as important, Zeyad has convinced a bunch of friends to also blog, to add their news and perspectives. And it keeps growing.

He was also helped with a free upgrade from Blogger (thanks, Ev!); he got lots of advice and support and applause and traffic from other bloggers; he got a camera; and if we can figure out how to get a PayPal tip jar arranged, he’ll get some help paying for his Internet cafe access (which is costing him a fortune, especially uploading photos).

: I start things for a living. It’s what I love to do best and I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do it. You’ve heard me brag often enough (yes, too often) about starting a magazine and some web sites. But the truth is, starting things is easy because lots of other talented people do all the work and I get to stand back in wonder and what it happen.

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed watching something start as much as I enjoyed watching Zeyad covering the demonstrations in Baghdad today: with a blog and a camera, he beat every news organization in the world to report this news to the world; he brought news and a new perspective to us all.

He created the first free and uncensored Iraqi news service.

This is citizens’ media!

: Now, finally, here’s my point: All it took was one person. Thanks to the Internet and weblogs — and a little help from the community there — it is possible for one man in a country just coming out from under dictatorship and war to speak to the world, to exercise free speech, to help spread that free speech, to report news, to make news, to build relationships, to create understanding.

That is the moral of the story of the blogosphere: All that is now possible. Anyone can do this. Any of us can support it.

All it takes is one person.

: Thank you, Zeyad. Thank you, Hoder. Thank you, Salam.

More photos from Baghdad

demonstration2.jpg

More photos from Baghdad
: Zeyad has put up more photos from the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Baghdad. This sign says, “Terrorism is humanity’s shame.” Ain’t that so! Go see them all.

: Update: The AFP story here.

Note that they put the word “terrorism” in “quotes.”

I guess killing civilians and Red Crescent workers may not be “terrorism.”

: See Colin MacLeod, who celebrates the Iraqi bloggers, “whom many of us consider the most welcome new additions to the blogosphere since the blogosphere was born.”

: I’ve been searching for “Baghdad demonstration” on GoogleNews, Reuters, the BBC, and the NY Times. The only story I find is that AFP story, above.

: UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds sends us to the UPI story and raw Reuters video. (Very hard to get to; click on Reuters Television and click on “more” until you see Iraqi demonstrations).

: Medienkritik says there’s next-to-no German media coverage.

A great day for Iraq

demonstration1.jpgA great day for Iraq
: Zeyad reports from the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Baghdad:

The rallies today proved to be a major success. I didn’t expect anything even close to this. It was probably the largest demonstration in Baghdad for months. It wasn’t just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba’ath and Saddam.

We started at Al-Fatih square in front of the Iraqi national theatre at 10 am. IP were all over the place. At 12 pm people started marching towards Fardus square through Karradah. All political parties represented in the GC participated. But the other parties, organizations, unions, tribal leaders, clerics, school children, college students, and typical everyday Iraqis made up most of the crowd. Al-Jazeera estimated the size of the crowd as over ten thousand people.

You can find a list of some of the parties that we noticed there at Omar’s blog. At one point it struck me that our many differences as an Iraqi people meant nothing. Here we were all together shouting in different languages the same slogans “NO NO to terrorism, YES YES for peace”.

I spent most of the time taking pictures. heh, I really enjoyed playing the role of a journalist. Everyone was tugging at my sleeves asking me to take their photos mistaking me for a foreign reporter. Some people recognized a reporter from Al-Arabiyah station and they started taunting him. One old man shouted to him “For once, speak the truth”….

He put up a ton of wonderful photos.

Now let’s see what the coverage in big media is like.

Zeyad is our man on the ground.

: And here’s Omar’s report.

Side effects

Side effects
: Josh Marshall says the Gore endorsement of Dean will help Clark (especially among those disillusioned with Gore).

PU

PU
: The EU is getting bad grades:

Less than half the population in the European Union’s member states now support the EU project, according to polling results yesterday.

The latest Eurobarometer to be released this week found that just 48 per cent of EU citizens viewed membership as a “good thing”, down from 54 per cent last spring.

Britain was by far the most negative state, with positive feelings tumbling to 28 per cent, but even the French were below half for the first time after months of battles with Brussels over tax cuts and illegal aid to ailing firms.