Pity the nation

Joe Ghanem has a message from planet earth to those Arab media leaders who seem to be living in outer space.
By Joe Ghanem
It has been told that, in the middle of the last century, an unemployed man of South Lebanon went to see the leader of the Assaad family to ask him for a job. The young man was of a family that showed ultimate loyalty to the leader, so the latter accepted to employ him as teacher in the new village school, even though the man was completely illiterate.

The youth started his new job normally until he heard one day that the Education Ministry was sending an investigative committee to the schools of the region. The teacher hurried to the leader and transmitted the news, scared to be uncovered and dismissed because of his illiteracy.

The leader called the Ministry and asked them to appoint the teacher in the investigative committee. His demand was answered. 

I think that any young man with simple interests in media and politics, knowing how to read and write, and accessing internet for a mere one hour a day, knows that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad created almost a year ago a personal blog through which he communicates with his people and readers with utmost simplicity.

The visitors can add their comments, whether they approve or oppose the Iranian president. Sometimes, the comments could even be cursing. The blog is available in English, French, Arabic and Farsi. 

Ahmadinejad is not the only one world leader to have how own blog. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez too is a blogger, who writes online about his own impressions, thoughts, worries as well as his people’s concerns.

I write all this just to get to the disastrous article I read a while ago, written by that renowned media person, Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, director of Al-Arabiya news channel, and in which he talks about blogging and bloggers. 

Because al-Rashed didn’t have a clue about the world of blogs, he chose to search for Saudi blogs on the Internet in order to get a closer look at what is being written by these poor people.

On one such blog, belonging to a Saudi girl, the writer discovered that president Ahmadinejad has a blog too.

I don’t know the world al-Rashed lives in, nor do I know the dates of his most recent trips to planet earth, since the Arab media and its officials live in a far away space that can’t be reached by a simple blogger as the young Iranian Ahmadinejad, nor a tanned leftist ex-officer of a poor family, following the path of Simon de Bolivar in South America’s jungles, as Hugo Chavez.

So how could a Saudi girl or an Arab young man, no matter how talented they are, pay the ticket to travel in a space ship to reach the far away planets of Arab media where al-Rashed and his colleagues live?

Al-Rashed says in his outer-space article in reference to president Ahmadinejad: "I'm sure the president has no time to reply the comments posted but he succeeded in attracting the attention of the fellow-bloggers, and those autistic beings will surely appreciate his contribution. For bloggers, no matter how opinionated they could be, stay loyal to their comrades."

I don’t know if the term "autistic" refers to us nowadays, we people of earth, the "opinionated" ones, in the words of the renowned Arab journalist. But I want to assure him, taking full responsibility for my words, that president Ahmadinejad reads all the visitors’ letters and the replies of his "comrades," respectfully apologizing if he was late in replying, and addressing them in a language that respects their minds, even if they have different opinions or minds. 

Perhaps M. al-Rashed is the one who didn’t find the time to read that far on Comrade Nejad’s blog.

I don’t blame al-Rashed, nor any of his friends in the Arab media world who haven't yet discovered this developing world called the blogosphere, and specifically Nejad’s blog  (which, by the way, more than 50,000 Israeli nerds tried to hack for hackers for two whole days, succeeding only in shutting it down for two hours).

Our Arab media persons, in their own kingdom far away from the people and the youth, will never know that Nejad, Chavez and their blogging "comrades" are not simple amateurs, nor sick "autistic" persons, but the investigative committee that the leaders and lords were not able to control or appoint their own men too.

Those of you, Arab media persons, who are ignorant and illiterate should leave immediately, for these youths have enough of you. We have no need for media who address us from outer space through telepathy as if we were primitive earthlings.

If our great writer Gebran Khalil Gebran were still alive, he would have added new pities to the famous poem from "The Garden of the Prophet".

"Pity the nation whose media persons don't know that the media needs an illuminated mind and a free conscience to address the people and their concerns, not a recommendation letter from this or that leader."

President AhmadiNejad’s blog.
President Chavez’s blog.
Abdul Rahman al-Rashed’s article in as-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Joe Ghanem's blog.