Why the Silence?


Why the prolonged silence, my friends are asking me privately, despite the proliferation of events and developments that should command my attention and response? What? Don’t I have anything to say about the developments in Nahr al-Bared? The assassination of MP Eido? The Hamas take-over in Gaza? Ghadri’s visit to Israel? The establishment of the international tribunal? Don’t these developments warrant some kind of a response from a dedicated opposition figure? Continue reading “Why the Silence?”

Unwanted Attention

Newsweek Jun 10, 2007 8:00 PM EDT

In the two years since he started writing political commentary on his Web site, Syrian blogger Ammar Abdulhamid has called President Bashar Assad a thug, a dictator, Mr. Bean, the village idiot and Fredo Corleone—the bumbling mob-family brother from “The Godfather.” A 41-year-old novelist and the son of Syria’s most-celebrated screen actress, Abdulhamid wants Assad’s regime replaced by an elected government. Like hundreds of other dissidents in the Arab world, he began blogging with bluntness during a brief window of liberalization that opened after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But geography sets him apart: Abdulhamid writes from his home outside Washington, D.C., having been forced into exile by the Syrian government in 2005. In recent months, he has watched as regimes from Tunisia to Iran jailed bloggers and intimidated others into ditching their keyboards. Now he’s working with another Arab blogger to establish a group to protect the dissenters. “If the regimes are allowed to shut us out of the blogosphere, we have nothing left,” he tells NEWSWEEK. Continue reading “Unwanted Attention”