Why we read. Why we write لماذا نقرأ. ماذا نكتب.

We come alive. We laugh. We remember. We dream. We rage. We cry. We smile. We are connected. This is why we read. This is why we write. This is what happens when a newspaper, an online journal, a blog does its work well. It is a daily miracle. It is worthy trying. It is humanity. Honest. Compelling.
The words of one Egyptian blogger capture this. I borrow his words from another who also noticed them. This is from Arabeyes by Amira al Hussaini, which appeared on Globlal Voices Online:

Ala’a Abdulfattah tells us why he really isn’t a blogger. Ala’a has come to this conclusion after returning from Lebanon and finding himself lost about what to blog about.

أرجع من السفر في دماغي حواديت كثيير ، يجي في بالي المدونة، مش يبقى لطيف لو كتبت عن بيروت، دأنا حتى شفت الضاحية الجنوبية و الاعتصام و مخيم شاتيللا و عاصرت اللبنانيين و هما عايشين القلق من العودة للحرب الأهلية.بس مش عارف أجيلها منين، مفيش كتابة عايزة تيجي، أصلي لما بسافر لازم لما أرجع أحكي كل الحواديت لكل الناس اللي بقابلهم و باين كده الحدوتة اللي اتحكت باللسان مينفعش تتحكي بالكيبورد.

“I return from my travelling with a lot of tales in my head. I think of the blog. Wouldn’t it be nice if I wrote about Beirut? I even saw the southern Dhahya, the protest, the Shatila Refugee camp and lived with the Lebanese as they anxiously anticipated the return of another civil war.But I don’t know how to start. There are no words coming to my head. This is because when I travel I have to relate all the stories to all the people I meet. It seems that the story I narrate in person cannot be repeated using the keyboard,” he admits.

كل ماجي أفكر في مدخل للحدوتة ألاقي خبر منيل يشتتني، منعم اتقبض عليه، الباشا الفاضي عبد الفتاح مراد ملفقلي قضية، نواب أخوان بيتقبض عليهم، ضرب نار في سينا، مركز الخدمات النقابية بيتقفل، القضاة معرفش مالهم.بلاش هبل، أنت هتصدق الهيلمان اللي معمول و تحس أنه واجب أنك تدون؟ أنك بتناضل بالكيبورد؟ لا أنت تنفع ولا أنت عايز. و بعدين لو هتكتب في الكلام ده ايه الجديد اللي هتقولله؟ ما الجرائد بتحكي فيه و الأمور واضحة و مفقوسة و مش عرضة أصلا لاختلاف الرأي. طيب منعم ضروري حاجة تتعمل لمنعم ده برضه صديق و كمان يمكن بكره تكون مطرحه و تحتاج اللي يقف معاك، .

“When I start thinking of an introduction for my story, I come across bad news which distracts me. Monem has been arrested. The void Pasha Abdulfattah Murad is framing me for a case. The Muslim Brotherhood MPs have been jailed. There has been a shooting in Sinai. The Union Service Centre will be shut down. I don’t know what’s up with the judges.Stop being a fool. Will you believe all the fuss being made around you and start feeling that it is your duty to blog? Are you rebelling using a keyboard? You are useless and your are not willing. And after all, even if you write about all this, what is the new thing that you will say? Newspapers are writing about all this and the situations are clear, detailed and not even debated. Of course there should be something done for Monem because he is a friend. I may also be in his place tomorrow and will have to stand besides him,” notes Ala’a.


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