Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blog Roll Housecleaning

Today, I did a bit of housecleaning on my blog roll (the "links" section to the right). I deleted a few blogs that either had been deleted by their authors ("Paint it Black"), or which had not been updated by their authors for a long time.

I also added a few links:

An Average Iraqi: A blog written by a friend of mine, Hassan Kharrufa, who is a civil engineering student in Baghdad, and is also a regular reader/commenter here. Frankly, I should have added Hassan's blog a long time ago (sorry, Hassan). Hassan has been very busy over the past couple of months, between his final exams and moving to his grandparents' house, and (most importantly) getting high-speed Internet hooked up at his grandparents' house. So his blog has fallen idle for a couple of months, but now all that is done, and I expect Hassan will be blogging a bit more frequently now.

Hootsbuddy's Place: A very interesting political analysis blog, written by a 60 something food services manager, who is also a regular commenter here on this blog. Hootsbuddy wrote a very good post yesterday about Gaza violence, in which he quotes me, but also pulls in a number of other interesting sources. If you like my blog, you'll probably like Hootsbuddy's also, since he and I seem to have a very similar take on current events.

Raising Yousuf: An interesting blog I just found yesterday (through Hootsbuddy's blog), about life and the challenges of raising a 1 year old boy in the Gaza Strip. The author of this blog, Laila el-Haddad, is a 27 year old woman who lives in Gaza, and works as a news reporter.

Days of my Life: A new blog written by a 14 year old girl in Mosul, Iraq who goes by the nickname "Sunshine". For those of you who follow Iraqi blogs, you may remember an old post from Rose from Baghdad where she talked about her sister's 14 year old daughter in Mosul who was "very angry" about being forced to wear hijab (Islamic head-scarf) to school. Anyway, "Sunshine" is that same girl, and is Rose's niece. I know both Sunshine and her mom are regular readers here, and will probably read this tomorrow, so hello to both of you and welcome to my blog roll... :)

Three of the four blogs I'm adding today are written by people who speak Arabic as their native language, but who have learned English, and who have chosen to publish their thoughts in English. It is hard enough writing your thoughts down and publishing them on the Internet for people to rip apart, but when you are doing it in a language that is not your native tongue, it is even more difficult.

Arab culture is different enough from Western culture that I've heard some people refer to it as the "Arab Parallel Universe". It is people like these bloggers, who have made the effort to learn our language and communicate with us in it, who can help to bridge this cultural divide and gain a better understanding of their viewpoints. I applaud them for their efforts.