Greetings from Beirut, a city which makes me choke at times, knowing what it has been through and sympathising with what it could go through. While many let go and enjoy the moment, including all the Lebanese here who know how to live the moment and deserve to, I just can't. Not in Beirut, not anywhere else. One day maybe. Not today. 

Today, we are at the Arab Bloggers meeting, the second. It started with a conversation, a dream, or for people who know me, a moan. "Why can't we have something like this for Arab bloggers?" I told Tunisian Sami ben Gharbia, my colleague at Global Voices, as we Skyped with him from Miami last year.

Thanks to Sami's relentless efforts, and funding from  The Heinrich Böll Foundation and Global Voices Online, with support from HIVOS and the Open Society Institute, we meet in Beirut today: Around 80 bloggers from 19 countries. 

Bloggers from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Mauritania, Somalia, Morocco, Algeria, Oman, Tunisia and Yemen are here - as well as Americans, a Brit, a Dutch, a few Germans and a Bolivian. 

We are all gathered here, from December 8 to 12, to discuss all that there is to talk about related to blogging, citizen journalism, new media and how to get people talking to each other and connecting with one another. The event is super friendly, with many of us having met before or connected virtually and it is a big happy party. 

There is a lot of work too - as people network and learn from each other, attend one presentation after the other, try to clone themselves to attend as many workshops as they possibly can fit into and continue to have an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation for all that is happening. Being at such gatherings, meetings that have been put together carefully and where all the participants are genuine, is a humbling experience. 

The Internet connection is so so here. The tech people are trying their best. For regular updates, tune into to #ab09 on Twitter, where I tweet as @JustAmira

If there is anything blogging or citizen media related you would like to touch on, please contact me or send me a direct message on Twitter and we will try to accommodate as much of the feedback we get. 

Stay tuned, and happy and safe blogging.


Mort M. said...

Abas2al su8al ?
No email? la2ana I would like to contact you etha tsm7een ;)!

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