As I travelled in Egypt and Jordan last week, I asked most of the people I met with whether they were getting interested in weblogging. The general answer I got – “We’ve heard about it, but there aren’t a lot of people doing it here.”
That may be true, in absolute terms, but there are some fascinating voices already making themselves heard in the Middle Eastern blogosphere. EGLUG’s Alaa just pointed me to the Egyptian Blog Ring, which links to 30 Egyptian blogs, most of them in English. The ring is hosted by Mindbleed, who also is a member of BlogAfrica, as is the wonderfully named One Pissed Arab. Amina Khairy of Al-Hayat has urged me to read the very popular Big Pharaoh, (also a ring member) who seems to average 30+ comments on each excellent post.
Head Heeb points to JordanPlanet, a great aggregation of fourteen Jordanian blogs. The very cool Jordanian blogger Natasha Twal points to another regional aggregator, Bahrain Blogs. And Roba, author of AndFarAway, points to AraBlog, a “reblogger” site that aggregates posts from around the region and the world.
All this said, I retract some of my earlier complaint that it’s hard for an American to get a sense for the conversations taking place in the Arab world. Turns out I just wasn’t listening in the right places.