April 18, 2007

BLOGGERS IN EGYPT:

THEY call themselves pyjamahideen. Instead of galloping off to fight holy wars, they stay at home, meaning, often as not, in their parents’ houses, and clatter about computer keyboards. Their activity is not as explosive as the self-styled jihadists who trouble regimes in the region, and they come in all stripes, secular liberal as well as radical Islamist. But like Gulliver’s Lilliputians, youthful denizens of the internet are chipping away at the overweening dominance of Arab governments.

In Egypt, for instance, blogging has evolved within the past year from a narcissistic parlour sport to a shaper of the political agenda. By simply posting embarrassing video footage, small-time bloggers have blown open scandals over such issues as torture and women’s harassment on the streets of Cairo.

Somebody should write a book about this phenomenon. But there’s pushback. Read the whole thing.

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