Thursday, January 28, 2010

When some Americans act stupidly

Few years ago I was still working in Syria with an e-commerce company. And God only know the difficulties we had with this kind of business in our country which wasn’t  only listed on the American black list, but had also a lagging banking system.

 

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At that time we had to fight at all fronts to make our business goes, but the huge obstacle was the restrictions that US government puts on trade with Syria on the grounds of its famous Black list!

 

I might understand that a government forbid exporting sophisticated technological equipments to non friendly countries, but I wasn’t able to understand what this has to do with other kind of goods like books and CDs?!

 

Back then, the well known e-commerce portal “Amazon” was refusing (and still refusing) to send merchandises to Syria as it is sanctioned.

To be honest, I have to admit that not all American companies were as stupid as Amazon, as we were able to buy online from other portals. I did personally buy many books from “Barnes&noble”.

 

But this so called honey moon, was ended shortly after the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Al-Hariry, when the US government decided to punish the Syrian government by increasing the sanctions. So suddenly all the previous websites stopped dealing with Syria!

 

I don’t know who the Us government is targeting by those sanctions? The Syrian government or Syrian people? Do they really think that this way is helping their goals? do they think that this kind of sanctions will affect the Syrian government?

 

The problem is that those stupid sanctions will cause thousands of families to lose their living sources as the case of Syrian airways. Syrian national transporter who is incapable of buying spare parts nor new planes to modernize its fleet who as result of this sanctions counts only four planes in good shape, and capable to fly.

Those stupid penalties are preventing Syrian airways from buying even from European manufacturers like Airbus, although that the French government has been trying for long time now convincing the American to allow a deal signed two years ago!

 

Lately I knew through Twitter, that a known technological portal called “SourceForge.net” who host freely, open source applications has blocked Five counties citizens including “Syrians” from accessing its database of applications.

 

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To those who don’t know what open source applications are, I’ll explain them as shared project between programmers and developers around the world where anyone with certain programming skills can make his own contribution to develop them like Firefox or Linux based operating systems and many others.

That means that it’s very likely “SourceForge.net”  blocked applications that were originally developed by those countries’ citizens.

 

The main goal of “the open source initiative” was braking governments and big enterprises monopoly of knowledge…

 

Source forge wasn’t the first to do such shameless thing, as Google was prior to block Syrians from accessing even silly software like Google Desktop.

 

It was really very ironic hearing the American state’s secretary Mrs.Clinton, lecturing the world, during internet freedom forum, about internet free access rights because of Google's last crisis with the Chinese government, when her citizens are violating those rights and forbidding web developers in certain countries from accessing shared information!

 

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I’d like to say, to all American and western politicians: Stop being stupid because we are not! Stop being hypocrite. Stop your double standards policy.

 

Do you really care about internet freedom rights when you block many services in Syria and other countries while internet is the unique outlet for their citizens?!

Do you really care about human rights while you kept silent during the incidents of Myanmar or you ignore such terrible thing as Gaza siege?

 

You are, ladies and gentlemen, with this kind of behavior, encouraging terrorists not fighting them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Discovering the Algerian Sahara

It was really a wonderful experience the one I lived some days ago in the Algerian Sahara.

Although I usually can't support high temperatures, I felt in love with desert and Saharaian world after reading a novel called "Tuareg" by the Spanish novelist “Alberto Vazquez-Figueroa”. His description of desert, Tuareg's life and means to survive thirst, drought and sandstorms made me stunned and eager to discover this strange and wonderful world.
So, I had a good opportunity to make this exploration during the scholar vacation in Algeria. it is the best time of year where the saharian weather is the most suitable for me.

It is true that we, in Syria, have big deserted areas, but it is very different from the Algerian desert. It was my first time to see sand dunes. It was very impressive encounter! I was speechless, I took many many photos of the wonderful sand waves and waited a long time to see the effect of sun lightning variation on the sand’s colors…

On the other hand, it was amazing to see the difference in sand’s colors in different region as in Tougourt and Ouargla.

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One of my unforgettable moments was the ones I spent in watching the tip of dunes and see the sand volatilize with the soft air wafts. It reminded me of us, human beings, how light we are in universal criterion.

The beauty of this saharian trip wasn’t confined on the amazing landscape, it was also a good occasion to see the saharian people. We were lucky to see accidently a wedding celebration for men in Temassine village.
The men of the groom’s family were gathered at the village’s square with a traditional music band and a group of cavaliers.

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They played around the groom who invited all other men to dance with him, then the cavaliers offered the audience a battle simulation

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Those were some of my saharian impressions.
Until the next blog i would like to keep you with this set of Algerian photos on my flickr account,