I had a date with Najaf yesterday. The trip this time was a special one because I was there to give lectures to spread blogging and to talk about the importance of blogging and the ways to get blogs and use them. It is a part of the Arabic blogging project of the Friends of Democracy that aims at connecting intellectuals, students and NGOs (especially women NGOs) through a network of blogs that facilitates communication and gives democratic debates a push forward through exchanging opinions and sharing ideas among all the parties and the communities in different cities, all through blogging.
That's why our team was so excited and we were talking all the way about the significance of this networking project, the obstacles and the goals.
Our destination this time was Najaf, the holy city for She'at Muslims and the cultural center for their religious teachings. The city has preserved its traditions and heritage over centuries and it's a strictly conservative city and you can't see a single woman walking in the street without wearing Hijab. There are also no liquor stores or night clubs or cinemas in the city which is full of shrines for great men in the Islamic history and contains many religious schools that surround the shrine of Imam Ali (the cousin of Prophet Mohammed).
We arrived at noon to find that the atmosphere was tense, we asked the restaurant keeper while we were waiting for our lunch to be served about the reason behind the extensive security measurements on the streets:
"it's the last day for the Ashoura ceremonies and Muqtada's followers have come in large numbers to show respect for the holy city and practice the ceremonies" the restaurant keeper clarified "but we don't feel comfortable with them being around, the troubles started like this last year; the came to visit the shrine but later they refused to leave and occupied the shrine" the worried man added.
The people I met later were also skeptical and scared form the idea that what happened last year can happen again.
We walked through the crowds of the visitors to the hotel we were supposed to stay at for the night.
The hotel wasn't in a good condition as there were some evidence of the battles that took place in the city but the owner who's a friend of mine managed to prepare a couple of nice and clean rooms for us.
We sat together discussing tomorrow's plans and the current situation in the city while watching the Iraqiya TV. This channel has a daily broadcast now that shows samples of the arrested terrorists who are responsible for beheadings and other disgusting crimes.
We were divided; some of us were with the broadcast while the others were against it. One guy who's a Najaf resident said:
"these butchers are not like a simple flu, they're a malignant disease and we need a bitter and rough medicine to get rid of. Showing their pictures on TV is a crucial thing that is needed to expose them to the people. Iraqis need to know who those masked men really are. Iraqis in majority are shocked by the huge amounts of reveled facts as most of the animals we're watching on TV are serious criminals trained and paid for by the intelligence systems of a terror-supporting regime; that is Syria".
I have pointed this out in a previous post, the Ba'ath regime throughout its criminal history has depended from its early days back in the 50s on criminal elements and local thugs in Baghdad and other cities. The most prominent example was hiring Saddam at that time who was already accused of murdering his own cousin.
And the Ba'athists still adopt this tactic until this moment. The Syrian regime is no exception for this and is also trying-through recruiting paid killers in Iraq-to spread terror and fear and put obstacles on the road of the change.
I think this is also going to happen in Lebanon too after the Syrian troops are withdrawn. The Syrian regime will recruit (if not doing so right now) criminals to carry out sabotage and assassinations after the Syrians leave the country in an attempt to say "we have warned you from the dangers of withdrawal and now you've got to face the consequences ".
The broadcasted confessions of Syrian elements who work for the intelligence give a clue about what's being planned for Lebanon.
Some of us got panicked by the scenes and the statements of those butchers but one guy from the team said "we will strike back through blogs" I agreed with his words so I told my friends about a short conversation I had with someone a few months ago; that person said that terrorists have the capability to prepare video clips for their operations and have them broadcasted on the web in less than 48 hours.
Well, that's fine, now we're going to expose the terrorists and their evil doings and show it to the public opinion in Iraq and the world in a matter of few hours or even sometimes in minutes and the world then will hear our voice first before the terrorists can get their ugly voice out.
Most of the terror activities are run from bases in Syria and a few other places outside Iraq but the future blogs will be here right on the event spot itself. The people will have the ability to show their activities and thoughts and publish them faster and more often than the idiotic terrorists and this way the people (the freedom lovers) will feel stronger and more united and this can make them even more determined to confront the threats.
We've already seen this happening in a limited manner through the number of blogs that are linked to by the friends of democracy website; they were able to get the news to the readers way faster than the media did.
One blog has exposed a few aspects of the crimes of the Syrian regime against the Kurds in Syria and today, one blogger from Najaf was the 1st source to publish pictures for some terrorists trying to enter the Iraqi lands from Saudi Arabia.
The blogs can be a powerful weapon in the face of terror and we will have our network which will be for sure stronger than the terrorists'. There is just a few of them while we are the majority and this was seen clearly on the great elections day.
All we have to do is to organize ourselves using what modern technology has offered us.
I think this is enough for now and I will save the rest of the story for another post, maybe tomorrow. And then I will tell you the reaction of the people to the lectures we held in Najaf which were attended also by interested people from Samawa, Hilla and Diwaniyah.
To be continued.