Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Liberalism is the solution - an arab voice

This article represents the views and thoughts of its original author, and is published here in an attempt to give space to various voices to speak about the current issues. Original text in Arabic can be found here .
This is an effort to create an as-close-as-possible translation to the original text. I am not a professional translator, I am simply a multi-lingual person who wants to show different points of view to others, especially the views and thoughts of the arab left wing about current issues..

Liberalism is the solution
by Taleb
la - Taken from The Middle
East Transparent web portal

The story goes on.. Another episode of killings, destruction and damage spread across the Arab and Islamic worlds for the most simple and non-crucial things. The Arab and Muslim people went out in angry bloody demonstrations, leaving destruction and fires behind it, chanting the most extremist slogans while demonstrating, thinking that they are a driving force of this world, forgetting that they are still live off the charity of the “Pagan” west.!!!!!!

This story repeats itself in the wounded Iraq after the explosions of Samerra, which started a secular propaganda that spread all across Iraq, leaving the poor and the wretched Iraqis victims of these slogans.
Again, Iraq is destructed by the hands of terrorists and the hands of its
own people in a secular war that was always sought and planned by extreme right-wing Muslim clans.. Planned and manifested by destroying the two holly tombs in Samerra.

I can’t understand how people can rage for a mosque or a cartoon, and not move a finger for those who get killed everyday by suicide bombers in Iraq. Nor could I understand why they wouldn’t demonstrate for the
thousands killed in Iraq and Algeria, or the millions dying of hunger in Africa.

This is the charade of the Arab mind.

This way, Muslims -in all Islamic counties and news channels- find their opportunity to exploit hot issues like these (and there’s always an issue for the Arab world) to demonstrate our conspiracy theories, our theories about the American/Zionist plan to steal the fortunes of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and the legend of Israel nation from the
Euphrates to the Nile.
The funny thing about this sad story that some people marketed this explosion in Samerra to be a distraction for Muslim to set their minds off the story of the cartoons that offended the Prophet Muhammad.

I don’t know if our Arab world needs all these efforts from western nations.. A world that cannot even manufacture matches without resorting to the west.. a world where people are oppressed by their own ruling system… a nation that lives off mythologies, dreams, and the desire to reinstate the Islamic caliphate system by a miracle like Noah’s flood, or by the return of the “Mehdi” or by a heavenly thunder bolt that will hit and destroy the atheist world…

It is this nation that actually needs a thunderbolt.. maybe they will
resort back to reason.
Why didn’t Arabs learn from the experience of the Japanese and the Germans after they were completely destructed in world war I and II.. How they (the Germans and the Japs’) could rise from their downfall
they were put through by the coalition forces, and how they decided to reject violence and ethnic massacres, and replaced these thoughts with reconstruction and hard work until they became two major players in culture, technology and science ?

Why didn’t we learn from these modern historic stories?

Or maybe it is that the Arab mind has panic attack and agoraphobia, or
maybe it is the inherited Arab / Muslim genes that refuse to make use of others’ experiences as Dr. Ahmad Baghdadi says.

Dr. Terki Al Hamad answers these questions in his book “Politics between what’s religiously allowed, and what’s religiously forbidden” .. he resorts this backwardness to the concept of movement/stillness, in reference to Ernest Renan’s quote: “The greatest advance by modern thought is replacing the concept of the “being” by the concept of “the image”, and the concept of “the absolute” by the concept of “the relative”, and replacing stillness with movement.”
This concept is the best summary of the modern age and the philosophy that lives off change, movement and the opening to other civilizations, which is the exact opposite of that in the Arab mentality that was brought upon doubting and fearing the others.

So, how can the Arab and Islamic world get out of its current backward

Firstly: by re-phrasing the Arabic and Islamic concepts by performing a new critical reading of the Islamic history, and by studying the history and evolution of western school of thought. This school of thought could exist through wars led by philosophers and thinkers against the philosophy of the central church that forced the individual to obey the church’s authority. This caused the church to lose its spiritual and religious authority (which was the reason for its existence) and it went towards the amalgamation of the spiritual and materialistic religion. It even became a cheap tool in the hands of kings to generate rewards and income for the political power that controls the people through the church’s religious authority.

The need thus becomes evident for a protestant Islam, as put by the Iranian thinker Hashem Aghajari, who invited people to understand religion without reverting to the religious authoritarians and their endless explanations and rule that keeps people under the control of the Islamic Religious doctrine.
This doctrine can be confronted only by criticizing the backward
religious ideology, renewing it and trying to understand reality by employing the human mind in the process -this mind that could tame nature- and deserting the concept of the surviving groups and eliminating the other, which has always brought disasters upon us.

Secondly: the importance of adopting liberal thinking that’s based on the individual’s right to adapt and follow any school of thought or belief, while respecting his freedom and rights, away from any national and religious ideologies that usually led to eliminating “the other” and depriving him from his right in choosing his beliefs, and practicing his freedom in the legal boundaries of a civil society.

Liberal thinking is the only system that ensures ethnic and religious
minorities’ rights. It is the system that ensures freedom of belief for the
citizens of one nation, without having to enforce any ideology on the others. It has proven to be capable of evolving itself based on the requirements and needs to meet changing realities, unlike the religious ideology that shies from evolving and merging into the new global system in the name of protecting the authenticity of the Arabic and Islamic Identity: the fear of losing our “ethical and religious values”.
This intentional continuous mutation is caused by political Islamic parties, as well as the slogan-making nationalists, who believe that they have the right to gain custody of everyone in the name of maintaining the ethics and values of society.. Their continuous association between liberalism and atheism, which –in their mind- leads to the diminishing
of ethical values of society, made liberals and liberal thinkers be looked upon as atheists and pagans..

The real reason behind this propaganda is their continuous fear (of the
nationalists and political islamists) of the rapid growth of liberal thinking, which would eventually find a system that allows people to co-exist in the same nation regardless of their ethnic and religious background.
This established socio-political liberal system will clash with their inability to find a system or a political-economical-religious vision, which forces them to continuously call to return to the origin of Islam (and the slogan: “Islam is the solution”) without clearly defining the representatives of this socio-political religion..

Many overlook the fact that the tide of change is coming anyway, regardless how hard they try to blind the eyes from seeing that many in the world are trying very hard to find ways to coexist in peace, safety and freedom.. and that those who stood in the faces of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton; and called them atheists and pagans for confronting the religious manuscripts by applying common sense to them… those didn’t know that they are standing against the tide of change, and against the authority of the mind that gave the logical explanations to natural phenomena, that were once considered mystical.

Finally, the painful events and daily bloodbaths’ the Arab and Islamic
worlds are going through, require us to stop weeping and whaling for a while, and stand together to stop the tide of this rightwing extremist religious doctrine that is led by a group of sick psychos who kill and destroy in the name of religion.

Real belief is based on believing in the importance of co-existing with
the others, respecting them and their religions and sects, and understanding that diversity is a global phenomenon that implies that we should co-work with people from all over the world to ensure mutual benefits and prosperous living.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Islamic Scholars Say Its Time For Dialogue With The West About Offensive Cartoons.

This article is taken from www.amrkhaled.com


Associated Press Writer Cairo, Egypt (AP)

Islamic scholars at a conference on the continuing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad said it is time to stop protests and boycotts ae for dialogue with the West about offensive cartoons By nd instead enter a dialogue with the West in order to explain the prophet's importance to Muslims.
At a Friday conference, about 40 Muslim scholars from across the Islamic world signed a declaration appealing to Muslims "to exercise self restraint in accordance with the teachings of Islam."
"We reject countering an act of aggression by actions not sanctioned by Islam," the statement said, alluding to the publication of the cartoons and the subsequent violent protests.
The statement also appealed to the Danish government and people "to apologize, condemn and bring to an end this attack."
The Muslim world has been outraged by the drawings, first published in a Danish paper last September then reprinted in European papers in recent weeks in the name of press freedoms. Some protests have turned violent _ including one on Friday in Libya in which at least 10 people were killed _ and the tension has noticeably increased anti-Western sentiments in the Muslim world.

Islam widely holds that representations of Muhammad are banned out of reverence and for fear they could lead to idolatry.
"It is our duty and responsibility to move on to the stage of discussion and inform the world about our Prophet by disseminating and making known his character traits, noble qualities and high moral standards," the conference statement said.
Amr Khaled, a 38-year-old moderate Egyptian preacher, told reporters after the conference that peaceful protests were inevitable but it was time to move forward.

"It is a sign that the Islamic community is alive. The boycott was a must _ but now it is time for dialogue," he said.
Egypt's mufti, Ali Gomaa, emphasized the forgiving nature of the Prophet but added: "We won't stop supporting our Prophet, and preaching for God, in a gentle way."

Abla el-Kahlawy, a veiled dean of Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University, was angrier.
"Our taboos and sanctities have been violated, I'm appealing to intellectuals and the wise in the world to stop the mutual hatred and ... enmities that are pushing the world to the edge," she said. "What is the aim of violating what is held sacred by more than 1 billion Muslims?"
But Khaled, the Egyptian preacher, said he's ready to go to Copenhagen, with other scholars and Muslim youth, to discuss the problem.

"The deep-rooted solution of this problem is through dialogue to reach an understanding and coexistence between the nations," Khaled said.
Also Friday, a Danish church delegation met with Egyptian religious leaders in an effort to help reduce the tension and correct misunderstandings, said delegation member Harald Nielsen.
"We want to reveal our friendship with the Muslims and Christians in Egypt," said Nielsen, secretary in the Middle East for a Danish NGO called Danmission. "We do not agree on the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper, and we were insulted by them."The church delegation is on a three-day visit to Egypt at the initiative of Danmission.

For more information, click here

Friday, February 24, 2006

Human Rights in Islam

Shari'a is Islamic law that invites Human brotherhood far from selfishness and personal interest for the sake of discarding hatred.

It is for the salvation of all mankind in an atmosphere of justice and equality surrounded by divine revelation and noble values within a sphere of ethical legislation that God has set for man.

I do understand why people might think that the laws allow subjugation and sexism. What people need to know is that it's not the Islamic Law that has faults. It's actually the men who are governing these laws. Outdated and awful traditions have heavily influenced these laws and so the actual Shari'a isn't properly followed anymore.

If you were to look at the Shari'a properly you'll find that it's filled with human rights; both for men and women. Islam calls for equality between all humans, doesn't matter what your race is, what your faith is, what your age and even sex.

"O mankind! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all knowing, all aware"
(Al Qur'an, Al Hujurat 49:13)

Islam gave to mankind an ideal code of human rights 14 centuries ago. These rights aim at conferring honor and dignity on mankind and eliminating exploitation, oppression and injustice.

Human rights in Islam are an integral part of the overall Islamic order and it is obligatory on all Muslims governments and organs of society to implement then in letter and in spirit within the frame work of that order.

It is unfortunate that Human rights are being trampled upon with impunity in many countries of the world, including Muslims countries. Such violations are matter of serious concern and are arousing the conscience of more and more people though out the world.

According to the Shari'a law there is freedom of thought and religion.

1) Every person has the right to freedom of conscience and worship in accordance with his religious beliefs.
2) Every person has the right to express his thoughts and beliefs so long as he remains within the limits prescribed by the law. No one, however, is entitled to disseminate falsehood or to circulate reports which may outrage public decency, or to indulge in slander, innuendo or to cast defamatory aspersions on other persons.
3) Pursuit of knowledge and search after truth is not only a right but a duty if every Muslim.
4) It is the right of every Muslim to protest and strive (within limits set out by the law) against oppression even if it involves challenging the highest authority in state.
5) There should be no bar on the dissemination of information provided it does not endanger the security of the society or the state and is confined within the limits imposed by the law.
6) No one shall hold in contempt or ridicule the religious beliefs of others or incite public hospitality against them; respect for the religious feelings of others is obligatory on all Muslims.

"Say (O Mohammad, it is) the truth form the Lord of you (all). Then whosever will, let him believe, and whosever will, let him disbelieve…"
(Al Qur'an, Al Kahf 18:29)

When it comes to minorities these laws apply,

1) The Qur'anic principle "There is no compulsion in religion" shall govern religious rights of Non-Muslims minorities.
2) In a Muslim Country religious minorities shall have the choice to be governed in respect of their civil and personal matters by Islamic laws or by their own laws.

All the information is taken from a book called Human Rights in Islamic Law by Dr. Ibrahim Abdulla Al-Marzouqi.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Humbling Words

This quote is taken from one of my favourite books, Pale Blue Dot. I posted the quote earlier on my blog, but my readership then wasn't as large as it is now, and hence I felt the quote didn't get the attention it deserves. I chose to also post this on Bridge the Gap, because there are some things to learn from the quote. Please read it, and tell me what you think..

“... Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. “

Carl Sagan
About the image:
The shiny object in the centre is earth. A pale blue dot as seen from Voyager. The picture is humbling, as it shows how insignificant we are, in the large scheme of things.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Letter to Leon de Winter

Dear Leon,

Through all of the Netherlands you are well known as an experienced writer and filmmaker, with an impressive career. Mister Kat, my former high school literature teacher, was unstoppable when promoting your talent and writing style. Even so that everyone in our class practically felt obliged to put at least "Dürer" on their shortlist of books for the oral exam. You are a talented and skilled writer, your opinion is heard and respected.

It is probably for those reasons that I first felt pretty angry, and later on merely disappointed after reading your column "Return to the Darkness and Silence". (feb 15, 2006)
It must be feared that Mr. Kat will probably share these feelings with me.

For the most part of your article it is quite clear when you are quoting an opinion or a fact and when you state your own opinion. However, the three questions you open with, as well as the way you word those seem pretty offensive to me.

"How often do I need to repeat the question?

Once more then. Again.

Why are muslims more upset about a couple of cartoons than they are about the thousands of muslims that have been slaughtered by other muslims on behalf of their Prophet?

Why are these cartoons about fundamentalists so much more offensive to Muslims then those mass killings by fundamentalist groups?
(Translation by Nico Moenens, not necessarily approved by the original author.)

When a high school students writes a passage like this in an essay, the appropriate response would be a small red mark and a comment like "clumsy generalization". No problem. But when an author with your level of experience and your language skills writes a sentence like this, and then decides to actually leave it in, it can only be seen as a very conscious decision. A decision to employ the almost undetectable weapons of rhetoric in order to try and pass a personal opinion of as a well accepted fact.

Twice you make out 'Muslims' to be more upset about cartoons than they are about mass killings by Muslim fundamentalists. Yet, you as a writer, ought to be aware of the fact that this statement cannot hold true for all 'Muslims' in general, but merely for a small group of 'extremist Muslim fundamentalists'. By choosing to not make this important distinction, you hold about one billion Muslim people all over the world accountable for the actions of a minority of a couple of hundred nut-cases.

Would it be fair for me to try and brand hundreds of millions of different types of Christians all over the world as barbaric murderers?
After all, they are Christians, just like the 'Army of God' say they are. And the 'Army of God' was the organization that published a step-by-step guide to explosive-making on the internet, and that now proudly claims over 1700 attacks on abortion-clinics as well as as the deaths of seven abortionists. Also, these are the same swell guys that on sept 23rd, 2001 (sic!) send out 150 envelopes containing white powder and the following message:
"...You have been exposed to anthrax..."
"...We are going to kill all of you...”
So is this a reason we should start body-searching all Christians who want to enter a clinic?

Or could anyone hold Elton John responsible for damages done by drunk Watford supporters after the team has lost a match?

So why is it that you feel you can hold all Muslims accountable for the noise of a couple of extremists?
Do you realize that by doing so you lend your name, your voice and your pen to the ideology of a minority of dangerous fools, claiming to speak on behalf of the entire Islam world? You just ought not stand for that!

You then try and defend this generalization by claiming your questions have so far gone unanswered:
We get no answers. It is a shameful silence.
(Translation by Nico Moenens, not necessarily approved by the original author.)

You write this on february 15, 2006. Funny thing is that two days before, already forty-one influential Muslim leaders had send out a joint statement condemning the violence.

Forty-one is just about over one for each of the forty hate-mails received by a Dutch populist politician after he published the cartoons on his site.

By the way, not only did they condemn the violence, they also send out a message of reconciliation.
And even more importantly, the message was accompanied by a text which pulls an important rug out from under every active extremists' beliefs: “No Soul bears the sins of another Soul”.

What more is it you would like to hear?

More important than that, why is it that you choose to ignore this conciliatory reaction? Obvioulsy, you have the capacities to maintain a Blog and to surf the Net, so in those two days you ought to have been able to find out that the long awaited answers to your burning answers were in. Incompetence can be no excuse when it is one's job you one is performing.

It could also be that you had practically finished this piece when the news broke, and that you just could not be bothered to go ahead and write a new article. Or update this one. However, you do not seem to come across as a lazy person.

So, as far as I can tell, the only other possible explanation that remains for you omitting this statement of reconciliation from your article, is that it could only serve to disprove the impression of an entire Muslim world supporting the violence.

However, instead of even mentioning a word about reconciliation, you decide to go ahead and write the following:

... Insulting the differently believing and the non-believing is a day job for the people working in the Arabic and Islamic media...

... The country is bursting with hatred of Christians, Jews, Hindu's and Buddhists...
(Translation by Nico Moenens, not necessarily approved by the original author.)

It is very well possible that you feel that you can justify these actions to yourself, but authors have been branded 'hate-monger' for less sweeping generalizations and less blatant omissions. Is it that you are on a mission to make us believe that each Muslim is a bloodthirsty barbarian waiting to take away our freedom of expression, and more? And if so, why?

Of course I do realize that the list of forty-one contains some very conservative clerics. However, conservatism is not extremism. But as far as I am concerned, even Osama Bin Laden himself could have put out a statement. Crazed fanatics simply cannot be convinced by happy softies playing tambourines. The more sturdy the reprimand, and the more serious the sender, the better the message will come across.

And I am aware that Amr Khaled, about whom Sara posted the article 'Ambassadors of Islam' on this Blog, is not uniformly supported amongst all Muslims alike, amongst other things because of his stand on women wearing veils or headdresses. Well, should there ever be a debate about these headdresses I would be more than happy to discuss my feelings about that with Mr. Khaled. However, at this point he counts as one of the few influential Muslims capable of reaching an audience of millions. And he seems to be taking his responsibility, call for calm, dialogue and reconciliation.

Currently, you are the person fanning the flames of hatred and fear in our country with generalizations and the omission of facts, be it consciously or sub-consciously.

Do you really need to do that?

Kind regards,

Nico Moenens,

The Dutch version of this letter to Leon de Winter has been posted in our Dutch language home at the VK-Blog.
If you have the time to cross-post (a translation of) your comment, please do so.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ambassadors of Islam

One of the problems that both East and West face is the lack of understanding each other and their way of thinking… Muslims are portrayed as savages to the West and Non-Muslims are viewed as devil followers to the East. These ideas lack knowledge and are filled with ignorance and hatred.

There shouldn't be any reason for that. That's why you'll find people from all over the world trying to raise awareness on both sides and sometimes even working together on the same project.

Again, Amr Khaled has proven that he's a man of peace. He's calling out Muslims all over the world to apply for Islamic Ambassadors. He's looking for Muslims that are willing to help bridge the gap that desperately needs to be filled for the sake of humanity.

I honestly, respect Mr. Khaled for his assertive efforts to spread the truth about Islam and create peaceful relations between the East and West.

On his website, there's a link to an application form. There isn't much info, just a flash link that says,

"Do you want to be an Ambassador of Islam?"
"Do you want to be a step in solving the conflict in Denmark?"

You click on the flash window and you'll get the chance to fill the application form.

I believe what Mr. Khaled is doing is very effective for Muslims who are finally breaking the chains of mental captivity. I believe, other than trying to build a better understanding of the East and West, Mr. Khaled has a hidden agenda; a positive one, of course. This is just my own assumption; nothing official. After I read the questions on the application form, it made me do some research and think deeply about what truly Islam is, who truly our Prophet (PBUH) is and think of what is the best way to effectively communicate with people. I think his other purpose is to make Muslims get to know "true" Islam better so they'd be able help others truly understand Islam and know how to be civil Non-Muslims in general. He wants Muslims to work on themselves to be better so they can contribute in bridging the gap.

If you want to know more on Who is Amr Khaled, click here

If you want to know what he has to say about the Danish cartoon situation and other things, click here

Media still reporting about angry muslims, but meanwhile, in Iran...

Media are still reporting about angry muslims, meanwhile in Iran there is also a strike going on. Important is that most media are ignoring the strike of bus drivers (workers) in Teheran and the coercive treatment of bus drivers in Teheran and its suburbs, who have been beaten, jailed and dismissed for attempting to negotiate better wages. Furthermore, media are reporting about violent acts of muslims without informing their readers or listeners about the regime in Iran who is in fact stimulating a certain group of muslims to burn flags and to attack Western embassies..

Striking bus drivers in Iran, ignored by media
A blogger: ET is writing about the cartoon issue:
We were talking about the cartoon furor which, despite what you might think, is not such a furor in Iran. Not that Iranians are not observant Muslims, just that they are sick to death of the manipulation of Islam for political ends.”

A comment by Gene: "I'm wondering if people in Iran are getting any news about the strike by Tehran bus workers and the subsequent imprisonment of hundreds of them".
Blogger ET answers:
"The strike is the most important issue in Iran. It is almost not mentioned in Iran, but there is nothing that represents the average Iranian more than the arrested bus drivers.... This may in fact be the biggest story to keep quiet in Iran. No thanks to the Western Media for ignoring it".

Although some media mention the strike, for example the Washington Post, other Media ignore this important event.

Media still reporting about the cartoon issue, without telling the truth, enlarging the Gap
Reading my Dutch newspaper, I can read every day an article about furious Muslims but what about the reasons for those acts of violence..?
I think we all know what kind of regime people living in Iran have to deal with.
If you want to know more about this regime and about bloggers who are trying to change this regime see: RegimeChangeIran. The blogosphere can also support and join this campaign.
Most people living in Iran dislike violent Muslims..fanatics, supported and stimulated by the regime in Iran!

Teheran newspaper calling for a Holocaust cartoon contest
This newspaper is, according to Kader Abdolah (refugee from Iran, now living in the Netherlands, famous author) belonging to the municipality of Teheran. And who was the mayor of Thereran? Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran! He is still involved in this newspaper, controlling it!

Creating fear....
Meanwhile a Dutch Newspaper ("Algemeen Dagblad") is writing an article, Titled: "More Dutch people getting afraid of Muslims".. They only questioned 750 people (inhabitants: 16 million in the Netherlands). And so this conclusion is based on wrong facts, I think...

I am beginning to understand more and more why Media are enlarging the gap, and also creating fear...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chance meetings: Francis, Imaan and Natasha

De afbeelding “http://static.flickr.com/41/100371814_6a50a49118_o.gif” kan niet worden weergegeven, omdat hij fouten bevat.

Francis checked the
volunteer list and started surfing and communicating! This way she made some very interesting new friends. Imaan, a Muslim woman living in Sweden and Natasha, a Jewish girl living in Canada.

First there is Imaan, she is Swedish an a Muslim. She left for Gaza city for half a year to find out what it would be like to live there. She has family on the Gaza strip. She brought along her two children and she writes about daily life and about politics:

“I strongly dislike what the Jyllands-Posten did, it lacks respect, taste and understanding which I believe all are things that freedom of speech should obey to. It is also well-known for me as a neighbour to Denmark that they for some time now have had strong anti-immigrants politics that differs from other Scandinavian countries, thanks God (gosh, two posts in a row mentioning the word politics - a personal best) and therefore these drawings feels extra distgusting.

However, I'm a bit surprised to the reactions (and again, my personal opinion is that most things can be solved by conversation). It's good that muslims react, they should, but not by violence. And, for God's sake, Palestine has been occupied for close to 60 years - where is the united ummah to free Palestine?”

Secondly there is Natasha, a Jewish woman from Canada, who studies in Jerusalem.
Her blog is called a year in Jerusalem. There she meets jewish as well as arab people.

One day when she is out buying groceries she sees a bus a little boy looking at her from a bus.
They make some fun together and as she enters the store, to do her shopping.
Moments later a woman tells her that a Palestinian has just blown himself up on a bus. That bus.

As the little boy flipped the bird at me, as we danced the rubbery but dance at each other, someone pulled a cord, or pressed a button, or lit some sort of wick somewhere on his body and BAM. And fucked the old bus station there in Tel Aviv.” ( January the 19th 2006).


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Humor can save Bridges

Motek from Space, one of the first time volunteers to start Building Bridges, has found this wonderful Israeli initiative. There, I saw this really funny anti-Semitic cartoon today. And I felt free to laugh. So I did and it felt good.

Because, yes sometimes it does feel that the media of the world accept more things from the Israeli government than they would from any other country in the world. However, this is hard to bring under words without running the risk of being anti-Semitic immediately. I'll give it a shot anway.

The Great Wall of Israel that is being build right now -fear turned into concrete- ravages homes, communities, economies and farms. I believe that even South Africa would not have been able to get away with a project like this when this country was passing through it’s darkest period. A structure up to 5 meters high and made out of reinforced concrete and steel, is described as a 'Fence’.

This is a major spin-achievement, whichever way you look at it.

Yet, somehow, whenever someone tries to lend a voice to the protests against this Great Wall, he or she is almost immediately branded an anti-Semite. Ask Gretta Duisenberg.

So yeah, sometimes it does look like the media choose the side of the Israeli Government, if only by so easily adapting the euphemisms presented by the spin-doctors. As well as the damaging labels. This effectively ends a very valid discussion. And where discussion leaves, violence enters. The mere fact that someone wants to lend his or her voice in the public debate to speak against actions of the Israeli government should not brand him or her an anti-Semite. A point now finally and effectively proven by the Israeli Anti Semite Cartoon Contest. Being offended by recent Iranian outburst of Holocaust Cartoons, these Israeli’s decided to NOT take to the streets and NOT set fire to the nearest Iranian Restaurant they could find. No, they decided that the best response to a badly disguised provocation by a small group of extremists would be indeed to laugh it off. And not take it too seriously. These guys took it one step further still. They set out to prove that if anyone could poke fun at the Israeli's, no one would be better at it then the Israeli's themselves. Not only have they come up with a great initiative to Build Bridges in Cyberspace, they also have opened the debate on some issues usually deemed to dangerous to handle.
Dear Amitai and Eyal, ... Furtermore, in this blog we try to bring about a cross-cultural discussion by asking each other questions that we (assumed) we could never ask a muslim or a christian, never thought to ask or never dared to ask. We can now ask these questions to people who volunteer to add to the discussion in a calm and respectful manner. I would love it if you could come up with either a question to a Muslim, a Christian, a European or an American, or maybe an Israeli?

Kind regards,

Nico Moenens

This article is cross-posted at: http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/pub/blogs/entry.php?id=33296. Any comments will also be cross-posted.

Freedom of Expression Alright!

This is a great article written by one of my favourite bloggers, Eman. A well informed, well educated Palestinian-Jordanian woman, currently living in Tunisia.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing nothing but replying to comments on my blog, entering forums, leaving comments on people’s blogs, just to defend Arabs in general and Muslims in particular.
I’ve reached a point where I’m truly and utterly FED UP! Some people just don’t want to listen, they keep blabbering and asking pointless questions for no reason but to say: hey, gotcha!
Well I really don’t care anymore. Think whatever you wish, we’ve been living with wrong impressions and a stinky reputation for ages, we sort of got used to it, we’re trying to get the message across that we do have people who are worth respect, but no use, so here’s my decision: no more replying to offensive and rude comments left on my blog; no more entering pointless discussions; and no more defending, we’re a lot more better than wasting our whole time on defending our stands and explaining our culture as well as our religion to those who are not willing to listen with an open-mind in the first place.
I’ve had enough of this whole cartoon issue, I’m not shocked for the reactions of non-Muslims, and I don’t blame them for hating us even more after the stupid violent reactions of some Muslims during protests burning embassies and threatening innocent civilians. And here I am again for the millionth time condemning those violent reactions, there is no justification whatsoever, they are of no use, they are disgusting and have caused us Muslims more damage than the cartoons themselves.
BUT, not accepting violence and condemning it does not mean I deny Muslims the right to be offended and react any peaceful way they choose, no matter how silly and pointless their choices seemed to non-Muslims.

What shocked me, or better say disgusted me, was the reaction of some Muslims to this issue. They are not condemning violence only, but the simple right of Muslims to be offended in the first place.
In what twisted logic is it ok for ALL people to express how they feel towards others freely with no restrictions, but when it comes to Muslims it becomes really “not cool” and “not civilized” to do the very same?
I mean when the hell are you going to finally stop kissing asses to win admiration and be called modern and open-minded!! Or is it that you got used to saying sorry no matter what!
To all those who consider people like myself to be dumbasses, whether you’re Muslims or non-Muslims, believers or non-believers, I ask: Who is standing for the so-called freedom of expression when Muslim women are getting kicked out of schools and are getting fired for simply putting a harmless piece of cloth on their own heads?
Who is apologizing for Muslims who are being expelled from countries they’ve been living in as constructive members of society for ages just because of their religion? Where does freedom of expression exactly fit when some countries are forming Arab-speaking police units to track the speeches of Imams in mosques? Who is defending Freedom of the damn expression when Israel lobbies against tagging Paradise Now as a film from Palestine, because to them there’s no such thing as Palestine! Where is Freedom of Expression when a petition is created and signed by over 11,000 Israelis to force the withdrawal of this Palestinian movie from the Academy Awards?!

Why get out of the topic, let’s stick to cartoons. Being offended by a cartoon mocking our prophet is stupid, conservative, backward and intolerant? What should WE say about our Palestinian cartoonist NAJI AL ALI, who was assassinated because he dared express the suffering of Palestinians in his cartoons? Huh! Or are our cartoonists pieces of trash!

If you want freedom of expression, you need to apply it equally regardless of religion or origin. Freedom of expression loses all its sense when you practice double standards.
If you really believe in freedom of expression, you need to respect the differences and know the fine line between expressing yourself for a cause, and hurting someone in the name of expressing yourself.
And most important of all, you need to know that freedom of expression was never disregarding the other part or freeing yourself from ethics and responsibility, because if you reached that point, what’s the use of calling you human!
I guess there’s nothing better to end this post than the Charles Kingsley quote I’ve been typing all over the blogosphere lately: “There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought”.

Original Article can be found here

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"No soul bears the sins of another soul."

Now this is a quote we can use! From the Koran, no less!
(Comment by N=1, not Damascene.)
(I will try and make a Dutch translation this weekend)

Posted by Damascene 16022006

A long-waited move. Alarabiya reported that 41 prominent Muslim clerics have issued a joint statement condemning violence that marked some of the protests against the Danish cartoons. The statement condemned the cartoons but called Muslims to control their reaction:

We call upon Muslims to abide to the limits of Shari'a, and we condemn responding to an offense with acts that violate the Shari'a, its laws and pacts, like attacking embassies or innocent lives and other wrongdoings that distorts the justice of our demands or result in our isolation from the world. Defending our Prophet should not be by disobeying his teachings.

We highly appreciate the balanced views, expressed by various religious figures, against this disgraceful offense. This calls us to emphasize that non-Muslims in our countries and outside should not be blamed for the mistake of those who offended the Prophet (PBUH), in accordance to God's saying: "No soul bears the sins of another soul."

Signatories from Syria included Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun and famous clerics Saeed Ramadan Al-Bouti and Wahba Al-Zuhayli. The statement also carried the signatures of the Grand Muftis of Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Oman, as well as Amr Khaled, the very popular young Egyptian preacher.

VOICES: The Cartoons and the Neocon - Daniel Pipes and the Danish Editor

Another Great Article on http://www.counterpunch.org by John Sugg

Another Quote:

Should free speech have constraints? Official censorship is anathema to a free society. Self-censorship and spinning for a regime -- a la Fox News -- is just as corrosive. On the other hand, I think the media should be very judicious about gratuitous offense. I’m repulsed at such things as artist Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.” And, I feel no need to antagonize Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans or any other religious groups by intentionally creating an affront to their faith. I
even have respect for the misbegotten gospel of the (un)Christian oalition.

Great Artice.. full text can be found HERE

VOICES: Muslims 'R' us, not them

An excellent article by Rick Salutin... published on http://www.rabble.ca

"A week ago, I'd not have guessed that the response among Muslims to those Danish cartoons, and the response to their responses, would still be
escalating. What accounts for it?

Let me suggest it's not due to the specific cartoons. It's areaction to a long, even centuries-long experience of being the object ofsomeone else's caricatures with no effective way to reply. Cartoons of Arab "oil sheiks" began to proliferate after the 1973 Mideast war: hook-nosed, leering, lascivious and greedy. Add cartoons of menacing Arab terrorists, not just in newspapers but in movies like Black Sunday and True Lies. There was an older tradition, too — like that depicted by Rudolf Valentino in the silent film, The Sheik — going back to the 19th century and before.

Other groups have also been caricatured. But Disney films like Peter Pan or Song of the South — perfectly good as films — were largely taken out of circulation due to complaints from aboriginals and blacks. The Arab-Muslim caricatures continue to thrive. Look at 24 and all its swarthy terrorists; 9/11 breathed new life into a cartoon mode that had never really faltered. ...."

read the full Article HERE

Limewire/BitTorrent vs Syrian Government

I was shocked to read Ayman's blog, describing how the Syrian government is trying to block it's users from international and freethinking Blogspace.

That they still think they can pull this off in this day and age! How stupid can you get...
This easy 5-step program helps you help the Syrian people thwart censorship.

  • Try and find out which blogs the people in Syria are really feeling they miss out on.
  • Post those requests on as many weblogs, sites and email-signatures as you possibly can.
  • Download those page to our own harddrives.
  • Zip'em
  • Throw these in your Limewire shared folder, together with all the illegal software and music that, officialy, you do not have.
  • Music and porn are free, so why not information?

All it takes is us, people with access to all the information that is available and a lot that is not, to do a simple, and yet a very hard and difficult thing. Every day, we have to take 15 minutes of our time of fun-surfing, horn-dogging and hack-scanning, to go and look for Requested Information and make it available in Limewire and BitTorrent. 15 minutes, 1 blog per day.
Why don't you adopt a blog and download it every day? In just two weeks time it will be a habit.

Until this does become good a habit, and while you now still have that warm and fuzzy feeling about such an www.damasceneblog.comeffective idea, set an alarm somewhere. Because later today, you may be thís close to finding that one special Black Cat MP4 of 'Rosalita (Come out tonite)' as recorded in the Roxy on 11/7/78... Then it may be very hard to actually stop doing that, an go hunt for some boring political stuff... I know because I have been there myself!

Please set that alarm and throw aBlog, any Blog into Information Space.
It will probably land in a welcoming environment eventually...

Not very FAQ: Communicating with an Alien

Posted by Omar

Not very FAQ!


“Everything you always wanted to know about Muslims, Christians, Jews or Atheists but were afraid to ask…”

Each week a new question will be mailed to our list of Volunteers. They will be asked to try and answer the question as honest, clear and open-minded as they can. And in a hundred words or less. A digest of the responses will be posted here, waiting for your comments!

We hope to foster a platform where people from all continents, cultures and beliefs can gather to check, cross-check and hopefully dispel cultural stereotypes.

If you have any question you would like asked, please send us an email!
If you would like to be in the panel of Volunteers, who get to see the questions first, please add your name here.

Omar's Question

I was chosen to start the series, so here comes the first question:
As a Westerner, in the light of the latest events concerning the cartoons issue, do you see a difference between a Muslim, Arab, Middle-eastern, and Eastern in general?
And if you do, what do you think the difference is?

N=1 Answers
Good point. Actually, I realize that in my subconscious mind the definitions usually overlap without real distinction. Almost like difference between different words for ‘Rain’.
I have to think consciously to come up with definitions, and even then it is hard to get them clear…

Muslim: Follower of Islam faith
Arab: My mind immediately conjures up footage of an angry, shouting protester superimposed over my childhood image of guy on a camel riding in the desert. That older, almost romantic image takes some time and effort to recall.
Middle-east: Israel, Palestina, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq...
‘Eastern’ I associate with India and further east. Oriental.

Helena answers:
It is a good question but difficult to answer. Differences exist because of different cultures and different kind of regimes. A muslim is, and I quote Nico: "a follower of Islam faith".
In every country you can find muslims. And arabs can be muslims to. Some arabs are agressive, some (most arabs) not. Some moslims are agressive, most however not. I think differences are existing because of different regimes: non-democratic, indoctrination, no access to education, housing, food and so on.

Sara answers
Muslim: Somebody who follows the Islamic Faith as Nico said. It doesn't matter what part of the world he/she is from.

Arab: Somebody who is from any Arab country. Starting from the Arabian Penensula all the way to Northern Africa. Not all Arabs are Muslim. There are Christian Arabs, Athiest Arabs, free thinker, and even Jewsih Arabs.

Middle East: It's a region in this world that includes countries from the Gulf and the countries Nico mentioned.

The East that is another region in this world that is further east from the Middle East. Countries like India, Bangladish, Pakistan, Afghanistan, are part of the east... There is also the far east where there is China, Japan and other countries.. Then there is South East Asia, which is Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

transferred from the old volkskrant blog by Omar

Francis answers:
Hallo Omar,
Welcome here!!
I saw your weblog.
This is a difficult one to ask

I can not answer that question
When I say Muslim, I imagina a family, in the Netherlands, people who just think a bit differently
than I do.
The Violence of terrrorists and say is their way ,
are different people far away

But I see also the face of the man who killed the Dutch cineast van Gogh brutally.

We are Sorry (in dutch)

Posted by Voordaan

fotofotoIk hoor zoveel tegenstrijdige geluiden in deze tijd van chaos: Moslims ' moeten' laten horen dat ze zich distantiëren van de zelfmoordaanslagen, van het verbranden van ambassades, kortom, van het bedreigen van de westerse wereld. Wie denken ' wij' wel dat we zijn? Dat is de gedachte die dan bij mij op komt. Door zo hard te roepen dat DE moslimwereld niets van zich laat horen, vergeet je te kijken. Ik keek heel dubbel naar een Deens/Noorse website, met deze boodschap: WE ARE SORRY. Gemaakt door jonge moslims, die dit duidelijk willen maken:
We whole-heartedly apologize to the people of Denmark, Norway and all the European Union over the actions of a few, and we completely condemn all forms of vandalism and incitement to violence that the Arab and Muslim world have witnessed. We hope that this sad episode will not tarnish the great friendship that our peoples have fostered over decades.

Maar gek genoeg heb ik deze website nog nergens vermeld gezien. Willen wij dit wel zien op onze nieuwsuitzendingen en in onze kranten? Of willen we alleen maar woedende imams zien in onze huiskamers, die haat verspreiden? Willen we alleen maar Deense vlaggen zien die de fik in gaan. Willen we alleen maar Geert Wilders zien en andere angry young men die niets anders lijken te willen dan aantonen dat moslims onze vijanden zijn? Vinden we het alleen maar jammer dat net nu de beelden van de Britse soldaten boven water komen, waarop Iraki's mishandeld worden? Roepen we morgen dat dit propaganda is en niet waar?
Moeten we ook niet zeggen dat er een Brits/Irakese website moet komen met de tekst: WE ARE SORRY PEOPLE FROM IRAQ? En is het ook niet tijd dat de Amerikanen hetzelfde doen? En wij dan? Hebben wij ooit onze verontschuldigingen uitgesproken? We zijn zo goed in het relativeren van onze eigen zonden. Nee meisje, dat was allemaal toen heeeeel anders.
Waarom verwachten wij nu een GENERAAL EXCUUS van alle mensen die een andere achtergrond hebben dan onze calvisnistische?

Zomaar wat gedachten voor het slapen gaan. Voor iedereen die dit leest: slaap lekker, en morgen gezond weer op. (en ik zou wensen dat het waar was).

Voordaan (i.s.m. met Bridging the Gap, maar inloggen gaat niet zo makkelijk vandaag!) 13 febuari 2006

Bridging the gap: Global Voices

Posted by Heleen

Bridging the gap: Global Voices, other cultures and what about Dutch immigrants in Spain?

For bloggers who are interested in World-bloggers: Visit Global Voices and see what is happening in other countries.

Global Voices Online is a non-profit global citizens’ media project, sponsored by and launched from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School.

How Global Voices Works:
A growing number of bloggers around the world are emerging as “bridge bloggers:” people who are talking about their country or re
fotogion to a global audience. Global Voices is your guide to the most interesting conversations, information, and ideas appearing around the world on various forms of participatory media such as blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs.
Our global team of regional blogger-editors is working to find, aggregate and track these conversations. Each day they link to 5-10 of the most interesting blog posts from their regions in the “daily roundups” section. A larger group of contributing bloggers is posting daily features in in the left-hand Weblog section, shedding light on what blogging communities in their countries have been talking about recently”.

If you visit the website, you can just “click” at different countries and see what other bloggers are writing about. Interesting fact: I glanced at the number of Dutch bloggers and found out that the number of Dutch bloggers is very limited.


Bridging the gap, and what about Dutch immigrants?
To reach our goal: bridging the gap in blogspace, I myself find it very important to write about other cultures and take notice of the advantages of other cultures instead of the disadvantages. And what about generalizations? Or creating fear by saying that “Islam is a dangerous religion”. Do we really understand other cultures and do we understand for instance the immigrants who are coming to or living in the Netherlands? Are most Dutch people really interested in other cultures? We travel a lot, that’s what Dutch people became “famous” about, but are we really interested in other cultures? And what about Dutch immigrants in other countries?

I recently took notice of a study about European immigrants in Spain (Costa del Sol): (Karen O’Reilly): Karen O'Reilly Dutch, British and other Europian immigrants do not take part of the Spanish society at all:

To summarise some of the findings (results): people of all ages are now moving to Spain and are increasingly choosing inland as well as coastal areas in which to settle. Many are older and retired, which has implications for health and social service provision as they age. However, younger families are now migrating with their children, which in turn has implications with regard to schooling and the specific health needs of young families. The data presented in this report on integration have further implications which this section aims to reveal. A third of migrants rarely or never meet Spanish people (other than in shops and restaurants), 60 per cent do not speak good Spanish, half never read a Spanish newspaper, most have never voted in an election in Spain, half do not have residence cards, and over a third are not registered on the town hall register. Furthermore, many are not registered with the local doctor or health service and rely solely, in times of sickness, on the free or reduced cost emergency cover to which they are entitled as members of the EU (Form E111), but which is meant for tourists not residents in Spain. A significant number are working in the informal economy”.
Enjoy other cultures!
Meet other people of different cultures: not only in other countries but also in the Netherlands. Try different kinds of food and music!
I visit Turkey regularly, and, if possible, I try to speak (a little bit) the Turkish language, I try the Turkish food and I enjoy the hospitality of the Turkish people. They often say when you visit them: “hos geldiniz” (welcome!). I also like Turkish music, Raï (Algeria). In my city, Utrecht (The Netherlands) I also visit Turkish shops (groceries, bakeries) and I am trying to cook turkish.

I would like to excuse me for my bad english (dinglish): Fot Dutch bloggers: see also “I always get my sin” (author: Maarten Rijkens).

Travel around the world

De afbeelding “http://static.flickr.com/41/100371814_6a50a49118.jpg?v=0” kan niet worden weergegeven, omdat hij fouten bevat.
fotoPublished by Voordaan

For those who visit my blog for the first time and do not understand the language: hello, you arrived in Utrecht, the Netherlands, somewhere in Europe.

This evening I was traveling from Syria to Israel, and I must say, I had a pleasant stay in both countries.
Whatever 'they' may write in your country concerning Jews, Christians and Muslims. Whatever 'they' may say about it in mine. Whatever propaganda will be thrown right in all of our faces: try to escape it through the internet, as I did. Cross borders, find soulmates. Read. Talk. Write. Debate. Feel free to respond. Welcome. Merhaba. This is our world. And never, never trust all that you hear and read. The truth may never be found in a crazy world like ours. But we have to live in it. Together. Emotional plead? Yeah, sure it is.
Want to read more? Visit this blog


Buttons and Banners


Please use these banners and images and let your friends, colleagues, fellow students, relatives and of course all the new blog-vistors know you are a Bridgebuilder in Blogspace!

  • This blog changes all the time, where should I link to?
    The easiest way would be to let the banner point to bridgethegapinblogspace.blogspot.com
    A new indexpage will be created whenever a new blog gets added, so the index will always be the newest blog vistors will see when entering on the main page.

  • I need a specific size that's not on here, now what?
    Leave a message in the box below this page and we'll see if we can help out.

  • These images are lame, I could do so much better...
    Finally someone with talent! Please respond in the box below with a URL, we'll be happy to add them! With credits of course...

Banner 465*53 pixels

Banner 600*68 pixels

Button 175*200 pixels

Large Button 250*286 pixels


This is a list of the first people to have responded to the call for volunteers.

There are now bloggers volunteering from all over the Middle-East, Europe and Northern-America, and hits coming from all over the world! We welcome every blogger from every country to join!

This list will be updated regularly.
Please feel free to visit their weblogs and make contact with them.
They (Christians, Muslims and Atheists alike) have volunteered to engage in open and respectful conversations, so you can try and ask all the questions you thought you’d never be able to ask to either a European, an Arab, an American, an Israeli, a Frenchman or whichever nationality is the most Alien to you.

A couple of pointers:
Treat everyone with the same respect as you would want to be treated with yourself.

Online discussion always run the risk being disrupted by not-so-innocent bystanders. So it may very well be that you feel more comfortable writing a private email instead of a posting. Whatever helps you communicate most efficiently.

You may not agree with each other on many issues.
That is no problem, the point of the whole idea is to show that we can all disagree in a civilized manner.

Click any Blog and Communicate with an Alien…

Current update 24.02.2006-00:25

Let's Bridge this Gap in Blogspace - Call for Volunteers

De afbeelding “http://static.flickr.com/25/100265039_eaba590a94_o.gif” kan niet worden weergegeven, omdat hij fouten bevat.

After have received this email from Ayman, I posted it on my blog. Fellow VK-Blogger Helena responded immediately and suggested that more people ought to start communicating with bloggers abroad.

Ayman is a guy from Syria, a country that, in the Dutch public opinion seems about ready to unleash the Muslim hordes on the western world.

Why on earth are we thinking that?

Because a few fundamentalist and extremist Imams try to gain the right to speak for all Muslim people in the world? And seem to succeed?

Because by doing so they willingly try and drive a wedge between the Muslims abroad and their new home-countries?

Because our populist politicians need the attention and tensions just as badly as the Imams do? As well as any excuse to start their old familiar rants again?

Because our TV-Networks are much more interested in showing us the scary images that will keep the ratings up and everybody glued to their TV-sets, than they are in showing footage of a billion people not setting fire to embassies? (See ‘Bowling for Columbine’...)

Whatever the reasons, we always fear what we do not know.
And the only medium that could help us gain eye-witness knowledge seems more interested in scaring us than in informing us.

Ayman, Helena and me stumbled upon the effects the incredible power of the Internet might have on getting the real information across. Because what better way to find how and what people are really thinking and feeling than by a virtual visit to their home?

That’s why we would like to call every Blogger that is willing to start an open dialogue, based on mutual respect and understanding with someone from an entirely different culture to come forward!

Respond in the box below (‘Uw reactie:’) with your name, blog-address and home country. If there are any special topics you happen to be particularly knowledgeable about, please let us know! Clicking ‘Verstuur’ will post the reply. Replies will be sent to a moderator, they are not immediatly visible here. But we do receive them!

All Volunteers willing to try and Bridge the Gap between our Cultures through Blogspace, will be compiled in a separate page, for easy browsing. Just click on any name from any country that interests, worries, intrigues or scares you.

Calling out to Bloggers around the world willing to teach about their cultures and curious to learn about other cultures!