Monday, May 16, 2011

Postcard from Cyber Activism Conference

“This conference speaks to a number of voices coming from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We must remember that those voices existed and those voices have not just been invented recently with the revolutions or just over the past few months. No! The question is for how long we had those voices in the Middle East?,” with those words the Egyptian columnist and speaker, Mona Eltahawy started her speech for the international conference on Cyber Activism at The Royal Library, in Copenhagen , Denmark, on 9th of May.

Around 10 female activists, bloggers, journalists from the MENA were invited as guest-speakers and I was one of them to speak on utilizing cyber activism in advocating democracy and freedom of expression. Apparently, the international community is fascinated by how for-along-time passive (oppressed) youth could use social media as tools for political mobilization and as a platform for political activism and dissent!

I believe that Arab youth form a great percentage of youth in this world and they are really marginalized. I also believe that we, the youth really don’t like to be marginalized, not at all! And we’ll take any chance to speak out and let our voice be heard. That’s exactly what the female speakers did throughout the past couple years and the revolutions. The speakers were from Tunis, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Yemen.

Mainly, the speakers shared their experiences with cyber-activism and the challenges they face with that in their own country. The talk was very inspiring. It felt like a celebration of bravery.

The conference was organised by the Danish Center for Culture and Development (DCCD/CKU), The Danish Center for Information on Gender, Equality and Ethnicity (KVINFO) and Danish PEN, the Danish branch of the writers association, International PEN.

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