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Leifur

In Arabic, "Internet" Means "Freedom"

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Greetings Iraqis, here is an article taken from the magazine Reason, it is about a new Iraqi/arabic website, that promotes classical liberalism/libertarianism, like stated I beliewe here:

 

مصباح الحرية

 

مصباح الحرية هي منظمة غير ربحية لا تتبع لأي حزب، وعملها تعليمي يسعى إلى طرح آراء الحرية في المجتمع لصانعي القرار، والمراقبين، ورجال الأعمال، والطلاب، ووسائل الإعلام في الشرق الأوسط. ومن أجل هذا الهدف سوف تنشر مصباح الحرية مقالات رأي، وتقارير خاصة بالسياسات، وترجمات لأعمال هامة.

مصباح الحرية هي مبادرة لمشروع جاك بيرن حول الحرية في الشرق الأوسط، حيث يهدف إلى نشر الأفكار المتعلقة بحريّة وكرامة الإنسان في جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط. ومن خلال الكتب، والصحف، وشبكة الإنترنت، وغيرها من الأدوات باللغة العربية، سوف يجلب المشروع إلى شعوب الشرق الأوسط رسالة عن الحرية، والمبادرة في إقامة المشاريع، والتعاون السلمي ليحلّ مكان الحكم الاستبدادي، والتبعية، والصراع الذي ميّز جزءاً كبيراً جداً من تجربتهم.

آخر خبر

 

if I understand things correctly the above text is a translation of this text:

 

Lamp of Liberty

 

The Lamp of Liberty is a non-profit and non-partisan educational advocacy project that promotes ideas of liberty and freedom in the Middle East society, to its policy makers, observers, businessmen, students, and the media. It makes available in the Arabic language important articles, books, essays, and detailed policy studies.

 

The Lamp of Liberty hopes to create a dialogue between individuals in the Middle East and the rest of the world on the ideas that underpin a free society and the universal aspiration for freedom. It will publish opinion articles in Arabic newspapers, present policy reports, and translate important works by Frederick Bastiat, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, F. A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Leonard E. Read, Hernando de Soto, Fareed Zakaria, Julio H. Cole, Mario Vargas Llosa, David Hume, Voltaire, and Ibn Khaldun, among others. Topics include classical liberalism, the rule of law, civil liberties, property rights, economic freedom, religious toleration, free trade and globalization, the division of labor, individual rights, limited government, challenges of democratization, and the role of institutions in economic and social development.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact us at misbahalhurriyya@gmail.com.

 

But here is the article in its whole, enjoy:

Jonathan Rauch

 

Odd though it may sound, somewhere in Baghdad a man is working in secrecy to edit new Arabic versions of Liberalism, by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and In Defense of Global Capitalism, by the Swedish economist Johan Norberg. He is doing this at some risk of kidnap, beating, and death, because he hopes that a new Arabic-language Web site, called LampofLiberty.orgMisbahAlHurriyya.org in Arabic—can change the world by publishing liberal classics.

 

Odder still, he may be right.

 

Interviewed by email, he asks to be known by a pseudonym, H. Ali Kamil. A Shiite from Iraq's south, he is an accomplished scholar, but he asks that no other personal details be revealed. Two of his friends have been killed in the postwar insurgency and chaos, one shot and the other "slaughtered." Others of his acquaintance are in hiding, visiting their families in secret. He has been threatened for working with an international agency.

 

Now he is collaborating not with foreign agencies but with foreign ideas. He has made Arabic translations of all or parts of more than two dozen articles and nine books and booklets. "None," he says, "were previously translated, to my knowledge, for the simple reason that they are all on liberalism and democracy, which unfortunately have little audience and advocators in the Middle East, where almost all publishing houses and press outlets are governmental—i.e., anti-liberal."

 

Kamil's work is anonymous out of fear, not modesty. Translating Frederic Bastiat's The Law, he says, took 20 days of intense labor. "I am proud of that, especially when I knew that the book has never been translated before. This is one of the works my heart is aching for not having my name in its front page."

 

Asked how he began this work, he recounts meeting an American who was lecturing in Baghdad on principles of constitutional government. The message struck home. "Yes, you could say I am libertarian," Kamil says. "I believe in liberty for all, equality and human rights, freedom and democracy, free-market ethics, and I hate extremism in everything. I believe in life more than death as being the way to happiness."

 

The American was Tom G. Palmer, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington and a man who cares a lot about books. (So much so, that he always walks around with a satchel full of them.) When the Soviet Union fell, he worked on making key liberal texts available in Russian and the languages of the former Soviet Bloc. How can democracy and markets thrive, after all, without the owner's manual?

 

In 2004, Palmer traveled to Iraq for an education-ministry conference on reforming the schools. Having expunged compulsory Baathist education, the Iraqis were figuring out what came next. "They desperately wanted something different from what they had," Palmer says. Like many Albanians and Romanians he met after the Soviet Union collapsed, Iraqis pulled him aside to tell stories of family members harassed or killed by the fallen regime. The strikingly ubiquitous statues and images of Saddam Hussein testified to how thoroughly the Baathist dictatorship had dominated intellectual life.

 

Intellectual isolation is a widespread Arab phenomenon, not just an Iraqi one. Some of the statistics are startling. According to the United Nations' 2003 "Arab Human Development Report," five times more books are translated annually into Greek, a language spoken by just 11 million people, than into Arabic. "No more than 10,000 books were translated into Arabic over the entire past millennium," says the U.N., "equivalent to the number translated into Spanish each year." Authors and publishers must cope with the whims of 22 Arab censors. "As a result," writes a contributor to the report, "books do not move easily through their natural markets." Newspapers are a fifth as common as in the non-Arab developed world; computers, a fourth as common. "Most media institutions in Arab countries remain state-owned," the report says.

 

No wonder the Arab world and Western-style modernity have collided with a shock. They are virtually strangers, 300 years after the Enlightenment and 200 years after the Industrial Revolution. Much as other regions may be cursed with disease or scarcity, in recent decades the Arab world has been singularly cursed with bad ideas. First came Marxism and its offshoots; then the fascistic nationalism of Nasserism and Baathism; now, radical Islamism. Diverse as those ideologies are, they have in common authoritarianism and the suppression of any true private sphere. Instead of withering as they have done in open competition with liberalism, they flourished in the Arab world's relative isolation.

 

Palmer's first thought was to launch a think tank in Iraq, but that fizzled when the institute's prospective president bailed out at his wife's urging, for fear of his life. Last April, Palmer returned to Iraq to give talks on constitutional and free-market principles. At one such talk he met Kamil. Returning to Washington, Palmer connected with other liberal Arabs and, with their help, began commissioning translations: of Bastiat, Mises, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Voltaire, David Hume, F.A. Hayek, and such influential contemporary writers as Mario Vargas Llosa and Hernando de Soto. Most of this stuff has either been unavailable in Arabic or available spottily, intermittently, and in poor translations.

 

In January, MisbahAlHurriyya.org made its Internet debut. Today it hosts about 40 texts; Palmer aims for more like 400, including a shelf of books. (It currently offers an abridged edition of Hayek's Road to Serfdom and Bastiat's The Law. The Norberg book is coming soon.) Sponsored by the Cato Institute, it joins a small but growing assortment of Arabic-language blogs and Web sites promulgating liberal ideas.

 

"The Internet is a historical opportunity for Arab liberalism," Pierre Akel, the Lebanese host of one such site, metransparent.com, said in a recent interview with Reason. "In the Arab world, much more than in the West, we can genuinely talk of a blog revolution." The Internet provides Arab liberals with the platform and anonymity that they need; helpfully, Arabic-language blogware, developed by liberal bloggers, recently came online for free downloading. During the recent controversy over a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, an Egyptian blog, EgyptianSandMonkey.blogspot.com, made a splash by pointing out that no one had protested when the same cartoons had previously been published on the front page of an Egyptian newspaper—and by calling, sardonically, for a Muslim boycott of Egypt. (The site boasts a "Buy Danish" sticker.)

 

Since the 1950s, the U.S. State Department (and the former U.S. Information Agency, now folded into State) has steadily commissioned and published Arabic translations of American books, including a sprinkling of political classics, such as The Federalist Papers. Its translation programs are run by the embassies in Cairo and Jordan. According to Alberto Fernandez, of the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs Bureau, a third program, managed from Washington and still fledgling, seeks to bring translated books to Iraq.

 

Those print editions, worthy though they are, are subject to the vagaries of commercial book distribution, which is decidedly spotty in the region. The U.N. report notes that in the Arab world—a region of 284 million—a book that sells 5,000 copies qualifies as a best-seller.

 

The Internet, in contrast, makes possible worldwide, instant distribution, at a nearly negligible cost. MisbahAlHurriyya.org relies heavily on volunteers and donated Web services; its budget, says Palmer, is in the five figures. Thanks to e-mail, conferring and passing manuscripts between Washington, Baghdad, and Amman—a logistical nightmare in the days of mail and fax—is a cinch. The site, entirely in Arabic, advertises on the popular Arabic Web sites Albawaba.com and Aljazeera.net. The whole enterprise was impossible a decade ago. Firmly establishing liberal ideas took centuries in the West, and may yet take decades in the Arab world.

 

Authoritarian and sectarian and tribalist notions are easier to explain than liberal ones, and it is inherently harder to build trust in mercurial markets and flowing democratic coalitions than in charismatic leaders, visionary clerics, and esteemed elders. The liberal world's intellectual underpinnings are as difficult to grasp as its cultural reach is difficult to escape. Thus the disjunction within which Baathism, Islamism, and Arab tribalism have festered.

 

Yet few who are genuinely intellectually curious can read J.S. Mill or Adam Smith and come away entirely unchanged. The suffocating Arab duopoly of state-controlled media and Islamist pulpits is cracking—only a little bit so far, but keep watching. In the Arab world, the Enlightenment is going online.

 

© Copyright 2005 National Journal

 

Jonathan Rauch is a senior writer and columnist for National Journal and a frequent contributor to Reason. The article was originally published by National Journal.

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Guest Mustfser

A nice article in Alsabah government Iraqi sponsored newspaper.. About the Sadimist " Almujahideen" criminals threatening people and shops in some of Baghdad discrets "those where they have significant presence" from reading certain newspapers. Also threatening the cafes from tunning their public TV sets to certain channels ..

 

SHops owners in that regions said they are suffering as it is there daily living to sell newspapers. They ask the governemnt to get rid of criminals in their areas..

 

متابعة الصباح

أجهزة الأمن تقول بسيطرتها على المناطق الساخنة وواقع الحال ينفي ذلك

لم يتصور ابو جمال صاحب مكتبة في احدى المناطق السكنية ان يتعرض الى التهديد لمجرد بيعه الصحف العراقية. يقول ابو جمال:"انا ابيع الصحف منذ قرابة العشرين عاما إذ انها مهنتي وأعيل بها عائلتي وانا ابيع صحف جميع الاحزاب والحركات السياسية

 

وبما يطلبه المواطن ولكنني فوجئت بان هذه المهنة اصبحت تتعرض الى التهديدات. واضاف:"لم يكتف المهددون بتهديد أصحاب المكتبات فقط بل هددوا جميع المواطنين الذين يشترون هذه الصحف من مناطق اخرى". مواطنون وأصحاب مكتبات وبائعو صحف تحدثوا للوكالة الوطنية العراقية للانباء/نينا/عن معاناتهم في بعض المناطق التي تعرضوا فيها الى التهديد لمجرد قراءتهم إحدى الصحف. وقال حسن سعدون/كاسب/:"لم اكن أتوقع ان البلد وصل الى هذه المرحلة من القمع ومصادرة الحريات، اذ ان بعضهم يهدد شخصا بالقتل لمجرد أنه يقرأ الصحف، أو يشاهد حاملا بعضها". واضاف:"ان عددا كبيرا من المناطق ليست تحت سيطرة الحكومة ويقوم بعضهم بتهديد الناس فيها لمجرد قراءتهم الصحف، أو ما شابه ذلك". وتساءل سعدون:"متى تقوم الحكومة واجهزة الامن بتوفير الحماية الكاملة للمواطن لكي يعبر عن اتجاهاته اذ ان المجاميع المسلحة التي تصادر الحريات الشخصية منتشرة في كل مكان". وقال محمد علوان/صاحب مكتبة/:"اغلقت مكتبتي ولم اعد ابيع الصحف، فقد وردتني تهديدات بالقتل إذا أنا بعت الصحف الى المواطنين". وأضاف:"إن هؤلاء قطعوا رزقي ورزق عيالي ولا اعرف ماذا افعل اذ ان المكتبة تعتمد على الصحف بنحو كبير لتحقيق ربحيتها". واستنكر اعمال هؤلاء التي قد تصل حسب قوله الى يوم يتدخلون فيه" باختيار ملابسك وحديثك وحتى طعامك". وقال جاسم كاظم/موظف/:"اصبحت الصحيفة في منطقتنا كالممنوعات يجب اخفاؤها لكي لا يشاهدها المهددون بيدك، أو يقتلونك لمجرد شرائك اياها". واضاف:"اصبح الوضع لا يطاق، فاذا كنت تتعرض للتهديد بمجرد قراءتك صحيفة تعود لهذا الحزب او ذاك، فهذا يعني اننا نقرأ على البلد السلام". وأوضح كاظم:" ان على السياسيين أن يشكلوا حكومة باسرع وقت لتخليص المواطنين من هؤلاء". وقال ساجد ناظم/صاحب مقهى/:"تلقينا تهديدات من جماعات مجهولة بعدم عرض عدد من الفضائيات التي حددوها اثناء عمل المقهى". واضاف:"لا نستطيع الا الاستجابة لمطالبهم لأننا لا نعرف ماذا يفعلون بنا، فربما يصل الامر الى القتل او حرق المحل، وبما اننا على باب الله فسنضطر للاستجابة لهذه التهديدات لحين استتباب الوضع الامني في العراق وتشكيل حكومة قادرة على بسط الامن في جميع المناطق والحفاظ على ارواح المواطنين". وبين سليم كمال/كاسب/:" ان الانفلات الأمني بدا واضحا في عدد كبير من المناطق التي تسيطر عليها الجماعات المسلحة". وقال:"نسمع كثيرا من الاجهزة الامنية بانهم مسيطرون على الوضع في المناطق الساخنة ولكن واقع الحال يقول غير ذلك إذ إن عددا كبيرا من المناطق تسيطر عليها مجاميع مسلحة تسير امور المنطقة على ما تعتقد أنه صحيح". أضاف كمال:"إن آخر ما تم تهديد المواطنين به، هو عدم شراء الصحف كونها تمثل بعض الجهات اضافة الى منع اصحاب المكتبات من بيعها، ومنع اصحاب المقاهي من مشاهدة بعض القنوات فهل وصل البلد الى هذه المرحلة؟". وقال علي سلمان/بائع صحف/:"ان عملي اليومي هو توزيع الصحف بين المحال التجارية ولكن بعد ورود تهديدات انقطع رزقي ولا اعرف ماذا اعمل؟". وأضاف:"أصبح المواطن يقرأ الصحف خارج المنطقة ولا يأتي بها الى منزله خوفا من هذه التهديدات". وبين سلمان:"ان المواطن لديه عدد من المحطات الفضائية بالاضافة الى وجود برامج لقراءة الصحف في الفضائيات وان الاخبار تعرض على جميع الفضائيات ولا نعرف ماهو الدافع لهذه التهديدات". يذكر أن عددا من المكتبات التي تبيع الصحف تعرضت إلى التفجير أو الحرق أو الغلق، كان آخرها مكتبة خالد في شارع الربيع ببغداد التي فجرت بعبوة ناسفة في الرابع من الشهر الحالي.

وفي الشأن نفسه وزعت جماعة ارهابية تطلق على نفسها اسم (المجاهدون) قصاصات ورقية تضمنت تهديدات لمن يتعاطى العمل في بيع وتوزيع الصحف بالاستهداف والقتل من قبل مجاميع تابعة لها كلفتها بذلك.

 

 

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