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Bahrain, more cartoons and animated conversations

Cartoon discussion was not exclusive to Bahrain or the Middle East last week. That subject took the world by storm; some for and some very against the depiction of the Prophet of Islam not only in a graphical form, which on its own is regarded by Muslims as blasphemous, but the representation was seen as obscene, callous and culturally insensitive.

Suffice it to say that the vast majority of Bahrain blogs have written about this subject, the first was Haitham who broke the story in the Bahraini blogosphere on Jan 11, 2006 with an extensive number of comments, followed by more discussions on Mahmood's Den with three posts: in the first he accused the Bahraini parliament as being childish and ridiculous for breaking their holidays and holding an extra-orderinary session just to demand an apology from Denmark, incite people and businesses to boycott Danish goods and called for country-wide protests, thus completely going against the very rules and laws which they are considering to limit freedoms of expression and personal freedoms in Bahrain, the second article came out when it become known that a French newspaper reprinted the cartoons and the third was after some 25 demonstrations after Friday prayers with a picture of a member of parliament burning the Danish flag.

Even one of Bahrain's intellectuals whose blog is rather popular didn't escape the cartoons; however, for his troubles he got featured on the front page of a national newspaper and accused of being derogatory to the Prophet himslef! (arabic) Of course, that paper, Al-Watan (arabic) just exposed itself as nothing more than a yellow journal.

The King gave one of his candid interviews to the editors-in-chief of the local papers in which he laid down future plans which were welcomed by everyone, especially as the speech (arabic) promised to attack corruption head-on, provide affordable housing and land for every citizen and end the era of the decades-length ministerial positions.

Haitham Sabbah attended and was a panelist at The 2nd Al-Jazeera Forum where he spoke about The New Media: Bloggers and Participatory Journalism where he had the opportunity to open the eyes of traditional newspaper editors to the world of blogging and citizen journalism. He was amazed that one of these editors was actually on his blogging panel and didn't know the first thing about the medium!

Ali Al-Saeed was involved in co-producing a new documentary about successful women in the Middle East called Models of Success and he describes the hectic schedule of the first two days of shooting, and gets to know what a producer actually does. It seems to have been a very enjoyable and informative enterprise for Ali.

Manama Republic reflects on the seemingly conscientious efforts of the government, represented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, to hurt the feelings of the majority of Bahrain's population by hosting a “Wahabifest” at a time when the Shi'as – who constitute approximately 70% of the population – are commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain – the Prophet's grandson – in their Ashura festival.

Manama Republic was also the only Bahraini blogger who commented on the very unfortunate death of a young girl – Fatima Jaffar – because she got electrocuted in her home due to faulty wiring. Wiring that her family could not fix due to their utter poverty.

A good place to visit for all these stories and more is the Bahraini Blogs aggregator at http://bahrainblogs.org/ where it is updated form all Bahraini blogs every hour.

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