Dec 18th, 2011 by Jinja
Ever since our first ‘Clogger Summit‘ in 2007, Cambodia’s blogging community has been fortunate to receive both enthusiasm and visits from overseas bloggers.
Today at the Digital Media Collective’s ‘Freedom of Expression Forum’ we were joined by what may be our first (indigenous) guest blogger from Afghanistan, Hameed Tasal.
From his hometown of Jalalabad he contributes to the blog ‘JalalaGood‘, in quite fluent English. (There are two other co-authors.) He has been blogging for about one year, and ‘has a lot of stories to share’.
Topics are diverse, due to the writer having several different jobs that take him around Afghanistan, often to rural areas. These explorations often provide material for blog posts.
Below: Hameed discusses about creating a computer lab for children in his home town, to provide education alternatives in a turbulent political landscape.
Why keep kids occupied in class? “The Taliban hires kids for $15 to plant a bomb on the road.”
“National Staring Competition” (Joke)
Above: the cost of bribes, and ‘Ali the Shopkeeper‘, a 5-year old who runs a shop with the assistance of local villagers.
A post on the issue of drone attacks, noting an American protester’s campaign.
Internet access in Afghanistan is uncensored (for now) but expensive and largely limited to cities.
Taliban insurgents allow cell phone towers to function only during day time, in many areas.
Like the early days of the internet in Cambodia, access can be costly. Men have public access to the internet, women do not.
Effective conflict resolution is a critical concern in Afghanistan, similar to Cambodia. If a problem is not solved via ‘Jirga’ (assembly of community leaders) criminals may flee to join Taliban for safety (due to pragmatism, not religion). After examining a recent failure of this process, the writer details his own personal experience with a Jirga as well.
Hameed seems quite happy to be exploring Cambodia and meet other bloggers. He will be in Cambodia for another two weeks. During break we chatted about the rapid growth of regional Southeast Asian IT meetings, which he seems quite enthused by. Barcamp Kabul? We shall see.
It was very interesting to see an English-language blog coming from Afghanistan, written by a citizen. From my perspective, it seems that non-native speakers that become bloggers tend to post in English – and have learned it in order to use information technology effectively. This has been the case with Khmer ‘early adopters’ such as Lux Mean and Bun Tharum.
I’ve only ever followed one other Afghan blog, “Pangolin en Afghanistan“, by a French Cartoonist who was creating educational material in Kabul. Like ‘JalalaGood’, it is in equal parts humorous and sad.
That’s all for today; more on the Forum to follow!
(Twitter hash tag: #BlogDMC)