Tuesday, April 01, 2003

This was originally supposed to be an English language translation of Al Jazeera. It was first taken down by hackers, then replaced by a 'you are not authorized to access this page' message, and now is an Arabic language version of Al Jazeera. Why the hackers took down the English language version but not the Arabic language version I don't know, but in my opinion the blogosphere is the poorer for it.

It seems there are many more Arabs fluent in English then there are non Arabs fluent in Arabic. This is the natural result of our economic success - many want to move here for economic reasons, while many more who don't still want or need to do business with them. In a propaganda war this can be a critical disadvantage. They can answer or distort what we say, we cannot do likewise to them.

Some might think this is trivial - that our enemies are so closed minded that it doesn't matter. Even the current Bush administration has sometimes taken the trouble to send someone to appear on Al Jazeera television. I have great confidence in our values - not that they will magically convert anyone who hears them, but that they will sow doubts and new ideas in the most surprising places. That's why I would like to see bloggers pointing out factual and other errors in Al Jazeera the way they do for English language news sites.

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