Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Saudi': Saudi Arabia & The Blogosphere

Ahmed al-Omran (b. May 30, 1984)

Ahmed al-Omran is a young Saudi pharmacy science student at King Sa'ud University in the kingdom's capital city of Riyadh. A native of al-Ahsa, the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, he pens a widely-read blog, Saudi, that was blocked by Saudi authorities in August 2006. Al-Omran, who chose his blog's name for the simple reason that he is a Saudi and likes wearing jeans instead of a traditional white thobe (ankle-length robes, which I favor when in the Middle East), writes commentary about political and social debates within the kingdom, as well as his own perspectives on issues ranging from freedom of speech and human rights to women's rights and youth issues. He has been blogging since May 2004, and writes in English. He also has an Arabic language blog. On his blog, al-Omran writes, "I keep this blog running because I want to be a part of the change that is going on in Saudi Arabia. I want to participate in the effort to push for more reforms, and I want to see this country become a better place."

When asked why he writes in Enlish, al-Omran responds, "English is the global lingua franca. It is the dominant international language, and writing in it allows me to communicate not just with my own countrymen and women but with the whole wide world. Moreover, I hope that writing in English could contribute to change many stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Saudi Arabia."

His blog has attracted the attention of the international media:

The Christian Science Monitor


BBC News

Recent posts include:

(1) "10 Must Read Saudi Blogs" [November 27, 2008]

(2) "Welcome to Riyadh" [November 25, 2008]

(3) "Shia Khums: Where's Our Money?" [October 28, 2008] *Amen.*

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