This morning, I systematically toured Libyan blogs in the hope of finding a particular picture about Ramadan I had seen in one of them. (I found it eventually in another place). During the search, I mentioned something interesting in a blog I generally don't read, Khalid Jorni's CNN Libya (Update: after a demand by CNN, Khalid had to change the name and URL of his blog, now located here). The post is dated Jan. 28 and titled Union of Libyan Bloggers succeeds in deleting a Libyan blog. I am pasting here an unusually large, unedited quote from its beginning:
"Living in a country where all men head to mosque on Fridays, and 99% of women wear Hijab, always made me think that we are different, innately religious, and naturally immune against godlessness and secularism, but recently I realized that we are as normal, "or abnormal, this is not the point", the point is that people in this country are not different from those who come out everyday in western societies confessing that they don’t believe in God, they are homosexuals, or they are addicted and cannot quit, the only one difference between us and them is that they can speak out, while we have to worry about the possible consequent social stigma before we even take a breath.
Those of you who browse the Arabic language sector of the Libyan blogosphere, have definitely come across what used to be the most popular Libyan blog of Tariq Ali, a Libyan guy who confessed frankly that he didn’t believe in any religion, and wrote things like "all prophets are quacks..bla bla bla", his blog has recently been deleted after the message that had been sent by the Libyan union of bloggers to maktoob, the host of Tariq's blog.
But I wonder if this was the right way to manage!. Did we need to hide him!?, to insult him on the comment section of his blog? To provoke everyone against him?, or to understand his illness, feel sorry for him, and advice him to get help?
Before the atheist Libyans -who are increasing every day- state their objection to the word "illness", I would like to point out that spirituality is now added as a recognized component of health.
Health used to be identified as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, but WHO has recently added spirituality as a fourth component of health, "Libyan physician bloggers can correct me if I am wrong, we have plenty of them", so he who has no spiritual life, who is not a Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, etc.., is now formally considered sick and needs therapy, not to be hidden, not to be insulted, not to be silenced, not to be terminated, but to be helped out with treatment..."
Follow the above link to read the entire post.
I am sorry for Tariq and his blog, but at the same time I think that what happened is good from the viewpoint of safety. The deceptive anonymity of Internet lures people to write things that could put them in trouble if they are found out. And they are too easily found out. We all know how Chinese regime with the help of Yahoo identifies people writing against it in the Web and puts them in jail. So, if Tariq hadn't been silenced now, he could eventually suffer something much worse than losing his blog. If he happens to read this, he is welcome to e-mail me.
Meanwhile, I would suggest to Khalid (and other people who think like him) to take care for the much needed inclusion of atheism in the next, fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I don't know whom they should e-mail, but this is relatively easy to find :-).