Fouad in Riyadh

I was in Jeddah when Fouad was released, but unfortunately I could not meet him then because I had to leave the next day. Last night he paid a visit to Riyadh, and fellow blogger Sami Omar hosted a dinner in his honor in Shurfa Restaurant. We were also joined by Jihad, Herbaz, Medical Practitioner and Mohammed al-Saleh. Needless to say, we had a great time. It was really good to see him after this long time and I hope we will have a chance to get together again soon inshallah. There is only so much you can say in five hours :-)

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Foaud’s Blog, FreeFouad.com Blocked

blocking

Someone at CITC has decided to go on a blocking spree this morning and went to ban access to the alfarhan.org, freefouad.com and Horyiat blog. After detaining Fouad Al Farhan for more than 100 days because he spoke his mind, now they are trying to stop people from reading his ideas. Pathetic.

The authorities are yet to reveal the reasons for the detention, and a spokesman for MOI told CNN Arabic last week there was on update on the case. The blockage is indicative of the mentality behind the detention and it also a sign that it will last even longer.

They are wrong if they think the blockage will stop people from getting information about this case and all violations on human rights here. They are wrong if they think the blockage will stop us from raising Fouad’s issue over and over again until he is free and back to his family and friends. We know how to get around your stupid censorship, and if you block two or three blogs we can launch hundreds of new blogs.

P.S. You can still follow the Free Fouad campaign here: English, Arabic.

Phone Call from Fouad

Detained Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan has been allowed to make a phone call to his wife yesterday, FreeFouad.com reported. His wife said Fouad told her that he is in a good shape and his morale is high. He said he is hoping that authorities would soon allow others to visit him in jail. The website also said that Fouad would like to thank all those who supported him and his family during these tough times.

Fouad’s Week

This is the post I wanted to use for my first participation in the Fouad’s Week event, but unfortunately I don’t have time to translate it now. So I will repost these quotes that I translated last month:

It is only the feebleminded who would use guns and violence to deliver his message.

We desperately need a time of calmness and reconciliation between the different leaderships in our society: Islamists, liberals and the government.

If you were a free citizen and think you have the right speak your mind on what is happening in our country and have something to say, be brave and say it in your real name.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no guarantee that you won’t be arrested because of your frankness and speaking your mind on your blog. But there is also no guarantee when you hide and write in internet forums using a pseudonym.

My advice to anyone that cares about common interest and is angry over what is happening in our country and keeps on writing at internet forums using a pseudonym is to join the blogging world and write using his real name to contribute positively in building the Saudi blogosphere.

A Letter to Fouad: What I Know

Dear Fouad,

It has been a month since you were detained, and I miss you. It has been a rough month for the rest of us here, but it is certainly nothing compared to what you have had to go through and still do. They told us you were detained because you violated non-security regulations. Gibberish, to say the least, but that’s what we were told. I really don’t know what kind of law you violated by merely exercising your God given right of free speech, and I don’t know when calling for freedom, justice, peace and moderation has become a crime.

But here is what I know. I know that all these values you called for are worth fighting for. I know that we believe in a just cause, and that tomorrow belongs to us, not them. I know that no matter how long the darkness lasts, the sun will rise again. I want you to know one thing: I am here for you. I will keep supporting you and I will do my best until you are free again and back to your family and friends. You will not be forgotten.

Yours,
Ahmed

Fouad Says…

Sami Ben Gharbia has been working on a randomizer badge for Free Fouad campaign that will display and randomize some of Fouad’s quotes. Sami asked me to help him with translating these quotes, and I thought it would be good to post them here too so you can learn more about Fouad and what he believes in.

First, here’s some selected quotes:

It is only the feebleminded who would use guns and violence to deliver his message.

We desperately need a time of calmness and reconciliation between the different leaderships in our society: Islamists, liberals and the government.

If you were a free citizen and think you have the right speak your mind on what is happening in our country and have something to say, be brave and say it in your real name.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no guarantee that you won’t be arrested because of your frankness and speaking your mind on your blog. But there is also no guarantee when you hide and write in internet forums using a pseudonym.

My advice to anyone that cares about common interest and is angry over what is happening in our country and keeps on writing at internet forums using a pseudonym is to join the blogging world and write using his real name to contribute positively in building the Saudi blogosphere.

And here’s a list of 25 reasons for blogging Fouad presented after he came back from his hiatus:

Why Do We Blog?

1. Because we believe we have opinions that deserve to be heard, and minds that should be respected.
2. Because societies do not progress until they learn to respect opinions of their members. And we would like to see our society progressing.
3. Because blogging is our only option. We do not have a free media, and freedom to assemble is not allowed.
4. Because we want to discuss our opinions.
5. Because we think.
6. Because we care.
7. Because blogging has had a positive effect on other societies and we want to see the same result in our society.
8. Because blogging is a reflection of the life of society members. And we are alive.
9. Because blogging is gaining increasing attention from media and governments. We want them to listen to us.
10. Because we are not scared.
11. Because we reject the cattle mentality.
12. Because we welcome diversity of opinions.
13. Because the country is for all, and we are part of it.
14. Because we want to reach out to everyone.
15. Because we refuse to be an “echo”.
16. Because we are not any less than bloggers in other societies.
17. Because we seek the truth.
18. Because our religion encourages us to speak out.
19. Because we are sick and tired of the Saudi media hypocrisy.
20. Because we are positive.
21. Because blogging is a powerful tool that can benefit society.
22. Because we are affected and we can affect.
23. Because we love our country.
24. Because we enjoy dialogue and don’t run away from it.
25. Because we are sincere.