Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rania Al Abdullah

Google reader provided me with this lead to a story on the BBC News website. In it, the first lady of Jordan takes on many of the stereotypes about Arabs and Islam in the west and she promotes modern Islam.

I have watched many of the videos and I recommend this presentation at Zeitgeist. Queen Rania is asking YouTubers to send her stereotypes about the Arab world so that she can address them. When you look at what is already on line, I hope that you will be impressed... yes men are hairy. :)

Being back from Alexandria Egypt, I can tell you that I had no idea what to expect. Now I have two Egyptian facebook friends and I learned a lot from them. I have seen the traffic of Egypt, the library of Alexandria I saw people pray. I have been thinking about what more can be done. Queen Rania indicates that information is key, particularly information for the younger generation. I think our Wikipedias should be part of this. Wikipedia is the most popular source of encyclopaedic information and consequently it should have great information about the Arab cultures, histories and peoples.

All our Wikipedias in all of our languages do not provide good, understandable information about the other cultures that are part of our world. Often the words used are not understood... What is "supplication" or "ablution" for instance ? When the articles are written in a way that expects our readers to know these things to start with, we fail our readers. It helps when the mechanics of the daily Muslin prayers are explained, including the washing, the carpet, finding the direction to Mecca... Most people do not have the full picture, and I still include myself here.

Someone, a people can be made an enemy only when they are not known, I think that Wikipedia can help in having information available for everyone who wants to know. Given that queen Rania's project is time limited, I think that it should be complemented by good information in Wikipedia. I hope she agrees with me.
Post a Comment