In most African countries, the governments have tried all means to ensure certain ‘dissident’ voices are not heard. Blogging is a new avenue that such voices can be heard
It was interesting listening to Alaa Abd El Fattah, and Ory Okolloh on their various initiatives at using the blogosphere, now a common term here at Rhodes University, as a vehicle towards activism.
Ory narrated how her blog, ‘Mzalendo’ is initiating relevant bills for discussion in the Kenyan parliament. She cited the ‘sexual offenses bill’, as an example. Through the same blog, the progress of the bill can be tracked. Her blog also contains useful information about the parliamentarians. She hopes in future to be able to track down the participation of each of the parliamentarians to show what their contribution has been. This will give Kenyans an opportunity to fairly judge how well their leaders are representing them in Parliament. Ory says that it is time Kenyans did more than just whining about poor leadership.
Alaa on the other hand recounted numerous blogging initiatives by Egyptians to lobby the government to pay attention to various human rights issues. One issue he highlighted was a blog by Egyptian women telling their own stories, some of which are complaints against oppression.
Certainly everyone has a story to tell and what a better way than to blog it?