I was reading some news on the Internet tonight and came across this article about a blogger from Kabul, Afghanistan, who is a, lone, independent voice in the country. He blogs his thoughts and feelings about the country in spite of threats of violence. He has been even been jailed for expressing his views, his name is Nasim Fekrat.
Here's an excerpt from his blog:
"When I was very young I used to write a bit about the world – my world and the world around me. Then, with access to new technology and the Internet, I started to learn about many new things.
Soon, I remember hearing the word ‘blog’ being used in my English class. I found the first Farsi blog service. And an old friend of mine showed me his blog. It made a big impression on me. By 2004, I was running my own satire and cartoon magazine. But it was shut down by fundamentalist Islamiists. I couldn't write using my real name anymore. For a few months, I was in trouble and had to keep moving around.
But I couldn’t stay silent. I started blogging again. During the first few weeks I received great feedback from people outside Afghanistan reading my blog. They liked it because it was difficult to find independent news from Afghanistan. I was writing in both Farsi and English, and soon many readers were visiting both my blogs. In 2005, I was the ‘Reporters Without Borders’ prize winner for the freedom of expression blog."
Here's a portion of the article that led me to find such an impressive person and blogger who blogs for freedom of expression in the face of fear.
Meet Afghanistan's Most Fearless Blogger Teaching journalists to write without fear, favor, or filter.By Jeffrey Stern
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2008, at 12:15 PM ET
Minutes into Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech before the Afghanistan Donor Conference in Paris, he congratulated his country on its "independent media," which, having "grown exponentially" since the ouster of the Taliban, is a harbinger of Afghanistan's imminent rise to respectable statehood. With a fresh infusion of development dollars, no doubt, Karzai could build on the thriving infrastructure, cultivate a legitimate civil society, educate girls, smoke out the extremists, and generally rid the world of its turbaned bogeymen.
Not everyone buys that. Though the telecom infrastructure in Afghanistan is growing at a pace that exposes confounding contrasts—kids download videos on mobile phones while their houses lack electricity for much of the day—the mainstream press hasn't grown up as fast. Given expanding access to eyes and minds, the national press isn't as sophisticated as it could be.
That's where Nasim Fekrat, a 25-year-old self-trained journalist and self-styled free-press crusader, comes in. Fekrat works from a small office in West Kabul, his laptop powered by a car battery that sucks up city electricity while it's on so he can work when the power is off. Fekrat founded the Association of Afghan Blog Writers and has taken on the task of recruiting bloggers from all over Afghanistan.
"I believe blogging will change things," he says. "We don't have free media in Afghanistan. We don't have independent media." As far as Fekrat is concerned, the "500 printed publications" touted in Karzai's speech is an extravagant claim, and even if it is accurate, the abundance of choices serves more than anything to saturate the market.
There is no "more".