Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for the 'World' Category

Small victories, a positive narrative 0

This past week has been nothing less than the usual political roller coaster we’ve been through ever since Arab spring came along.

I want to stress on the highs along that ride because for anything we focus on the lows too much.

I was part of a group who said a big NO to the news of an attempt to censor the Internet in Jordan for porn. And once this became almost a reality to censor news websites (a duh moment there), I was privy to swatch how a small group was able to do A WHOLE LOT within a week, see their enthusiasm, drive and see them deliver on their goal, since we believe masturbation is as healthy as other habits, like exercises or take supplements, for anyone interested they could find out where to buy kratom capsules online here. Today we hear about Mashrou’ Layla turning down a big gig to open the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Beirut -because the latter group is planning a concert in Tel aviv shortly after- was definitely not the easy popular thing to do. But they did it and we celebrate another small victory. Lebanon’s Mashrou’ Leila cancels on Chili Peppers after latter refuses Israel boycott call. 7orynet did a super great job. hats off. The success of #BlackOutJo of overflowing social media that day was nothing less than a should-be-celebrated small victory.

Small victories are big in their effect, they give us hope when hope is almost a no reality thought or idea.

Small victories bring a new exciting narrative to a region so swamped with a defeatism attitude, a conspiracy theory culture and a life once lived in dignity to dream of a different future and a more progressive attitude to change its discourse.

#FreeRazan Ghazzawi الحرية لرزان غزّاوي 0

My dear friend and respected human rights activist Razan Ghazzawi got arrested on Sunday Dec 4th as she was traveling through the Syrian Jordanian border. As our hears are holding her, we want to create as much noise to make her release sooner.

I am copying the exact post her friend Alia Gh posted on her Facebook account to help the situation.


Action Alert! FREE Razan Ghazzawi رزان الحرة

by Alia Gh


اللغة العربية في نهاية البريد الإلكتروني


A friend of mine and an endless advocate for human rights, Razan Ghazzawi, was arrested on Sunday, December 4th at the Syrian/Jordanian border – on her way to a conference for media activism in A’mman.  She is one of the many courageous bloggers and activists of Syria who risk their lives to get information out about the revolution and other prisoners of conscience.  Razan is an amazing person, a brilliant thinker, and one of the bravest, most steadfast people I know. No one can judge those who choose to hide behind koffiyeh’s and masks – but Razan did everything under her full family name – in pure defiance of this Oppressive Regime!  Her courage is an example to us all at this time of social revolutions.


You can read past writings at her blog:  http://razanghazzawi.com/


Please like this support page and share with you friends on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/freerazan


If you could all take 10 minutes to make some calls, write some emails, or tweet some information adding appropriate hashtags – please do so!  We have heard from other prisoners in Syria that phone calls really do help turn out information about where people are being held, and often times can aide them in getting released.  So, please, help spread the word and take some time to help our friend and comrade Razan.


Below are other steps you can take to help, and below that are phone numbers to call, email addresses to write, and appropriate scripts for each.  Arabic articles and a statement from Syrian Bloggers is at the end.


Thank you!



PS There is a rumor happening today (Monday the 5th) that Razan will be released tonight – but let’s keep the pressure on – as we can anticipate the lies of the Regime!



The most important thing : Keep Razan in your thoughts and prayers!


1. Write an email or send a fax to your local politician, Foreign Minister, members of parliament of congress. Use the internet to find their contact details or see this list of emails. Razan is an American Citizen – See here for a list of US Embassies to contact demanding they take urgent action.  (I have compiled important numbers and put them at the bottom of the email!)

2. Use your profile photo to draw attention to Razan’s arrest and the plight of all prisoners in Syria via Twibbon or you can use this image, or make your own


3. Use the tag #FreeRazan to share links, videos, news from #Syria – keep attention levels UP, don’t let this important news be overpowered by other stories and fade from view. Here’s some US Twitter users that you could message: @AlecJRoss @RobatState @KrisAtState @AnnatState @State_DRL @SlaughterAM @USEmbassySyria @USEmbassyJordan @StateDept

4. Post news and links to FaceBook, blog, forums, and in comments on videos and news posts about Syria. If you write, please write about this issue. Search FaceBook for other pages or groups where you can post messages or links to raise awareness.

5. Schedule tweets for when you can’t be online – use Dlvr IT for feeds or Buffer for individual tweets

6. Join the new Free Razan FaceBook page and share the page with all your friend

7. Continue Red’s work! She fought for the rights and freedom of all detained Syrians, you can help by doing the same. Don’t let Razan’s arrest remove all those other victims from the spotlight, too. Check the #Syria tag on Twitter – but watch out for trolls! Look at @Mar15Syria timeline or website for example, or see the latest Syria tweets here.

8. Learn from her example. Razan had a contingency plan shared with close trusted friends, of what to do in case of her arrest. They mobilizxed as soon as they heard the news, locking down her FaceBook page, securing her email, blog and Twitter, then posting messages explaining their actions. Should you or anyone you know do the same?



Contact the State Department!


US State Department : Eastern Affiars Richard Soler 571 345 3005

Office of Middle East Director Helene Kessler 202 776 8404

Middle East Team Leader Adam Bloomquist 202 776 8559


Contact Syrian Consulates!



Dr. Hazem Chehabi    Tel: (949) 640-9888 Fax: (949) 640 9292



Mr. Ayman Midani Tel: (713) 622-8860 Fax: (713) 622-8872




Dr. Naji Arwashan Tel: (248) 519-2496 Fax: (248) 519-2399


Embassy of Syria

(202) 232-6316


Phone Talking Points

  • That US-born Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi was arrested, and you urge she have immediate access to her family, legal counsel, medical care and that her whereabouts be known
  • She is a human rights advocate and a part of the brave people that practice Freedom of Media and Expression in a world that punishes those who dare to tell the Truth
  • It is known that the Syrian Regime regularly practices torture and that many people never come to trial, or are killed in detention
  • We need to build pressure for the release of all prisoners of conscience!


Email/Call the US Embassies in the Arab World


Telephone: (961) 4 542600 – 543600

Fax: (961) 4 544136




Telephone: 962-6-590-6000

Fax: 962-6-592-0163





Main switchboard:  +216 71 107 000

Fax:  +216 71 963 263




Telephone: 9661-4883800

Fax: 9661-4887360




Istanbul / Turkey

Phone: (90) 212-335 90 00




Email Script (make sure to change wording if you are emailing a Syrian Consulate representative or a US State Department rep)

To Whom it May Concern:


I am writing to you in order to express my concern over the arrest of Razan Ghazzawi.


On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by border officers at the Jordon-Syrian border on her way to attend a conference on Freedom of Media in the Arab World, as a representative for the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.


Razan Ghazzawi, a human rights activist and blogger, has not been charged with any crime and is thus a prisoner of conscience according to international law. Credible and internationally respected human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have voiced concerns about the use of torture and the abuse of human rights occurring in Syrian prisons and detention centres. These reports have prompted serious concerns for the safety of Razan and other Syrian prisoners of conscience.


I am calling on the (United States government to pressure the) Syrian government to order the immediate and unconditional release of Razan Ghazzawi.


I demand the Syrian government immediately clarify the reason, legal basis and place of detention of Razan Ghazzawi; to cease holding her incommunicado and allow her immediate access to her family, legal counsel of her own choosing, and any medical attention she may require; and to ensure that she is protected against torture or other ill-treatment.


I thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.




Your Name







الآن باللغة العربية….



بيان مشترك | مدونون سوريون | حول اعتقال المدونة السورية رزان غزاوي :

بالكاد تنفّسنا الصعداء بعد الإفراج عن زميلنا حسين غرير قبل أن يعود اختناق الغضب والحزن ليذكّر صدورنا بواقع القمع والكبت وعبادة الصّمت الذي نعيشه.. وردنا خبر اعتقال زميلتنا رزان غزّاوي.

رزان غزّاوي سوريّة بامتياز.. سوريّة بعملها المحموم للمرافعة عن القضية الفلسطينيّة وﻻجئيها في وسائط الإعلام اﻻجتماعي باللغتين العربيّة واﻻنكليزيّة، سوريّة بالتزامها بكل قضايا التقدّم والعدالة اﻻجتماعيّة والمساواة، سوريّة بوقوفها مع الأحرار في طريقهم لنيل الحرّية والكرامة.. رزان صوتٌ ﻻ يريد له الصمت إﻻ أعداء الحقّ والكرامة والعدالة والحرّية.

نطالب السلطات السوريّة بالإفراج الفوري عن رزان غزّاوي وعن كلّ معتقلات ومعتقلي الرأي والضمير والكرامة، ونحمّلها مسؤوليّة أي أذى قد تتعرّض له، كما نطالبها بكف سياسة القمع الإرهابي الرعناء بحق المواطنين السّوريين، وندعو جميع أنصار الحقّ والحرّية للتضامن مع رزان غزّاوي، معنا، مع سوريا..!

نرجو من الصديقات والأصدقاء المساهمة في نشر النص في المدوّنات والصفحات والشبكات اﻻجتماعيّةهاش تاغ

My personal pledge to the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions 6

Before a new work week starts and to commemorate this incredible weekend, 18 days and year so far; I wanted to write a post about this whole new state of affairs that took us on a roller-coaster of a new kind. But I already shared a lot on Twitter and Facebook through the past month. So I don’t want to add new thoughts or share any more feelings.

I want to share my very personal pledge to all those who stood up high, rose their voices out loud, suffered and died to free a quarter of the Arab World.

1. I will no longer accept the long-standing-and-greatly-accepted-as-a-norm of a defeatism attitude no more. Neither at work or my personal life. When there is a well, there is ALWAYS a way.

2. I will make my voice heard, I will not shy away because I feel my school of thought is a minority.

3. I will make my voice heard, I will not shy away because someone thinks that what is concerning me has “lower” priority than other things that needs fixing in the society I live within.

4. I will make my voice heard, whenever I see someone is doing something I don’t like in my name or with my taxes.

5. I will not let difference of opinion discourage me or others from voicing out our thoughts. We all need to listen and try to understand each other, let’s try to find a common ground.

6. As an entrepreneur/business owner, I will always try to keep my commitment to quality over quantity, to reward with no punishment, to systems of dignity & trust and not belittling doubt, to push as much as possible for consensus over majority, to everyone-is-their-own-boss and finally -yet not least important- to create meaningful experiences, to reduce waste, to contribute value to our environment and society from the ground up.

7. I will read the constitution of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and learn as much as I can about our history, about our laws and regulations and on what it means to live in a democracy. Because, Omar Suleiman thought Egyptians of all people didn’t know what democracy is. I bet you, it’s because he himself didn’t know what it means.

That’s what I though of. I will add more as they come to mind.

Screen-shoting the moment, world media on Egyptian victory Feb 11th, 2011 1

الشعب أسقط النظام

Viva Egypt! The happiest moment that redefined my generation.

Thought i wanted to “screen-shot” the moment! So I took snapshots of several websites of major media from around the world.

12 – 02 – 2011 at 2:30 am, GMT+2


Al Ghad


Al Ghad


Al Sharq-Alawsat








Can capitalism be re-invented? 2

Funny how my first and longest post in months is about capitalism of all topics! I promise it’s worth it.

I was forced to be made a defendant of capitalism in more than one occasion, where in a social gathering some  business/capitalism-hating individual or the other had to make remarks, like

What value do you bring by opening a business? You help those big corporations turn this planet into ruins and turn us into consuming junkies? oh so you help employ people…mmm…what do they really get out of it but end up being consumers for your existing or wish list of clients? How can someone be creative in a 9-6 job?….

If you take the ignorance out of these accusations and see them at face value, you might see a point somewhere or the other. I kept my defense at calling what I do “Human-based capitalism” as my partner Ahmad Humeid calls it. The act of eventually creating value that makes the human at the center of the creation process rather than profit alone.

I’ve always been weary of public corporations rather than private corporations or limited liability companies. Public corporations in my view eventually loose the human value and focus on the profit they are generating for their shareholders. Regardless of what their must-have CSR activities are about or all the money they donate to charities on the side. “On the side” being the problem here, that doing good by it self is not always at the heart of their operation.

Some see the ugly face of capitalism in the notion that a separate legal entity is a person though unnatural. And the bigger that person becomes the more people hide behind it to do all sorts of deeds.

Until I read “The New Capitalist Manifesto” the above is where my thoughts usually ended without any resolution in mind other than sticking in the small/medium sized human-based-capitalism world.

It’s one of those rare books that offer a paradigm shift, you will never think of business, marketing and competition like you used to before. It helps you make a better case for opening a business in this new century as it provides a set of practical principles into what thick value is, how to create and sustain creating one as well as how to keep evolving this value to create more with less.

The book talks about how 20th century capitalism which was born on the back of the industrial revolution doesn’t work any more. Evidence in point are the financial crisis of 2008 and climate change amongst others.

Umair Haque the author describes it as follows:

The twenty-first century capitalist’s agenda, in a nutshell, is to rethink the “capital”—to build organizations that are less machines, and more living networks of the many different kinds of capital, whether natural, human, social, or creative. And, second, to rethink the “ism”: how, when, and where the many different kinds of capital can be most productively seeded, nurtured, allocated, utilized—and renewed. What we need, then, is a new generation of renegades, laying deeper, stronger institutional cornerstones.

Haque sites examples of what he calls “Constructive Capitalists” from companies that exist today and per his assessment are already leaping into being 21st Century capitalists. He asserts that none of them is perfect or have it all but state they are on the right track. The book details 6 steps to guide you into what it takes to be a constructive capitalist, I’ve summarized them below:

1. Creating value cycles rather than value chains, by actively renewing resources, instead of depleting them whether human, natural, social or creative. Example here are Walmart.

2. Creating value conversations instead of value propositions, by creating a direct link [Responsiveness, participation, association] between the supply of your product or service to its demand. Example here is Threadless.

3. Focusing on deriving an overall business philosophy rather than set a strategy every few years, example here of course is Google’s philosophy.

4. See where you can complete a market rather than keep protecting it through 2oth century competitive tactics. Example here is Tata with its revolutionary car Nano. This is similar to creating a blue ocean instead of swimming in a red one.

5. Create difference rather than differentiation, see where your you can help people, communities and society. Example here is Nike, look at their recent Nike Better World website to see what their new business philosophy is  are all about.

6. Grow smartly, locally or globally by focusing on creating thick value that brings really lasting benefits for people, communities and society, nature, and the next generations. Examples here are Whole Foods, Apple’s iTunes, Nintando’s Wii.

Its fast addictive read, and it will help you to know how to build/rebuild your business to be constructive from the ground up on all aspects and not only focus on compliance when it comes to CSR, or having it as a separate department. It should be instilled in everything you do from what you sell, to how you sell it to what you produce and how you produce it and what happens to it after the sale? Are people gaining real benefits from your product or service? Is it making them happier or just blind consumption? …

Obviously, i highly recommend this book to those who lost their faith in the ugly, fat, greedy capitalism, those who always hated it  and most importantly those who -like me- want to make the world a better place and neither want to be called naive anymore or have to be part of an NGO to do so.

A call to blog/tweet about the upcoming Gaza Freedom March 2

The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza  an organization formed after the 22-day assault on Gaza in winter2008-2009 is holding and coordinating the Gaza Freedom March which will take place on Dec 31 to mark one year since the assault through mobilizing an international contingent for a nonviolent march alongside the people of Gaza to end the illegal blockade.

Though participation is now closed, this post is to call on everyone who supports this effort to blog about it on Dec 31st as well as to to tweet and try to make #GAZA a trending topic on Twitter on that day.G

For more information please add a comment to this blog post so I can arrange for us to meet one of the participants and activists who’s a fellow Jordanian. Together we can find the best way she can update us about the march as its happening.

A day in the Internet 0

A Day in the Internet
Created by OnlineEducation.net

Graph of the day, Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 [BBC] 0

Just saw this graph while reading about the tragedy of the car bombings that swept Baghdad/Iraq earlier today on BBC with 127 killed and over 400 wounded  :-(

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, this graph is about thousands of lost lives…[RIP]


BBC News - Baghdad car bombs cause carnage

BBC News - Baghdad car bombs cause carnage

to the moon and back…kind of! 0

I’ve had a chance to attended one of the humans greatest events 12 days ago @ We Choose The Moon a web experience built by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

I kept up with most of the journey witnessing the animation and listening to the audio of the mission over its all 11 stages from July 16th till the 20th. A big salute to the designers and flash animators for a brilliant job!


Was so much fun, that afterwards I had this big urge to watch my favorite movie of all times Contact of course! Found a streaming of the whole movie online! Don’t you love online video? :D

Anyway, now you can watch the animation of the whole journey at your own pace at the website, go through the photo & video gallery available for each stage.

I love NASA, the best of the US of A!

I still have a dream to travel in Space by the age of 60, hopefully two things happen by then:

1. The ticket and accommodation price becomes affordable.

2. by affordable i mean, that I can save up to $50,000-75,000 to do it!

What? A LOT can happen in 25 years!

Greed, the deadliest sin? 2

I’ve always thought that Greed is the deadliest sin of all 7 deadly sins. This video shows the spiral that created the credit crisis.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

By far this is the best narrated visual explanation of the Credit Crisis I saw as of yet.

The most important aspect I learned before I decided to start a company was how to always calculate risk before taking it. To visualize the probability of the worst outcome, and how much damage it can do to me on all levels. If I am ok with it not being the end of the world then I can take the risk in hopes of the higher return of course.

You’d think the people on Wall St. would be a million times better at this, you have specialists in high risk investment for god’s sake. The moment that more than one bank started buying sub-prime mortgages; flags should have been risen everywhere. But I guess that’s when the financial system monitoring failed big time, everywhere. Because any person with little knowledge would know this to be the start of the end.

Yet, using simplified logic, one bank did it, then other banks thought why don’t we try it as well and mass hysteria started. The ability to fool your self, your own logic, economics 101 and experience is one great ability people have. And when greed takes over this ability becomes magnified. Happened in 2000 with the burst of the .com bubble as well.

What’s the next market? Alternative energy?

Note: Thanks TrippleM for posting this on Twitter.

World Water Day Video from charity: water 0

Warning: video ID not specified!

Gaza, the Momentum 1

The following post is a result of several conversations I had first hand with friends, facebook status messages I read, twitter messages I received. News articles I read. YouTube videos I watched…

From calls for for bloody Zionist Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza, to calls to Egypt, Jordan to cut their ties with Zionist Israel, to calls to Arab states to open the borders for Jihad in reflection upon news reports of children murdered, to innocent civilian life butchered for 22 consecutive days (till date), after years of blockade over Gaza.

From hundred of rallies walked, all sorts of flags risen, all sort of chants cried, all sort of boycott calls, of strikes, of prayers.

The momentum created by this new Zionist Israeli massacre should be carried not for days or months or years.

But for as long as it takes.

To save this momentum, action needs to happen. This same obsession over the past three weeks should result in grassroots actions. Forget our governments, forget the US, European officials. We need to bring our message to the masses around the globe.

Those were the words of many people around me.

What’s happening today in Gaza is the new deir yassin, the new sabra and shatila and the world needs to know the details of what has been happening. The gory details. Every story should be told. Those who died. Those who were injured and those who got the shock of their lives.

“I don’t want to forget what’s happening and how it made me feel a year from now…” – Ola

“We need to continue to donate to save more lives over there…” – Diala

“we need lawyers to start preparing a law suit against the murderous Israeli government.” – Ahmad

We need people to better brand this massacre, we need to launch hundreds of  websites to  put faces to all those who were killed & injured and collect each and every story, with any kind of media we can use.

Let’s have an action plan…

The day I was called a zionist 15

Today was many things. Today was fun, was lovely was dramatic and quiet.

But today I got called a Zionist. And for a Palestinian that’s more than an insult.

I got called that because I said that “I hate Hamas and Hezbulla as I hate Zionist Israelis” on my Facebook status.

And I do hate all three and hundreds of other violent parties/states whom believe that violence is the solution to every problem there is.

Hamas and its leaders decide to sacrifice life and precious Palestinian life every day. You can call it resistance. You can call them heroes. You can call them anything but read this.

I refused to be naive, I am disgusted by anyone using only George Bush’s idiotic thinking that “if you are not with us you are against us” which seems to be the case today with all the terror that is happening in Gaza.

I stand by all the civilians who didn’t choose to die for Hamas’s mistakes. Even if they elected them out of despair few years back.

I refuse the term “casualties of war” used by the killing Israeli/US machine. Everyone knows how condensed the population in Gaza are. And how ridiculous it is to say that they are targeting Hamas.They waged a war against the Palestinian Population.

Hamas knows this as well as the Israelis when they launch their rockets. They know how disproportionate the Israeli force will be. And still they decide to sacrifice everyone else for it. That is never justified to me either.

I am Happy 4

I am so happy today. I didn’t think Obama’s projected win would make me this happy. I haven’t said these words with such peace as I said them today in a long long time.

I am hopeful of a world where things can drastically change to the better.

Not that I think Obama will help end Israeli occupation or anything of that sort that is a different story al together. The event it self is just inspiring.

Couldn’t help but wonder as I watched crowds cheering on the news in the US and elsewhere, what would any unelected ruler of a nation must have felt yesterday and today?

What Obama experienced yesterday is something so profound that anyone would envy. Again, this might be naive of me on some part. But this election day moved me beyond my expectations.

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