I can’t believe it is 10 years already. I joined Global Voices as an Arabic translator in February 2009. Back then I was a bilingual blogger, writing about Egyptian affairs as well as web2.0. Still, a student, though with a part time online job, I had enough time on my hands to contribute as a translator. At that time I didn’t have much translation experience, I only read a lot in both languages. My editor who welcomed me to Global Voices was Yazan Badran, probably the first real interaction with a Syrian. I learned a lot from Yazan, linguistically and also how to accept changes to my writing.
My first translation was about Gaza. Palestine to me before Global Voices was something I only read about in mainstream media, and you will never to get to know details about conflicts from mainstream media. They are only shortened to numbers. Through Global Voices I learned how that every conflict have a sea of people, everyone has their own life, memories, happiness and pain, and you may or may not be able to know how they felt, even for a third culture kid as I am.
Global Voices assured what I thought as the need for networking in the MENA region, expanding from Egypt. After I began blogging in 2006, I spent a big portion of my time networking Egyptian bloggers, till they reached tens of thousand of bloggers. But when I joined Global Voices, I discovered something among Egyptians that we share with our fellow Americans (on average): We don’t know anything about the rest of the world. Even among intellectuals, it is hard to know someone who follows Sudanese affairs, Syria, or Mauritania. Stereotypes about the Gulf and their petrol preventing us from networking with activists there. While the most successful organization is the Arab Interior Ministries council, organized against Arab activists.
Global Voices community, a very diverse community with all kinds of backgrounds across the whole world, assured my views above about the importance of communication, collaboration, and exchange, and not to stay away in silence. I wish all the power to Global Voices community, to be able to make the world a better place. I would like to thank every GVer I met, for every time that happened I learned something new, and this is something invaluable to me.