#5 2012

Each cry from Syria is for you

"What does it mean to offer novels and prose while we witness massacre following after massacre?"

The whole world can follow the atrocities in Syria. We have been able to do that for more than a year. The only thing that seems impossible is to find political means to put an end the killings. The situation is of course unbearable for those who gets glimpses of the situation through friends and relatives, who themselves may be in danger. The Syrian writer Manhal al-Sarraj puts words on this predicament of anguish. 

Welcome to Zone 9: Ethiopia

It has been exactly a year ago since Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden Province arrested the two Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson. They have been sentenced for “terrorism” and remain in prison.  In this

Freedom of speech in Afghanistan—A decade after the fall of the Taliban regime

Afghanistan has never before had more news outlets, with 200 print media, 44 television stations, 141 radio stations and at least eight news agencies. On the other hand, in the past decade it has witnessed growing violence

Hear the voices from Belarus

All over the world, the “social networks” continue to play an important role in the struggle for democracy. This is happening right now in Belarus, known as the last dictatorship of Europe, where KGB for a long time has been able to control and

The ICORN-relay—Mazen Maarouf

The guest writer-relay has reached Iceland. The poet Mazen Maarouf—who has lived all his life as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon—was during 2011 granted sanctuary in Reykjavík through the International Cities of Refuge Network (

The evil paradox of the media society

No one can remain untouched by the current assaults against civilians in Syria. Most people, too, I believe, when confronted with what increasingly seems to be an escalating genocide on the country’s own citizens, are struck by what must be deemed the really evil paradox of our media society. We witness. We know what is taking place. We have very small means of preventing the occurring events. Those of us who remember Rwanda in 1994 recognize this situation.

This is perhaps not the arena for speculations about the world’s intervention or not. However, the fact that we know what is happening and what is being done to people—in detail—is simultaneously both a source of despair and perhaps the most hopeful aspect of the situation. That we are reached by the voices and images of those who live in the epicentre of oppression is a fact that puts high demands on us. The Dissident Blog wants to be a link in the chain of all these voices. In this issue we hear the voice of Manhal al-Sarraj, a Syrian poet, who—in detail—describes the dilemma of the evil paradox: what knowledge dare I share with others? How do I manage the feelings of impotence that come from being allowed a look into the locus of the violence? And do we fully understand all the fragmented pictures and messages that reach us through still rather unrefined information channels?