As part of commemoration of the Volunteers Day, Global Voices sent this survey to our translation, aka Lingua, community. I maybe working now for Global Voices, but I joined Global Voices originally as a volunteer translator. The survey constituted of three questions: Why have you started to translate, why do you continue to translate and what has GV given you.
I joined Global Voices as a translator, so Lingua was the first Global Voices department I came across. I primarily joined because back then, in 2009, Arabic content was only 1% of all the Internet, although there are at least 300 million Arabic native speaker. I wanted to be a reason to increase Arabic content on the web and I think I’m succeeding in that directly and indirectly.
I continue translating to know about places I never been, check out cultures I never experienced, learn about intellectual treasures I would never read about in an ordinary book or an ordinary news piece.
Global Voices gave me a lot of things. To get along with people from all over the world. Getting to know friends in the Global Voices community from many backgrounds and in the same time like minded in the basic set of values. Global Voices gave me the opportunity, directly and indirectly, to go more than 20 countries in the last 5 years.
Global Voices satisfies the feeling to be connected to a movement that is doing some good to a large group people, and to give some influence even if it sounded small at the time of contributing.
Global Voices showed me as first hand experience how can experts in all fields of life can dedicate their time and energy for a greater goal.
Finally I would love to say a big THANK YOU to all Global Voices community, you make my day every single day. And for anyone who didn’t do that yet, I urge you to check out profiles of our amazing community by visiting us here.
Global Voices is celebrating 10 years and as part of the celebrations, we are presenting a series of interviews to introduce some of the contributors that make Global Voices great. In this installment, we get to know the busy Mohamed ElGohary, Global Voices board member, Lingua coordinator, Advocacy author, Arabic Lingua editor, Web 2.0 preacher and blogger.
Global Voices (GV): How and when did you learn about Global Voices?
Mohamed ElGohary (MEG): I began to check out Global Voices as Eman AbdelRahman began contributing and sharing GV posts, as well as asking me if I wanted to contribute. Back then it was just a year since I began blogging, and partially I didn’t think I was capable enough to write in English. In the same time GV began to mention blog posts I wrote, as I was active then in covering court sessions where policemen were tried for human rights violations, blogging under the nickname IRC President.
In February 2009 I joined GV as a volunteer translator from English to Arabic, afterwards I became author and Arabic Lingua editor. In 2011, during the Arab Bloggers meeting in October 2011, I was offered the job as a Lingua Coordinator, after I left my post at AlMasry AlYoum newspaper, where I used to work as a Social Media Consultant.
GV: What are your specific tasks as coordinator for Lingua, Global Voices volunteer translation project?
MEG: The role of the Lingua Coordinator is a large set of small tasks. Community management, to ensure the spirit of motivation, cohesion and sharing of information, across Lingua Editors as well as Lingua Community. Tracking stats of different Lingua sites, as well as social media networks. Assisting Lingua Editors and Community tracking their own stats, setting up new sites. Helping Lingua Editors identify the best ways to maximize the impact of Lingua. Arranging regular Lingua Editors meetings, and whatever issues arose by editors that I can help with.
GV: And as the staff representative to the board?
MEG: As a staff representative, and definition of staff here is all Lingua and Regional editors, as well the core staff, is primarily communicating closely with them, tackling any challenges that might arise either within the volunteer community or staff with other staff, and giving feedback on the short and/or long term depending on what I’m working on. So if anyone in the community have any question or challenge, please contact me by any way you like: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or Skype at ircpresident.
GV: What’s your day job outside of GV?
MEG: I contribute most of my time to GV. Before GV I switched careers from telecommunications, as I majored in Biomedical Engineering, to social media. After joining GV Staff I co-founded a startup called The Workshops where I manage technical issues like web administration.
GV: How familiar are you with web tools and how much of it is because you are a GV member?
MEG: I spent most of the year 2008 blogging about web 2.0 in Arabic, writing tutorials on how to use Internet tools targeting Egyptian and Arab activists. I gave many workshops focusing on web 2.0 use for digital and labor activists, teachers as well as journalists. Arabic Lingua gave me the first playground to exercise social media on a professional level. It was also the main reason I got my job at AlMasry AlYoum.
GV: How do you manage to stay up-to-date with all the Lingua communities?
MEG: By keeping up to date with Lingua Editors. I think the larger email groups are getting less functional as a community to community communication platform, comparing sub-community groups where Lingua Editors are more knowledgeable about their own communities. So via the Lingua Editors google group, as well as the monthly meetings, I think I’m getting to be up-to-date with the Lingua communities. I’m also in several Lingua Google groups, using google translate to follow the general idea of conversations happening.
GV: As an Egyptian citizen based in Egypt, what was January 25, 2011, the date of the Egyptian revolution, like for you?
MEG: Right now that’s a very tough question to answer. Before the 25th I was certain that a revolution was going to happen, though maybe after 20, 30 or maybe 50 years. I was hoping to witness it, but I think it happened too fast, though not too soon. I joined the marches in the 28th, when the most clashes during the 18 days happened, and afterwards Images of what happened never leave my mind.
But now, with the extreme politicization between two groups that are both, in my opinion, responsible for the deterioration of economical and civil liberties states, it is hard to see the revolution without a broken heart, as secular activists opposed to both military and religious fascism are either dead, jailed or out of the country.
The 25th of January is still a victory to me, whatever happened. As Mubarak is now in jail, military personnel idiocy is exposed. The short term will be a miserable time, but I think on the long term things will get better, although with a very high price in blood.
GV: Anything else you’d like to add?
MEG: I want to add that as a board member I invite all the Global Voices community to come to me by e-mail (email@example.com), Aparna Ray and Jillian York, for any question, consultation or comment. We are here for you and we represent you. Thank you for reading :)
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 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 have 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 follow 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 learnt something new, and this is something invaluable to me.
I don’t know how I’m keeping myself sane with all that’s happening in Egypt, I seriously don’t know. We, revolutionists, lived, are living, and will live experiencing jailing and murdering our friends. We lived, are living and will live experiencing people who we thought were friends. We are suffering the death of loved ones, old and young.
First it was Bassem, then Seif, and unfortunately more to come. We live everyday to the fear that we, or someone we love, is in danger. If not dead, then in jail, and when in jail, we hope they stay sane, and worse, to stay alive. How we are enduring this is something I don’t know.
Every day I keep asking myself, how are am I sticking to the belief that pacifism works, how it work, did it ever work, will it ever work. Why should people who believe in Peace and Justice in Egypt must feel the pain, the pain of jail, death and betray. I keep trying to suppress the urge to create a militant group and kill them all. It is really painful, emotionally draining, life sucking, teary life we experience when we lose someone, temporarily or permanently.
I think the only thing that keeps me sane now is being in love with a girl who has the biggest heart in the world, and forget everything when I am with her. Only this fact is what diverts my mind from going through self-destruction mode. But every time someone I know is gone the pain strikes back, like an old injury opening up, bringing every tiny emotion back to my heart. I don’t want to live this again, I don’t want to keep experiencing this, and I don’t know what to do.
I have been asked recently about my thoughts on Gaza several times. Though I’m trying not to follow anything more than I can handle lately, given the turn up of Revolution in Egypt, another story. But anyway, here is my analysis of what usually happens, from a very personal, non-expert at all, point of view.
The following post is an essays written by yours truly at the end of the Internet Governance Capacity Building Program (IGCBP).
Anonymity, is derived from the Greek word, anonymia, meaning “without a name” or “namelessness.” It is used for various purposes: charity, activism, art, press, and also criminal activities. The conversation and conflict of interest between the security apparatus and concerned citizens each time a new means of communication is developed, continually increasing as technology advances over time. The more sophisticated technology gets, the more advanced anonymity becomes, and the more challenging it is for Internet service providers to be in line with privacy laws in some countries. This challenge also provides more opportunity for the security apparatus to be more controlling and thus the situation for them becomes more critical and challenging.
Check out the paper here.
Completed my Advanced course in Internet Governance certificate from Diplo Foundation, scoring 94%
This is the second and last post for GV Board Elections posts.
As I became elected to be the staff representative in Global Voices Board elections. Global Voices staff are heads of Global Voices’ departments (i.e. Global Voices, Rising Voices, Advox and Lingua) as well as heads of editorial and translation team (i.e. regional editors, language editors and Lingua editors). I send the following letter to Global Voices:
I can’t express how thrilled I am to have your votes, which express your trust and emphasize the responsibility I now hold, for achieving better communication, better representation and more robust contributing-flow among Global Voices staff; GV sectors heads as well as GV regional, language, topics and Lingua editors.
Thanks again everyone!
Lots of love,
This post will be a first in the series for GV Board Elections posts.
WHY I’M RUNNING FOR THE GV BOARD ELECTIONS?
I would like to be in the board to help in pushing Global Voices position forward in:
- Social Media expression by helping editors and authors cover more under-represented areas and people on the Internet, while in the same time making it less time and effort consuming and more fun.
- I also want to assure GV’s position as innovation platform through more utilization of Rising Voices, helping it to be a more important player in the field of training individuals and communities in need.
- I would help in making Lingua be a language enriching and preservation platform, and
- support Advox to be an umbrella for online advocacy communities around the world.
After contributing for Global Voices for 5 years, as volunteer and as staff, I know that Global Voices has a great potential to be a leader in these fields.
During the fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting that I attended recently in Amman, Jordan, an idea of an independent project struck me. The project should be aimed to build a database of all NGOs, websites and blogs specialized, or have a specialized section, in digital rights. This database will be in the form of a blog aggregator using a WordPress blog, for the purpose of republishing rather than publishing in itself.
The target of this aggregator is NGOs and bloggers interested in republishing content. The final goal is making the circle of bloggers and trainers bigger than it is right now, as well as establishing a more networked community than it is right now. What inspired me to this idea is the lack of knowledge and organization among the digital Egyptian society in specific, and in the Arab Digital Society in general. As we, digital activists, do not know each other, and in case we knew each other, we do not follow what we do. This eventually leads to many lost opportunities for cooperation.
Another reason for this project is the extreme centralization of activism. So for example many activists know what is happening in Cairo (Not even the rest of the Egypt), and to a lesser extent what is happening in Syria. No body knows what is happening in the Gulf, like Bahrain, UAE and Saudi, or in North Africa, like Mauritania or Morocco or Algeria, or even Tunisia, the Bouazizi country. I also wonder a lot, what should be the motive for non-Egyptian activists to be in solidarity with an Egyptian suffering human rights violations in their countries, while we, as Egyptian activists, do not know or do no care what is happening to non-Egyptians in Egypt and beyond?
I’m not saying this is the fault of non Egyptians, I understand the exhaustion we are suffering since the end of 2011 till now, but I’m aiming through this simple project to be a step towards making the circle of bloggers and trainers bigger. To increase their networking as well as the opportunities to know the real needs. How to use the Internet to deal with real needs. I think this issue gets really challenging when there is no “real” networking between activists from across the region.
I put here a form for all NGOs and bloggers who are interested to be in the blog aggregator: