sábado, 17 de noviembre de 2007

Entrevista con Jo

Jo tiene 25 años, es saudí y escribía uno de los blogs más populares de su país (A thought in a Kingdom of Lunacy, en inglés, ahora cerrado). La entrevisté, via email, el 24 de octubre del 2006, para un reportaje. Me contestó las preguntas con un único texto:

"Disculpa que haya tardado en contestarte, pero no he podido contectarme a Internet durante una temporada. Sobre mí: tengo 24 años y llevo cuatro años viviendo en Arabia Saudí. Crecí en Inglaterra, lo que explica por qué encuentro tan difícil vivir en Arabia Saudí. In a nut shell, in England I was allowed to live a somewhat independent life, but here I cannot even go to a supermarket without some sort of interrogation and even when I am allowed, I am accompanied by someone to supervise me - usually the person supervising me is either a parent or a sibling, including my 10 year old brother!

"I came across blogging through an article in the Guardian. The first Saudi blogs I started reading were saudijeans and farahssowaleef. I can't really remember why I started blogging. But, I think initially I wanted a blog to get into writing articles. With time, however, my blog just basically turned into rants about "my life and family". It was actually a friend of mine who helped me come up with the name of my blog.

Blogging for me now is about getting to speak my mind. I can vent out my frustrations which I deserpately need here. It's one of the few things I can control. It's something that my family cannot control - of course they do control whether or not I access the internet, but at least when I am on and blogging then it's all me.

I don't actually conserve my anonymity. It wouldn't take much investigating to figure out who I am, which is why a lot of people from my life who I had never told about my blog, realized it was me. It's true that I do not use my full name, but that has more to do with Saudi culture, that's all.

I don't go around telling people about my blog here, because they don't understand the concept of blogging anyway. But, my friends do know about my blog. Also my family know that I do have a web page - they just don't know the url. One of my brothers does actually read my blog though.

I am frequently stopped from blogging, because my parents don't want me using the internet. I don't know why and to be honest, I don't really care what their reasons/excuses are.

I have met a few Saudi bloggers. It was either spontaneous where by I just email them out of them blue and ask them to meet up or I've been in contact with them via chatting or the phone. I like meeting new people, especially bloggers, because I know a lot of them tend to have misguided view of me.

I have met one male blogger. He wasn't Saudi though. We met for coffee once. Of course I had to sneak out to do so. I am in contact with other male bloggers either via chatting or the phone.

Gernally speaking, with most bloggers, we talk about anything and everything. Nothing strange. It's just like making new friends.

This country may be segregated, but men and women still manage to find ways to contact eachother.

For me the internet keeps me sane. It's an easy and cheap way for me to communicate with my friends back in London. It's also not a bad way to meet interesting Saudi men and women.

I've said it a million times, THANK GOD for mobile phones. They really are the only somewhat safe way to contact men, so definitely thank God for them.

The picture I use is by the great photographer Bill Brandt. I chose it, because it's so simple yet says so much."

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