By now you might have seen David Sasaki’s retrospective about Global Voices, or Rebecca MacKinnon’s post about GV, five years in. Maybe you’re aware that GV is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Anyway, now you are!
I joined Global Voices in April 2007, about two years and 8 months ago. As I explain in this video post, I joined because my blog was quoted in GV, as a Moroccan blog. I’d been living in Morocco for a little less than two years at the time, and had become part of the Moroccan blogosphere in a way. I saw my blog quoted, began reading GV, then shortly afterward noticed that the posts on Morocco had died off. So I wrote to the Middle East and North Africa editor who was (and still is) Amira al Hussaini. She wrote back almost immediately, and within a week, I’d written my very first Global Voices post, which dealt with the recent bombings in Casablanca and the “soul of Morocco.” A few days later, I wrote about Moroccan bloggers’ reactions to the Virginia Tech Massacre in the United States. It was while writing that story that I realized how big of a deal citizen media was.
Flash forward to now: I’ve just returned from a trip to Beirut, spent amongst several Global Voicers. Earlier this year, I spent my second year in Miami with a crew of GVers (at WeMedia), and last year I attended the second GV Summit, in Budapest. These people, once strangers on the Internet, have become some of my closest friends. They are colleagues, people I trust, people I go to with questions, for news.
Global Voices is many things: A network, as I mentioned. Sometimes it’s news, and sometimes it’s storytelling. Personally, I’m a fan of the times when GV turns out to be news. In my own, the Moroccan blogosphere, there are times when GV breaks a story–however “small” the story might seem–which leads to Moroccan activists and bloggers getting interviewed by U.S. and international media. We spread stories. We spread words.
As we come upon the one-year anniversary of Israel’s massacre of Gaza, I would remiss not to note the crucial role Global Voices played in getting news out. As Israel continued its horrendous blockade on Gaza, not allowing foreign press to report on the happenings on the ground, citizen media played perhaps one of its biggest roles yet. People talk about Twitter and Iran, but what they don’t mention is how people like Ayesha Saldanha reported in her blog on text messages received from friends in Palestine, which were then amplified by GV. I shared stories from my friend Mohammad Alsaafin, who was reporting from Ramallah on texts received from family in Gaza. Others shared the views and reactions from everywhere from Syria to China. Global Voices’ coverage on the Gaza attacks were among the best out there. We managed to share the human side of the story that other news outlets could not muster.
We spread stories. We spread words.