'Ordinary' Arabs to retake Internet

WEFME: Online explosion will show world that region is just like anywhere else, says Wikipedia founder.

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By  AFP Published  May 18, 2008

An explosion in internet usage in the Middle East by "ordinary" people will show the world that the region is just like anywhere else, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said on Sunday.

"Too often when people around the world reflect on the situation in the Middle East they focus on extremism and the different problems," Wales told journalists at the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the Middle East.

But with current total Internet usage by one billion people set to double in the next five to 10 years, Wales said that "we're going to start hearing from ordinary people".

"And I think that ordinary people are far more moderate and far more ordinary than the unfortunately polarised views of extremes you see coming out," the founder of the popular user-generated encyclopedia said.

New internet users are "not going to be coming online from US, Europe, Japan", but from developing countries, he said.

"Over time people will start to see the Middle East in a very different light and not see it as a basket of problems."

They will "see it as a place like any other that has strengths and weaknesses, with hundreds of millions of people just trying to make a better life".

Wikipedia is an "open-source" website on which entries can be started or edited by anyone in the world with an internet connection.

3896 days ago

Only if those pesky underwater demolition teams would quit cutting the cables maybe..??

3896 days ago

Unfortunately I totally agree with the former post, no chance here to ban the censorship...YET... I believe and I trust the common sense of ordinary people and how sad the big brother and political correct things are totally wrong and manipulate our lives.

3897 days ago

Unfortunately while the 'ordinary' person may now have access to the internet and are taking the opportunity to use this facility, they still have no freedom of speech or the right to view whatever material he or she sees fit then the internet in the Arab Region will never be 'just like everywhere else'. If the rulers or religious leaders disagree with any part of a website or it’s views they simply ban it, Etisalat bans access to the Skype web site so that it runs a monopoly on internet calls and forces people to use it's mobile service etc. Until the region trusts and allows it's inhabitants both National and expatriate to be able to censor itself and view both sides of political and religious arguments with an open mind and form their own opinion the Arab Nations will be anything but 'like the rest of the world'.

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