Translated by Hisham from الانترنت عيادة تستضيف كل مرضى ومجانين العالم
If you are unsuccessful in making friends in real life, if you try to escape the contradictions and problems of your own society, if you consider yourself different and no one understands you or accepts your ideas, if you are an opponent of your government’s policies or if you are one of the so many appalled by the state of freedoms in your country, then you don’t have to close on yourself or hide in the dark anymore. If you have some time to spare, just enter the internet. Yes you heard me right, the internet! There you’ll find people who share the same concerns and interests as you. They will welcome and respect you as you are because they are pretty much like you. Now, don’t be afraid, this will not cost you more than a computer and some Internet subscription fees. Choose your internet service provider carefully if you don’t want to suffer from the greed of some companies who only worry about profit!
Here, I will take a look at the experience of some people I know who never thought they will become addicted before they joined the internet:
l’ll start with Meriem, a girl from an isolated village in northern Morocco. She was forced to leave school at an early age, but was lucky to learn some math and some French. She comes from those villages in Morocco still dominated by a male mentality whereby women are only allowed to leave their homes twice in their lives, first to enter their husband’s home and second to be laid to rest. As any other teenager of her age, Meriem hears about sex and explores her own body. She doesn’t have any companion to talk to, not even an educated mother that would understand and help her learn more about the unknown part of her sexuality. Her father offered Meriem’s brother, who’s studying in high school, a computer with an internet connection. Meriem has now access to the internet and her brother seems willing to educate her on the basics of how to use a computer. Her brother succeeds in school and moves to the nearby city to pursue undergraduate studies leaving Meriem alone with the computer. She now uses it more than once a day and starts to discover its secrets. One day she starts talking sex with strangers over the internet. She slowly becomes addicted to it, answering other young people’s sexual desires over the webcam. Meriem gets married and goes to live in her husband’s house, but she can’t rid of her secret Internet addiction. She goes through an interminable cycle of suffering and pain caused by the internet!
Kamal is a young man living in Saudi Arabia, an atheist, but he obviously hides his atheism for fear of exposing himself to unimaginable consequences. If he would come out, he would be arrested by the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice police, and would probably be sentenced to death and hanged. This is what the Islamic law says non believers should face after all!
He logs into Facebook using a pseudonym and meets a community of like-minded atheists from Morocco, the USA, Israel and many other countries. people worry about persecutions faced by atheists all over the world regardless of their appearances or nationalities. Kamal feels safe among them. For a while he thought he was the only atheist in the world but now thanks to the internet, Kamal and others have formed a unique group. Now he feels he can’t live without connecting with his online friends. Although Facebook has deleted his account many times Kamal still considers the internet a necessity that can not be given up.
Moroccan young people
Here I want talk about how the people in my country behave over the internet and why. Morocco ranks high amongst countries where most visits to pornographic websites come from. This is due to religious, social and moral contraints that inhibit sexual emancipation. Sex is presented as a taboo and something that angers God. In such circumstances young people look desperately for other ways to live their sexual freedom, and often Internet is the only space available. That is why so many young people end up addicted to online pornography.
Jillian is a young American activist. Each time I log into my email account I find her connected and remains so for hours. I first came to know Jillian when she sent me an email from Boston seeking information about the arrest of Moroccan blogger Bashir Hazzam. We both worked on the campaign of support for Bashir and since that time we became friends. Jillian is an internet addict par excellence. She’s an online activist, a blogger and Twitterer with an impressive number of followers. She’s dedicated to a number of issues but she’s mostly interested in questions related to Morocco and the Middle East. However Jillian is a special kind of internet addict: her addiction is positive and productive and she too, I guess, can’t imagine a life without the internet. The same goes for Hisham Almiraat and Naoufel Chaara and all other online activists.
Internet is a very complex world. To go to the bottom of it one needs to look at it from a sociological and psychological point of view in order to understand why so many people now consider the internet an inseparable part of their lives.