“In truth, we are not talking about major expenditures here,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a prominent Syrian activist and fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, cautioning that OSOS was too new to assess its effectiveness.
A mention in the Daily Telegraph:
As it happens, it was the Rushdie affair that inspired the book in the first place. The essay writing contest was the idea of the Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-educated Syrian who became disillusioned with radical Islam after the fatwa issued against Rushdie by Iran. He pointed out to the American Islamic Congress that while the Muslim world had vast, well-organised networks of people pushing extremist visions, nobody was doing the same thing for liberal ideas. “What we need is an essay contest on liberty with significant cash prizes,” he said.
Official Freedom Collection Page
Interviews were conducted in July 2011, but the site came online only in March 2012.
Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian human rights activist who in 2003 founded the Tharwa Foundation, a grassroots organization that enlists local activists and citizen journalists to document conditions in Syria. In response to his activities, the Syrian government subjected Abdulhamid to repeat interrogation and threats. In September 2005, he and his family were forced into exile in the United States. From his home in Maryland, Abdulhamid remains one of the leading bloggers and commentators on events in Syria through the Syrian Revolution Digest. Continue reading
For many Syrian dissidents scattered around the world, the anti-government backlash in Syria is bittersweet. They support political change at home, but they are horrified by the government’s brutal crackdown.
From the basement office of his home in the U.S., Ammar Abdulhamid does his part to support what he calls the Syrian revolution. Like many Syrian expatriates, Abdulhamid keeps in regular contact with people inside the country, following events and forwarding what he learns through his blog: Syrian Revolution Digest. Continue reading
Building on such insights, Jorge Faytong Real and Nishant Patel, two graduate students at the University of Maryland working on a project in Prof. Ben Shneiderman course on Information Visualization, took a look at three slices of the Twitter universe to determine who have been “influentials” during the Middle East unrest. Faytong and Patel looked at the Twitter network of an extraordinarily-well linked U.S-based Syrian and Middle East activist who tweets in both English and Arabic: Ammar Abdulhamid—known to Twitter users as @tharwacolamus. Continue reading
BBC Arabic sets out to explore the global information and communication revolution that has helped ferment real revolts, and pull down regimes across the Arab World. I make an appearance in Part Three of the 4-part series, with discussion on my work on the Syrian Revolution Digest.