1 December 2008 | Comments (0)
Just back from Tunis where I spent a couple of days working as part of the Medi-Cafe group for the British Council. We had a productive time, mixing discussions about the art and craft of writing with discussions about the Maghreb, in particular, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. As always, the Tunisians were great hosts - we spent our working sessions in a palace on the sea in Carthage. Seriously. A palace on the sea in Carthage. I sat by this window for a while during one session - I could hear the sea outside and the sun shone on my legs. Sun! In November! Why do I live in northern Europe? Why did that seem like a good idea at the time?
An issue that arose during some of our discussions was this: the Tunisian government has taken to banning websites, including You Tube and the Daily Motion, two of the most important sites world-wide for sharing videos. One of my students was telling me that she can’t access most of the videos on ‘Flight Paths’ and we wondered why… but of course many of those videos are hosted on You Tube and linked to from there into the Netvibes Universe that hosts ‘Flight Paths’. Chris and I will need to rethink the strategy of keeping videos on You Tube.
Banned sites has been a bit of a feature of my teaching of late, as on the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media we’ve discovered that our students in Oman and Ethiopia can’t access Skype - banned by the gov’ts who have done deals with phone companies to prevent access to free telephony. We use Skype a lot in our teaching, but will find alternatives now. Also, Oman bans googlegroups. Banning You Tube seems particularly draconian. But that’s the Tunisian gov’t for you. Maybe being allowed to live in northern Europe isn’t such a bad thing after all…