Children and the great Arabian Internet Desert

During Iftar, my 9 year old son, asked me if I could help him find some Arabic information on the web, about animals and the five senses.

So after we finished eating (and after my delayed ‘morning’ coffee) we sat down in front of his good old Mac for what I supposed would be an easy browsing session.

I did not know that I had a date with the Arabian Internet Desert.

It is horrible!

I did a Google search, in Arabic for “the five sense and animals”. Not one relevant search result. So, less ambitiously, I searched for “the five senses” and “senses”.

What came out was utterly pathetic. The best educational result was actually on an Israeli Arab/Hebrew web site. The second best was on SchoolArabia.com (actually a Jordanian site, congratulations) which was, unfortunately, subscription based.

I then found a colorful, friendly looking page, which listed a good number of educational topics in Arabic. I clicked on one of the links and I ended up on a US educational site, which, of course, was beautiful, but in English.

“Damn! There must be SOMETHING on the Arabic Wikipedia, I thought to myself,” my son watching my increasing frustration.

Guess what you’ll find under the entry about the five senses in the Arabic Wikipedia..

“Vision
Hearing
Smell
Taste
Touch”

That is, literally, the entire entry!! DUH!

I returned to Google, trying harder to find some simple information about the senses.

“The five senses and the path to Allah”
“Sense (7awas): A Saudi Discussion Forum”
“The five senses and foreplay in marital life”

Maybe I should have just printed out the content from that last link and sent it with my son to his teacher. That would have been something.

It’s a god-forsaken desert out there for Arabic children content.

Oh, great defenders of the Arabic culture in the High Arabic Language Academies..
Oh, you great warners of the dangers of globalization, normalization and “ziftation”..
Oh, you great middle-aged fat academics from the land between “Roaring Ocean to the Rebellious Gulf”..

Why don’t you move your butts and start copying and pasting some books into Wikipedia?


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7 Responses to “Children and the great Arabian Internet Desert”

  1. Bilal - Black Jack Says:

    “Why don’t you move your butts and start copying and pasting some books into Wikipedia?”

    I couldn’t put it any better.

    I wish we had an arabic version of amazon for book retail. someday we will. just keep the faith.

  2. Dave Says:

    Nice.

  3. Sid Vicious Says:

    Yeah, I was thinking about that a couple of days ago, I mean you can find a detailed article about shoelaces in english, while the featured articles in arabic are so crap they should be nominated for deletion.

  4. Mustafa Anabtawi Says:

    I had a taste of this frustration, my nephew came to me one day to pull some info in Arabic that her teacher asked for as a homework, i couldn’t find a single useful source, all i found is a paragraph that was copied over and over in several sites, which also raises the issue of computer illiteracy of most teachers especially when they ask forth or fifth grade students to simply , “google for …” .

  5. m arrabi Says:

    it would take a while, a long while, to discover that knowledge is economically useful – until then, we have no incentive to write pages in arabic.

    To “Bilal – Black Jack”, check neelwafurat.com, it’s the Amazon of arabia.

  6. Zaki Says:

    i think many of us face same thing… as a matter of fact the arabic content is very poor on the net even in general information some time you found asme information copy paste on all site, even if there is a mistake you find it every ware, even the information in Arabic is not trusted! yes many wrong information… any way if any one need a nice site check this one http://www.kids.jo/
    i like this one my son (4 year old) use it and its good for his age plz try it it have some good information… also i hope some day we found big companies investing in this topic…

  7. Shaymaa Says:

    Thank you for posting about this issue. As a programmer, I am really encouraged to do something about this. I have always brainstormed for ideas where I can help the Arabic community.

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