Arab Bloggers conference and the visa issue

“All our visas have been denied” is what Lama Hourani (from Heinrich Boell) told me on the phone a few days ago, “but we’re working on it from Ramallah and there are people at the Ministry of Interior in Tunis working on it, I still have hope.” Yet, here I am on the first day of the conference, sitting in Ramallah, still hoping for this damned visa.

What’s the reason? well no one seems to know, the Ministry is blaming the Tunisian Consulate in Ramallah, while the Consulate is claiming that the decision is in the Ministry’s hand. We have yet to receive an official reason as to why the entire Palestinian delegation (with the exception of one blogger Sa’ed Karazon) got denied a visa. We’re taking one final shot at this, and hoping the Palestinian ambassador in Tunisia would be able to pressure the Mninistry to either give us an official reason to why we were denied, or grant us visas. I’m hoping we could at least attend the remaining 3 days of the conference, it would be an honor to meet such amazing people who have created change. Here’s hoping the Tunisian government would change their mind and grant us a visa!

The list of people who were supposed to go are: Asmaa’ Abdulmawjood (Alghoul), Ebaa Alburai, Mohammed Abu Sharkh, Majd Kayyal, Thameena Husary, Nisreen Mazzawi, Saleh Dawabshe, Khaled Sharqawi, Bashar Lubbad and me (Dalia Othman)

Just got an update this afternoon from the Ministry of Interior. They claim that because the conference and the organization Nawaat that sent us the invitation are both unlicensed they can’t issue visas for us Palestinians. Correct me if i’m wrong, but wouldn’t that mean that they deny an entry visa to everyone else who’s going to the conference?


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