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Tim Malmo blogs his big ideas...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tonight, I am pleased and proud to introduce Tim Malmo as LOBI's blogger for the next few days or so...

You can read about Tim and read
some of his writing here.

Over to you, Tim...

The veil

Friday, October 13, 2006
Amid the current debate about the veil, you might be interested in reading about the experiences and opinion of one Iranian woman, Nasrin Parvaz.

Nasrin writes of her battle with her mother as a young girl living in pre-1978 Iran, in order to win the right to refuse the veil.

A passionate campaigner for human rights and freedom of speech, Nasrin came to the UK in 1993 after a long period of imprisonment and torture by the regime. You can read more of her short stories on her own web site here.

Feeling guilty

Monday, October 09, 2006
I feel so guilty that I haven't blogged for three weeks.

When I began the Lots Of Big Ideas project I really never imagined that I'd still be blogging eighteen months down the line. My biggest idea was that, by now, I'd have handed this blog over to the people to whom it rightfully belongs - that's the inspiring group of people whose writing you can now read on our emerging LOBI wiki. After all, they are the ones with the stories to tell, not me. It's their voices that people like you want to hear.

What I didn't forsee, though, (or rather what I naively imagined was merely a very small obstacle to be overcome) was just how difficult it is for people to blog or add their writing to a wiki when they don't have regular access to a computer and/or the internet. Although most of us now take it for granted that we can log on at home or work and quickly check our emails or type up a report, people with no permanent home and no right to work just don't have that luxury. And forget about a cup of coffee in an internet cafe... That's just not going to happen.

When I started to suggest to the people I met thay they might write about their everyday lives on the web, I forgot that, really, the last thing on your mind when you don't even have the bus fare to get yourself to your next doctor's appointment or to see your lawyer (that is, if you're lucky enough to have been allocated one and they haven't lost your papers), or when you're standing in endless queues for vouchers or more form-filling, the very last thing on your priority list is to get yourself down to the local library to wait in another queue to get five free minutes on a computer... and, when you do, if you actually muster the energy to do that, which is quite impressive in itself, you'll have just enough time to send a quick email to your mate or Immigration or the person who promised last week that she was going to help you with some housing advice.

And the saddest thing of all is that these are talented, educated people with so much to say, so much to contribute, and I have a few basic ideas about helping them find an audience, and there are lovely people like you out there - and lovely people at The Guardian, for instance - who have been so supportive of what we're trying to do and really, really want to listen. So, in the end, it's all about money. I wish I could give every budding refugee writer I come across a laptop - even just a part-time share in a laptop - and an internet access card, or a voucher for their local wireless zone or internet cafe. If there's anyone out there who might be able to help with that, I would love to hear from you.