SocialEyez's Blog: conflict in Iraq & Arab Idol, Weekly Top 5

At the beginning of the week of April 28-May 2, Arab social media users discussed the previous weekend’s episodes of Arab Idol. Like last week, political discussions took the lion’s share of 
social media activity, although the top topic was in the Sports category.

The four-month conflict in Iraq evolved into armed fighting, which many critics believe will eventually become a civil war.  Some users said Iraq was at a crossroads and would head towards “the obscure” unless PM Nouri al-Maliki’s government acted to end violence. Others demanded Maliki and his government resign to spare the country more fighting and bloodshed. Reader Mohamed al-Sawi wrote: “Who bears the responsibility of this disaster? All the Iraqi politicians, headed by Maliki who only looks after Iran’s interests.” Users stressed that the four-month protests had been peaceful, but the Iraqi troops raided Hawija city and killed the peaceful protesters camping there. Others slammed the government’s approach to Hawija massacre as conflicting, since they hail the soldiers who attacked the protesters as “heroes”, yet describe the victims as “martyrs”. Other users supported Maliki’s crackdown on the protesters, arguing that the clashes in Kirkuk were a blatant breach to a ceasefire deal, and claiming that the protesters want to control the oil fields in Kirkuk. Some claim that protests started as peaceful demos, until Qaeda members infiltrated them to ignite sedition among Iraqis. On the other hand, some slammed foreign countries as interfering in Iraq’s affairs. Reader Yasir said: “America and Iran know from the very beginning that Maliki supports sectarianism. True Iraq is made up of moderate Sunnis and moderate Shias.”

Arab Idol was discussed twice this week, generating 83,491 comments. The first episode of the eliminations round of the show debuted last Friday, putting the fate of the contestants in the hands of the audience. Some expected Egyptian contestant Ahmed Gamal to reach the finals after performing a cover of Mohamed Mounir’s “Younes”. Egyptian users called on each other to vote for Gamal and Sabrine Negeily. Palestinian users also lobbied for Mohamed Assaf and supported him until the finals ended. Facebooker Aseel Omari cheered: “Thanks to all the Arab countries from the Maghreb to Qatar for supporting Mohamed Assaf. He has a Palestinian voice, with an Arab note. We thank you for supporting Assaf, the voice of Palestine.”
Some users said the contest executives rigged the votes, especially after Lebanese Wael Saied was eliminated from the contest following low audience votes. Many slammed judge Nancy Ajram for keeping Saied in at the beginning despite low audience votes, then refusing to flash the Wild Card for him to stay. User Njoud A protested: “Are you saying that people voted for Fares and Hanan more than Wael? Of course not! They have altered the results.”
Iraqi users supported their nationals Mohannad al-Marsoumy and Kurdish-Iraqi contestant Parwas Hussein. Some others commended Syrians Farah Youssef and Abdul Karim Hamdan and wished one of them would win the title. Many said they missed judge Ragheb Alama who didn’t 
appear at Saturday’s episode for committing to other plans.


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