|Naira, being a bit older than her sisters had more serious interests with the web. When I kidded her about searching for yet more info on Titanic she said no, Mahatma Gandhi—he's my favorite. She quickly saw the true power of the medium. In fact, her ideas pre-dated her introduction to the Internet. Even before starting her university courses in computer science, she was thinking of the computer as a communication tool. She wanted to tell the story of the suffering people of the world—to increase awareness. But her classes focused exclusively on programming and computation—a far cry from the multimedia environment of today's Internet.
When Evelyn and I first met Naira she was surprised to learn that we have our own website. By the time we returned to Amman four weeks later from Israel, she had begun work on her own site. A friend is teaching her how to create a website.
Her plans for the site are quite admirable. "Maybe everyone knows there are needy people, orphans; that there are suffering people," she says, "but they don't know exactly what their problems are. They don't come so close to them. So my idea is to make clear to the world that they are all human - like us - the problem is they are suffering."
So she's asking around - friends, neighbors - trying to find names and addresses of people in need. She'd like to meet these people and interview them; then tell their stories on her website. But she's oniy a teenager and her father is concerned about her going off alone to meet these people.
"Sometimes I think my website won't see the light of day. Because I need more freedom." She balks at using email to find and interview people saying, "The real story is in real life." She'll stick to this principle. Maybe she can't go out now a "stranger in a strange land" - but later, when she and her family are settled. If they go out of the Arab world…
For now Naira is working on her website daily - working on telling her own story and that of her family.
"I think I'm lucky," she says. "To be out. Not far from my country or my people… I'm lucky to be here on the Internet because I think… Life is running. So I must run with it."
"You can't just stand there and say let's see what will happen tomorrow. We must teach ourselves. Life is the biggest school."