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Rania, the YouTube queen

Patrick Michael
Filed on July 29, 2008

DUBAI- Queen Rania of Jordan is giving new meaning to the phrase “mingling with the masses”.

The gracious and eloquent queen is creating dialogue between her and the rest of the world, in an effort to dispel some of the misconceptions associated with Arabs and Islam.

A project that began on March 27 has overnight mushroomed as a dialogue with over a million YouTubers having logged on.

The YouTubers across the globe who fire away questions at the Queen are from all ages, from teenagers in Malyasia, America and Lebanon to a Briton in his late 80s.

As the Queen says in one of the clips: “Some of the inputs I received were positive, others were critical. But that’s okay because debate is part of the dialogue. We don’t always have to agree to get along.” The questions span a whole range of issues relating to rights of Arab women to honour killings, religion and the Palestianian conflict.

It’s not to say that all conversation and questions on the “Rania: The YouTube Queen” is sweetness and light. There are mean-minded and downright nasty questions too. Undoubtedly, it takes time, commitment and resources to ensure there’s a meaningful give-and-take and that it’s not perceived as a publicity stunt. But Queen Rania is determined to sustain and increase the interest levels. And there’s nothing like some humour to add freshness and appeal, without taking away the seriousness of her project.

Maz Jobrani of the Axis of Evil laughs it off for the Queen and talks about the stereotypes of the Middle East he has encountered. “You guys have to watch this” says the Queen.

patrick@khaleejtimes.com


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