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100 of the best - Meedan launches search for the strongest writers on the Middle East

Since 9/11, world news pages have been dominated by the Middle East.  Bomb blasts in Baghdad, protests in Beirut, gun battles in the Gaza strip, terror plots in Saudi - we've seen it all.  Most would probably agree, it's been a tense time for the region.  The political map in some places has been completely redrawn, and over the last seven years violence has flared almost everywhere at some time or other.

But this overarching theme of violence, violence, protests, and yet more violence has masked so many other trends and changes that have taken place across the Middle East in the last decade.

Where were the reporters when a group of young people launched a series of free outdoor music concerts in Cairo, the likes of which Egypt hadn't seen before?

Who was reporting on the dramatic social upheaval in Dubai, the city which went from a collection of skyscrapers to an internationally recognized regional hub?

And who was commenting on the shifts in religious ideology within the region's barometer of political Islam - the Muslim Brotherhood - as it sought to outdo its jihadist rivals, namely Al Qaeda, from Jordan to Iraq?

The answer is, there were people reporting and commenting on these things - great reporters, commentators, bloggers, analysts and academics. But all too often what they were saying was lost in the din, buried by the bigger news stories.

So, here at Meedan, we want to bring out those voices and let them speak to a wider audience.  We want to compile the definitive list of the best 100 writing and reporting on the Middle East.  To ensure we get the best representation possible across the spectrum, 50 of the best will be from the region writing in Arabic, the other 50 writing in English from any part of the world.

So, here's where you come in.  If you have a suggestion to make - a blogger you feel passionately about, or a reporter you think does an extra special job - send us an email at editor@meedan.net and we'll post it here for others to see.

You'll want to convince us your chosen writer is so good. So explain why, and give us some links to articles to prove it.  And if you've taken the time to go that far, get your friends to come onto the blog and back you.

OK some rules.  When all the nominations are in, we'll have a vote.  So long as you left us an email address, if you posted or commented you'll have a chance to have your say.  We'll have a go at ranking our top ten, and the votes will be tallied up for all the writers in the list.

When all the sums are done, we'll have two rankings - one for the best 50 Arabic writers on the Middle East, the other for the best 50 English writers.

Then we'll be able to see what the best 100 really have to say about the Middle East post 9/11.

So join the debate - email your ideas to editor@meedan.net.