I would say blogs are like gardens. Us bloggers need to start from scratch, we build the foundations, plant the seeds and wait for our work to grow. It takes time and effort. "verta, hikea ja kyyneleita" (blood, sweat and tears) as the Finnish saying goes. Like flowers need regular watering to strive, the blog needs constant up-keeping to flourish.
When a blogger steals material from another blog, this naturally feels very upsetting, maddening and frustrating and like all our hard work is being exploited. It seems like some people just have no shame these days and this happens despite us having copyright notices on our blogs.
The reason I'm writing this entry is my random discovery today of a so called "copycat blogger" who I am going to expose because of the outragous plagiarism on her site. I randomly found her site by doing a google search. This is not just a case of a single copied post but the entire blog seems to be based on taking material from others. How can someone think they can get away with this in the first place? I'm upset on behalf of everyone she stole from.
According to her site and FB fan page she is a Muslim of South African origin who works as pharmacist at a large reputable hospital in Riyadh. She calls herself the "Desert Pill Pusher" but her name is Sumayya Mehtar, a self proclaimed philanthropist and public figure. Strange then that she needs to take most of her material from others.
Blue Abaya is not the only site that she has plagiarized from. American Bedu, Susie of Arabia, Rasheeds World, A Canadian in Riyadh, Saudi Jeans, from who she either directly copy pasted the articles off, or used material and altered the text a little. I don't get how this site has been running for over a year and nobody noticed this before. All those subscribers and fans on FB must not have a clue.
Some of the articles she stole from my blog just last month, like this post I wrote about Ramadan and the Hardees fungus burger incident: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/2012/08/ramadan-junk-food-and-fungus-burgers.html
She divided this into two posts on her site, basically copy pasting the entire article, but "cleverly" changing the last part where I explain about emailing McDonald's, she writes "my friend emailed". How ingenious. And sorry but I am not your friend.
Can you believe the audacity? The more I looked the more I found plagiarized content, it seemed endless. This really PISSED ME OFF. I posted comments on her blog and Facebook "fan page" exposing her plagiarism but she has deleted the comments and afterwards changed the title to "by Layla" like that makes any difference. Get real. No links, no mention of source and most importantly no asking permission, apologies or withdrawing the stolen content.
I also informed a few bloggers of the plagiarism and they and some friends posted on her Facebook page but all those comments were deleted as well. The plagiarized material still remains there though.
Browsing through this fraud site I found more material taken from my posts, for example from Bedouins as patients, Eternal Veil, Saudi Dating scene and Saudi culture and Visiting the sick
which I recommend you read and compare to the below post. I'm not going to post multiple links to her blog and just in case she takes it down here is her version of my article:
"The culture of visiting the sick in Saudi Arabia is very much the same to what I have experienced in South Africa especially amongst the South African muslim community. Muslim families in South Africa are usually very close knit and hence when one family member is admitted in hospital it is not unusual to see the whole family gathering at the hospital including, uncle and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews and oh yes let us not forget the 45th cousins, neighbours and the extended family as well. Many a times family members will bring food for the patient and sometimes there would be extra food for all the family members visiting the sick. There were times when I noticed families ordering pizzas or machachos chicken that was delivered to the hospital.
Now in Saudi Arabia visiting the sick is a very important part of the culture simply because it stems from the Islamic religion. A patient in a Saudi hospital is rarely left alone. The patient will almost always have a "miraafiq" or a "sitter" staying in the room with them. These sitters are usually family members. They might be a son, a daughter, a mother or father, grand daughter or grand son, aunt or uncle, brother or sister. The most important thing is that the patient is never neglected or left alone. The patient must always be look after by the family.The family may also provide a paid sitter in addition to a family member.
For many western nurses, this usually comes as a huge surprise, a positive one of course!! In many western orientated countries, sadly patients rarely have visitors. They may visit over the weekend only or may come by during a holiday if the patient resides within an old age home. Many a times the old and elderly are forgotten in these old age homes with absolutely no relatives visiting them at all.
In the Kingdom, it would be considered a great shame and a disgrace to place one's parents in an old age home.Old age homes are non existent here.There is no need for them as it is considered an honour to take care of one's parents and have them reside within your own home.
The sitters take care of all the basic needs of the patients. They will help them eat, even feed them if they can not feed themselves. They will assist in taking the patient to the toilet, bathing the patient and very simply carrying out any task that the patient requires in order to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible.I think this just fantastic!!The families here are just so close knit and its amazing to see just how dedicated they are to towards the wellbeing of the patient.For example, I would bet you that no average western man would "babysit" their very ill, possibly demented, bedridden mother.Would a western man change her diapers, feed her, turn her in bed, rub her feet, read her books or recite the Bible to her? The Saudi man on the other hand would never say a bad word or get irritated if the mother is demanding, forgetful or confused.
In the Quraan, there are several verses stressing kindness towards parents. Here is one of them..."be dutiful to your parents,if one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. (Quran17.23). Do a google search on "kindness to parents" and you will be amazed to find that the top 10 results are all from Islamic websites.
And how about a husbands dedication to his ill wife? They will go through anything to please their wives.This also comes from Islam where the prophet Muhammed (saw) mentioned "the best among you (men) are the ones who are best in treatment towards their wives." The elderly patients will be the most respected and they may have great great grand children visit them.Children are much valued in Saudi culture and I've come across parents with 17 children. Mind you in South Africa there are a few families within our suburb that do have 12 and 15 children and a my friend's dad came from a family of 21 kids...Yes folks.. 21 kids from one mother.A patient might have many visitors all at once. Sometimes they would fill up the whole room.They will bring tea or Qahwa (arabic coffee), chocolates, flowers, cakes and pastries to offer the patient. Sometimes trolleys of cooked food is wheeled into the patients room and the whole family will partake of the food with the patient. Saudis are the most hospitable nation I've ever met.They will always invite the medical staff to join the family for a cup of qahwa or tea or to taste the food. They are noted for giving generously even if they are poor they always want to give you something. Often the visitiors will come in groups of either men and women and they will visit the patient separately, although if they are closely related they will go in together. Many a times the family members will burn 3oud inside the room as a welcoming gesture to the guests."
I am simply too shocked and disgusted to say anything to this. Actually in a way I also find this really pathetic and sad.
The most outrageous thing I noticed was a recent post by her called "My article in the newspaper" and a link to a South African newspaper which published her article titled: "The magical month in the Kingdom". This article has a part of it DIRECTLY copied from my post two years earlier titled, surprise surprise "The Magic Month In The Kingdom". "Her" article was published in Lenasia times: http://www.lenasia-times.co.za/editions/july2012/travel/1.html.
I have contacted this newspaper and informed them about the plagiarism.
So if you are a Saudi blogger I would suggest you check this pill pusher site out. Maybe she popped some of your work on there too. She says on her site "NO I'm not a terrorist." Well you certainly are a thief, and this is not the way to go about blogging. Respect other bloggers and their material, ask permission, link back, mention the source, don't take someone's hard work and use it as your own and expect to get away with it.
I remember as a kid complaining to my mother once about some girls who would copy everything I did. She said "don't mind them, they are just envious of you and want to be more like you. The more they copy you the more awesome you are in their eyes."
Sumayya Mehtar has removed some posts from her site which were directly copy-pasted from Blue Abaya. She however re-posted her plagiarized version of my "Visiting the Sick" article on her site, without asking permission. She only posted a link on the bottom. The audacity is mind-boggling to me.
She did issue a public apology directed to me (but not any other blogger or journalist she stole from) on her FB page, claiming she did not know what she was doing was wrong. That is like saying, I went to the bookstore and took a book home to read without paying, I didn't know this was wrong. Nobody is that clueless or naive. I think she is just trying desperately to save her face. She has now added some links to the posts she stole trying to make it look like she had asked permission.
Her claim that "someone had randomly emailed her the articles" which she then posted and altered (to sound like she wrote them) is equally ludicrous. Why in the world would someone do that, and even if they did (which she has FAILED to provide any proof of) it's still using someone else's material and trying to make it look like your own.
The thing that makes this even more serious is that her site uses Google Adsense, which means she is profiting with the plagiarized content. She even directly informed me about the money coming in from adds, begging me to let her keep the articles so she doesn't loose money (which she claims to donate if someone wants to believe that).
The Lenosia times have not contacted me back yet regarding the plagiarism. It has come to my attention that the ENTIRE article published on Lenosia times was copied from different bloggers and journalists. The others parts were from these sites:
Susie of Arabia's post: http://susieofarabia.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/ramadan-tv-tash-ma-tash/
Caryle Murphy of The National: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/ramadan-in-saudi-arabia-is-a-different-experience
Bassma Al Toaimi in Destination Jeddah: http://www.destinationjeddah.com/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1184%3Aramadan-saudi-style-the-month-of-cherished-traditions&catid=99%3Asettling-in&Itemid=485
I suggested to her she contact each and every one of the bloggers and journalists she stole from and apologize. Secondly for her to issue a public apology addressing everyone on the blog and Facebook page explaining what she has done. Then, remove all plagiarized content from the blog (would there be anything left?). Also contact Lenosia times herself and inform about the plagiarism.
She has blocked several people including me from her Facebook page and deletes comments sent to her blog re plagiarism.
And after all this, she still wishes we could be friends and share content and she has asked me to take this post down because it is bringing her shame. That is called KARMA coming right back at you.