Ahmad Alam Turns to Facebook to Promote His Competing Vision of Little Arabia
Since the Weekly profiled the Anaheim ethnic enclave unofficially known as 'Little Arabia' in a January cover story, hundreds of folks on Facebook have 'liked' the neighborhood page that has existed since 2010 on the social networking site, sending its total to over 1,100. Rashad Al-Dabbagh, who turned to social media to build momentum for official designation of the area by the city of Anaheim, keeps people, old and new, in the loop about the political, cultural, and business happenings in the community as it enters its 2012 election cycle.
Earlier this month, a new 'Little Arabia' profile on Facebook has since gone up that has since also gained hundreds of friends.
It goes by the handle 'Little Ahmad Alam Arabia' and promotes the work of the early and influential property owner and publisher of The Arab World Newspaper. His role in developing the ethnic enclave and well as the fraying of his relationship with fellow property owner Belal 'Bill' Dalati over the Arab Spring revolts in Syria were chronicled in our pages. Alam's 'Little Arabia' profile refers to this backhandedly as 'SMALL NOISE.'
Alam's profile page features pictures of him next to local politicians like Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and former Anaheim city councilwoman Lucille Kring, while promoting this year's Arab American Day Festival in Garden Grove. It also features shots of an early July 14, 2000, map of Arab Town in his newspaper as well as the first index of businesses featured in Arab World. The property owner also speaks of new projects coming to the area, in particular a Baja Fresh location that will serve halal meat and is set to open in one of his Brookhurst Plaza vacancies.
The rules for this particular profile of Little Arabia are laid out as follows:
FIRST OF ALL NO OVER SEAS POLITICS AT ALL , AMERIICAN POLITICS IS WELCOME....WE WILL KEEP ON DOING WHAT WE STARTED 12 YEARS AGO TILL WE REACH OUR GOALS AND WE REALLY WANT TO KEEP IT WITH LOW PROFILE OTHER WISE THE PRICES AND RENT OF REAL ESTATE WILL BE OUT OF REACH INTHIS AREA
The position of wanting to leave out the politics of the Arab Spring and the Middle East where it concerns local aspirations is reiterated. (Note to Alam, writing in all caps is akin to SHOUTING on the Internet!) Last year, the publisher of Arab World faced an organized boycott against advertisers in his paper and festival over Syria. Interestingly enough, recent street demonstrations by Syrian-Americans and others denouncing the regime of Bashar al-Assad have posted up on the corner of Brookhurst and Orange in Anaheim in the past few weeks. Alam's plaza down the street had been the traditional gathering spot for protests and celebrations over the years. For shame!
In the meantime, the first Little Arabia Facebook page has regular posts about local happenings connected to the politics of Syria and Egypt. It also shared our own Dave Lieberman's recommendation of the spinach fatayer served at Forn Al Hara, a Brookhurst Plaza bakery owned and operated by Alam's brother as well as other posts about businesses in the strip mall.
Unswayed, the property owner saw it fit to do his own social networking thing, keeping a "low profile" with a new profile.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts