14 June, 2006

Gulf blogs article

Internet blogs are giving rise to a new breed of Arab activist as ordinary residents increasingly use them to press for more political rights and civil liberties in conservative Gulf states.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has the region's second biggest weblog community, an Emirati male blogger writing in Arabic was censored one week after launching "The Land of Sands" in 2004.

But he has found a way to circumvent the Internet servers of Etisalat, the state telecommunications monopoly, and continues posting his writings in which he attacks clerics and charges their influence is rising in the UAE.

"They follow a systematic plan to penetrate the government, media, schools and the laws. They are 'Islamising' our world, mind and life," he told AFP in an email interview.

"Civil liberties and freedoms are definitely restricted... some emirates turn a blind eye on personal freedom in places like Dubai for business reasons only," he said, referring to the thriving commercial center and most tolerant member of the UAE federation.

More here


BuJ said...

The blog can be found here

A Yahya said...

Its blocked from here. But sam is there any need to rock the boat in the UAE...its not exactly Saudi Arabia here and the way I see it, some people need to have their brain farts blocked.

Silly statements like They follow a systematic plan to penetrate the government, media, schools and the laws. They are 'Islamising' our world, mind and life," is typical of the bullshit that the Religious Policeman also likes to spurt everyday from his journal.

I am not condoning the blocking, but sometimes censorship works, coz crap like this is exactly what some westerners love read to confirm their ignorant opnions about our 'barbaric lands'.

samuraisam said...

a yahya: I was quoting an article; do not assume I endorse its opinion by merely quoting it.

I certainly don't need any article to base my views and opinions upon, I have had enough personal experience to form my own opinion; if others read something and form their own opinion that is their decision.

Calling the religious policeman's blog bullshit may be your opinion, but having personally lived in KSA (can't remember it much though) and having close family friends tell me of stories about religious police ripping Christmas cards out of their bags at the airport and begin stamping on them with their size 9 boots like a bunch of school children I certainly wouldn't disagree with the sentiment the religious policeman (as in the blogging one) has.

Your views with regards to 'rocking the boat' are certainly different to the current rate of development and social change in the UAE; I can't see how it is remotely possible to not rock the boat given the insane rate of change.

Censorship doesn't work; all censorship does is affirm the opinion of those that are censored, if it doesn't affirm their opinion, it certainly raises popularity and gives them notoriety.

secretdubai said...

We know this place isn't Saudi Arabia but I wouldn't even insult it by using such an appalling standard of comparison.

When I judge this country, I judge it on the image it is trying to present to the west: a place of equal opportunity, multiculturalism, technology, business, rapid development, world class facilities.

I think we can all agree that it doesn't yet live up to the glossy brochure image. Fair enough - it's come a long way very quickly

But there are serious issues here that need to be dealt with more urgently than world record breaking mega projects. Human rights is one of these. Censorship is another. Transparency a third.

These aren't issues that only affect expats, though we whinge more, because they come as a shock to us. We are not used to them, but nationals are. But they are issue that affect locals. Nepotism, tribalism and snobbery prevent a bright young emirati reaching certain positions. A lack of democracy means that only the royal bloodline (and only males at that) can ever govern this place. Censorship allow corruption to go undiscovered. A lack of transparency leads locals to invest in shaky companies. Human rights issues prevent men and especially women from marrying their partners of choice (I don't refer to family and social pressures here, I mean actual UAE laws).

So that's why we should push and continue to rock the boat - albeit more gently than we would in our home countries - to get the UAE to a level where people compare it with the UK or Canada, rather than Saudi and Iran.

Tainted Female said...


I think you missed Yahya’s first comment.

Why rock the boat here by quoting the article?

John B. Chilton said...

Is rocking the boat the right metaphor? Why not competition of ideas? If the guy is wrong explain.

Censoring him only confirms what the West believes, rightly or wrongly.

False ideas are only rooted out by exposing them to the light of day. That's one of the lessons taken from, well, the Holocaust.

samuraisam said...

I quoted an article that was interesting; obviously it was interesting considering the comments made already.

rajesh said...

lots of information.

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