Blocking sites gains momentum

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and Pakistan (as well as Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iran I suspect) are going frantic over blocking websites they find… uh… offensive to their delicate sensibilities:

“Before shutting down (YouTube), we did try just to block particular URLs or links, and access to 450 links on the Internet were stopped, but the blasphemous content kept appearing so we ordered a total shut down,” he said.

Quite natural isn’t it? They block hundreds of websites, they admit that the adopted measures don’t work, so what do they do? Fuck it, shut down access to the whole global site which is enjoying 2 billion views a day. What the hell, their (and our) people don’t need this shite anyway right? Numerically, we’re about 600 years behind the world (according to the literal numbers on our calendars) so why not change that esoteric figure into an actual condition?

But the YouTube shutdown was in 2007. What, one might ask, do the innovative Pakistani authorities have in their magic turban for this year?

Well Facebook of course!

A Foreign Office spokesman condemned the publication of caricatures of the Muslim prophet on Facebook and urged countries to “address the issue” which he said was an “extremely sensitive and emotional matter for Muslims.”

“Such malicious and insulting attacks hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world and can not be accepted under the garb of freedom of expression,” the spokesman, Abdul Basit, told a weekly briefing.

cloaked? for heaven’s sake cloaked? Freedom of expression need to be cloaked? Did the guy never hear of the Human Rights declarations at all? Oh I’m sorry, if it comes to attacking our illustrious and great religion our method of confronting that is not negotiation, promoting understanding or simply ignoring the jibes, but no, we have to demonstrate how weak our religion is by summarily banning, outcasting, boycotting or even executing those who “dare” to criticise; thus, confirming the now common precept that Islam is weak.

Stupid. Disgusting. Un-Islamic even.

But wait, there’s more!

After the PTA’s directives against Facebook and YouTube, Pakistani mobile companies blocked all Blackberry services on Wednesday night but restored services used by non-corporate users later on Thursday.

Now I wonder where they got that particular idea from? Oh wait! It’s us! It’s us! We – the great Bahraini Nation – are the pioneers in blocking Blackberry services! Yippeee, we have something to be really proud of!

You know what also worries me about this? The people in the picture. People demonstrating in favour of giving up their god-givin human rights.

I fully expect that Bahrain, already blocking hundreds if not thousands of sites under the precept of protecting us from ourselves, will now take head of the “Pakistani model” and go ahead and block the most important sites on the Internet, because, wait for it… blocking specific URLs didn’t work…

Read the full Reuters report here.

Gute Nacht.

  • chanad
    21 May 2010

    It’s worse than you think Mahmood! The Telecom Authority has set up a hotline where people can call up and complain about a blasphemous site, and they will block it for you!

    Not only Facebook and Youtube, but also Wikipedia, and Flickr are currently blocked. Twitter has been on and off since the morning. And yesterday evening they even blocked Google search and gmail for a couple hours!

    The Minister for IT is now trying to compete with the High Court in claiming credit for the ridiculous bans!

  • mahmood
    21 May 2010

    Chanad me old chum! I hope you’re doing well.

    It seems that our countries, in the apparent absence of internal and external pressures, wish to bring the big red switch back with alacrity. And our so called citizens are aiding and abetting that process.

  • mahmood
    21 May 2010

    Just got a pointer to this, thanks Hani:

    This is how Muslims should protest.


  • bahraini
    22 May 2010

    that is just retard,

    the whole world is “loling” at us !

  • Bahrainiyah
    23 May 2010

    So excuse me Mahmood, but WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?! I absolutely understand your whole ‘globalization-anti-blocking’ take on this issue… but when it comes to religion and offending our Prophet, what solution are we ought to go with? Isn’t enough that our local… ha forget local, even INTERNATIONAL ARAB newspapers and news broadcasting companies are not even publicizing about this blasphemous act, while the rest of us sit and watch!
    If you argue about trying to negotiate as a resort before Pakistan blocked facebook, it has been reported that Pakistan had written a letter requesting that the social network remove the offensive pictures, but once facebook denied their request only then did they block the social network.

    So please Mahmood, enlighten me: What is it that Muslims have to do to fix this problem?!

    • mahmood
      23 May 2010

      Why do Muslims have to do anything at all about this issue? Will ANY of these actions (drawings, films, etc) impinge on the Prophet’s reputation or lessen our love and respect for him? It is because of extreme reactions by Muslims that people are goaded into doing more!

      The choice is simple: (1) ignore them, they will go away if no reaction is witnessed, or (2) engage them in conversation, this is a perfect opportunity to show them how WE view our religion and who knows, maybe one would gain some converts into the bargain.

      Facebook or any other expression platform are only vehicles through which people share their thoughts. What ethical reason is there to summarily block them because they were used as such? Blocking or banning only demonstrably increases popularity.