Sunday, February 27, 2005

Are they going to come after the bloggers next?

This is serious.

Ali Abdulemam, 27 years old, the owner of one of the most popular site in Bahrain, Bahrainonline.org was arrested today. He is probably the first Arab to be arrested for his internet/online activities.

Imagine the police in Oman arresting Neo because of OmanForum or Saeed Al Rashdi because he owns Sablat Al Arab.

Its scary. I've been lamenting the lack of serious Omani bloggers who'd want to actually speak out and write honestly about Oman. I guess news like this from a country that has been relatively tolerant of people who speak out against the government quickly puts the fear of God into people here who might have thought it.

I am a coward. I wouldn't want to be the test case. I got too much to worry about than to test the limits of Omani blogging. I set my limits when I first started this blog. I don't write about work, and as much as I'd love to write more seriously I try to keep things light. Is that a double standard? I guess it is. I wouldn't mind it if there were people reading this thinking "if you're not willing to do it then why should we?" But my worst fear is that there aren't any people like that and I'm the only one who sees things the way I do.

12 comments:

Kazablanka said...

dont be the test case, your wife has a baby thats gonna pop out soon =)

but I agree with you, the internet is not safe at all. you know like last week I wanted to write whats been going on at work, cuz shit has been getting really freaky like people got arrested and stuff and i never thought something like this would happen in oman and especially at where I work.. but yeah.. I never wrote about it cuz i was like i could get in deep shit for it so yeah.. its so sad how we cant say/write what we think. Anything to do with politics is so hush hush its annoying... blakh!

Anonymous said...

you should tell your wife to stop posting your name cause they will catch you. Scared yet????

M-Pac said...

They are watching you!

Mwaaah...HAHAHAHAHAHA!

muscati said...

My names' not a secret. Unlike 99.9999% of others who write under a nickname, most people know who I am. I think it was even in the newspaper once. I don't have the luxury of writing anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Mr. I dont have the Luxury. Needs to be careful cause you never know when they will come after you and hunt you down like a dog in the middle of the night.

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

See my country is making the headlines again..
Way to go!
On the bright side of things, here's another first for Bahrain, I suppose.
The first place oil was discovered in the region, the first schools, the first place girls did this, the first that... and now... the first blogger behind bars!
Congrats, keep up the good work!

Wardat_il'7leej said...

There are some of us who understand the ‘politics’ of writing anything in this country. DAM! Even what you say can be used against you.

OceanDream said...

I guess its all about knowing where to draw the line. Thing is, everyone's definition of drawing the line is different. If you have been reading our blog for a while, you would have read my husband's recollection of the day we went to the Elissa beach concert. To the two of us, telling one the organizers that the festival organization wasn't all that (because it didn't cater to families who wanted to enjoy the concert together) seemed perfectly normal. To that person, it was sufficient reason to call the cops, take my husband's ID, and keep us in their make-shift police station for over 3 hours.

Anonymous said...

looks like you want to get hunted down too

Wardat_il'7leej said...

Anonymous- if you have nothing useful to say then dont say anything at all

:S

Petite For Life said...

Bloggers have been arrested in several countries like Malaysia, USA, Iran, etc. for political reasons, some got kicked out of their work in USA the most, ex. The airline, Google & Microsoft.

I never heard in the Arab world, but don't be surprised if it happens.

Desert Island Boy said...

Muscati,

The difference is that in Bahrain, we were allowed to have the right to speak our minds freely. It gave us the confidence to discuss those serious matter that you speak of.

OD and Mahmood have said as much. Tell us where the line is. Some lines will be different than others. In reality, we only want to take advantage of every opportunity that we may avail of. I would never advise you to do anything that would get you the wrong kind of attention.

But take every opportunity to find your voice and find a receptive audience. Someday it will happen, Insha'allah!

My advice to Omani bloggers is to engender the confidence of the ruling elites. Give them a reason to believe that you can be the link between them and the everyday Omani, that both can respect. There are portions of Bahrain's merchant elite and even the ruling family who read our blogs with pride and admiration. They see it's value and as we get more established, they do what they can to keep the channels of communication open.

Fifteen years ago, Bahrainis couldn't dream of what we are doing now. Be patient, be wise and perhaps you will even surpass us in this sphere. Then we will complain about that like we complain about Dubai! ;)