Sunday, February 8, 2009

Banned

The 'banned website' sign for internet users in the UAE

Having thought for a very short time yesterday (5 minutes at 9am) this blog had been completely banned by the Bahraini authorities ~the banned website sign was all over my blog, not sure why, but possibly because a previous post contains the words, 'whorehouse' and 'errection'~ I have decided to dedicate today's posting to the subject of banned substances in the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE).

I've not included the obviously haram items such as gambling, weapons & guns, pornography, alcohol & drugs, pork and women showing their body in public or being unable to either work, or drive in Saudi Arabia. But I have included the things which are not quite so obvious, even when you live here.




The 'banned website' sign for internet users in Bahrain


Banned
giving flowers to people staying in hospitals (Saudi, May '04)
yoga (Saudi, May '04)

phones with digital cameras (Saudi)
Skype (UAE)

theatres (Saudi)
cinemas (although there is now 1 in Jeddah, but does not operate on a daily basis)
music in public spaces (Saudi)
satellite dishes (Saudi)
Film, 'The Life of Brian' (Bahrain)

changing rooms in clothes shops (Saudi)
mannequins for female clothes (Saudi, talk of doing so in Bahrain)

Barbie dolls (Saudi, Dec '03)
stuffed animal toys (Saudi)
teddy bears (Saudi)
Pokeman cards (Saudi, March '01)
Harry Potter and anything to do with Harry Potter (Saudi, Sept '02)
'grand theft auto 4' computer game (UAE)
Model aircrafts with engines (Bahrain)

Christmas, Christmas decorations (Saudi)
Christian crucifixes (Saudi)
models of Buddha (Saudi)

abortions (GCC)
women giving birth without being married (GCC)

vibrators (GCC)

Valentines day (Saudi)  {see wgaw blog archive: 11/o4}
fireworks (Bahrain)

chickens from Europe (Saudi)
peanut butter (Bahrain, '08)
soft drinks from Europe (Saudi, Aug '02)
milk powder from America (Saudi)
cigarettes (Riyadh, May '03)

National Geographic magazine, April '03 edition (Saudi)

women riding bikes/motorbikes (Saudi)
women on roller skates (Saudi)

The 'banned website' sign for internet users in Qatar


Urban Legend

I love this story from the Saudi English Language newspaper, Arab News (03-06-05), simply because it sounds so much like a genuine urban legend:

"But the piece de resistance of all stories must be that of a Saudia captain who purchased a book highlighting the achievements through humor of the Marx Brothers.

He was accosted by an overly alert customs officer at the Old Jeddah Airport who insisted on confiscating the book.

'But why?' he implored, 'It’s only a book! There are not even any pictures,' he added emphatically.
'You are trying to bring in a dissertation by Marx and you expect me to let you go free?' he retorted.
'No! No! This is not Karl Marx. This is Groucho Marx and his brothers Harpo and Chico.'
'You mean his brothers don’t share his opinion?' the officer asked in earnest.
'They are comedians! They are not philosophers or politicians,'he reiterated.

The official not quite sure of what to do solicited the help of one of his superiors who drew the same convoluted conclusion. Someone high up had to come and release the poor guy who was now being accused of trying to spread corrupt ideologies among his countrymen.

The captain was only released after his benefactor agreed to sign an indemnity declaring that Groucho, Harpo and Chico bore no blood relation to Karl Marx and did not subscribe to his dogma!

And there it was. The actions of one dedicated individual that prevented the aberration of communism from infiltrating our borders!"


The 'banned website' sign for internet users in Kuwait (with thanks to blogger 'Web-OJ' for sending me a copy)

More Information on Bannings
1
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/sin-brother-is-banned-by-king-of-bahrain-757175.html
2
http://mahmood.tv/tag/banned/
3
http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2007/10/11/the_kingdom_banned_in_kuwait_bahrain_
4
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=321437&CategoryId=13003
5
http://venturebeat.com/2007/12/07/twitter-apparently-banned-in-uae-like-many-other-sites/
6
http://www.menassat.com/?q=en/news-articles/5904-bahrain-hit-mass-web-censorship-activists-say
7
http://www.itp.net/news/511911-uae-users-face-part-ban-of-facebook





14 comments:

*~Ange~* said...

hahhaa peanut buuter and the life of brian??!!!
thats so funny

Megan said...

I'm puzzled at why some of these items are banned. Model aircraft with engines and food items such as peanut butter? There must be funny stories behind these!

wgaw said...

unfortunatly no real funny stories about those two items. My understanding is that model aircraft are banned because you can attach cameras and then take films whilst they're in the air. peanut butter because of the crisis in america at the moment.

However, various MPs in the Bahrain parliament attmepted to ban female models in shop windows because boys were, 'getting their rocks off' looking at them. I should do a post on that one ...

Susie of Arabia said...

Great post - I had no idea about at least half of the items on your list - but I'm not surprised! One can only shake their head in disbelief... The Marx story is priceless.

Megan said...

Ah, that does make some sense. Do female models in store windows really excite the boys that much, even if they're properly covered? I'd like to see a post on that one, if you get time.

Web-OJ said...

I can understand why Barbie is banned.. ha! ha!

Here's how my ISP's block looks like
http://blocked.kems.net/

wgaw said...

Thanks for the link, and all the great comments. Will post the kuwait banned sign very soon.

wgaw said...

Will also do the posting on the female manequins sometime soon. Thanks for reading.

Safiyyah said...

That's too funny.

Alhamdulillah that I live in America - regardless of what anyone says, lol.

An author friend of mine from the UAE told me that authors cannot get their books published there unless the government approves.

I'll bet the Internet Police are REAL busy - too many websites, too little time, lol

wgaw said...

It's true, writers about the area have to have their book approved. And yes they are busy with banning sites. Last night I was looking for sites on employee morale and some of the sites were blocked because it sounds like 'moral' "What to do, Yanni?"

flymenian said...

What is next that is the question.

Mohammed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohammed said...

if you have noticed, none of these are banned in Qatar...

except for two that are haram by islam which its rules are part of the constitution....

and hey... abortion and women giving birth without being married are fought in all over the world (mostly abortion)...

so my pint is, qatar is a wonderful place to live in...

and by the way i'm not from qatar..

Shirley Dockerill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.