Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wolves in Mahmood's Den

Mahmood's Den is a Bahraini blog at the forefront of the Middle Eastern democracy movement. It's run by the eloquent, intelligent, and jolly Mahmood, whose interests include railing against high internet rates, exposing government corruption, and taking pictures of flowers.

But not all is well in Bahrain. Recently, the Bahraini government blocked Bahrainis from accessing the Den, as well as several other websites. Mahmood is crafty enough to mirror his site here, and could probably keep finding new mirrors until the Bahraini government changed.

Recently, Arab government haven't just tried to reduce hits on critical blogs. Last May, Alaa Abd El-Fatah, an Egyptian who co-writes dissident blog Manalaa was arrested in a non-violent demonstration. After 45 days in prison he was released, but his plight illustrates that the Bahraini government might go beyond 403 errors to silence Mahmood.

Show the Bahraini government you know that they're trying to curb democratic discussion in their country and sign this pro-Mahmood petition. For extra points, call the Bahraini embassy and complain to the ambassador. I did today and learned that embassy staff are experts at ignoring complaints. You might have better luck than I did: 202-342-1111.

This might seem only tangentially related to the Western Sahara, but I think it can set a precedent in Arab regimes for stopping electronic censorship. The Moroccan government blocks several pro-independence website, most notably my favorite (and I hope yours too), arso.org. Each instance of solidarity with other internet activists in the Middle East and North Africa makes it more difficult for tyrants to keep their citizens uninformed.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your support in this campaign Will. If this block demonstates anything then it demonstrates the abject fear that the Bahraini government is experiencing now, no not of me of course, but of the repurcussions of the heinous sectarian crimes committed by it as outlined in the Bandargate scandal.

    It will come to pass, I am sure. We're less than 30 days for the parliamentary elections, and people are starting to make serious noise which the government would be stupid to ignore.

    Thanks again, I much appreciate your support.

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