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18 July, 2005

Suffering in silence

The cyber-ink must dry on the quill for now, as the Great Proxy wields its heavy axe and severs Secret Dubai diary from UAE computers.

Will prison vans and manacles await at the airport?

Fellow bloggers and web diarists, all courage to you in these dark and difficult times.

Labels:

81 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please keep posting! Several other UAE-based blogs have noticed your absence, and I suspect they could be persuaded to relay your words.

Or you could switch to another blog - after all, it took them, what, three years to notice your presence?

Finally, you might want to think of your banning as a twisted form of flattery... :)

In all, though, thanks for the excellent work you've done here.

18 July, 2005 14:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can always import all your stuff to a separate blog on 'Aqoul :)

18 July, 2005 16:50  
Blogger muscati said...

Thank God no one in Omantel's internet department has the IQ to read a blog.

I don't understand what it is that Etisalat finds offensive in your blog.

18 July, 2005 17:41  
Anonymous California Anonymous said...

Very dark day indeed. I enjoyed your wonderful sense of humor and I am hoping you'll somehow find a way to continue to post.

Take heart from knowing that trailblazers ultimately win out by leaving a legacy that enriches us all.

As for the giant telecom company, the genie is out of the bottle and surely you must know silencing bloggers is fruitless. Ask communist china!

18 July, 2005 20:10  
Anonymous Pasha said...

This is unreal. Un-fucking-believeable. ON WHAT GROUNDS?!?!?!?!

Just when we were beginning to have interesting, thought provoking dialogue.

I swear to God, shit like this is what really pisses me off about the Emirates.

The worst part is, this kind of censorship by the blithering idiots at Etisalat is often CONTRARY to the wishes of the people in power i.e. ministers, who value the internet's potential for education and critical thinking.

So this is Pasha signing off, giving Etisalat the offical "FUCK YOU" for helping make the people of our beloved country that much dumber. Pricks.

p.s. Does anybody know of a good, consistent way of subverting the proxy?

18 July, 2005 22:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is excellent. Etisalat have done a huge disservice to their customers. Please contest this. I know I will.

18 July, 2005 22:19  
Blogger Desert Island Boy said...

My goodness, that's a little strange!

Stay safe, and Isha'allah we'll hear from you soon!

19 July, 2005 00:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to read your post five times before actually understanding that you were shut down! Nothing was registering. It's incomprehensible, completely!

Your diary is purely observational, and not the least bit subversive. You've done nothing wrong, nor said anything that could be remotely construed as corruptive or inflammatory.

I can't believe a silly recasting of "Modern Major General" - a very self-effacing song, both in the original and in your diary - did you in.

For shame, UAE.

Signed,
One of your daily readers

19 July, 2005 01:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why it is shut down? i still dont get it can someone explain the main reason for this?

19 July, 2005 12:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi.

I am not a regular reader but do drop by often.

Regarding this blocking thing, you need not worry. Emirates Internet are pretty cool & liberal that way; all you need to do is send them an E-mail (watch@eim.ae) or use their feedback form (www.eim.ae/feedback) to get them to unblock this site, since you have nothing to hide (except for PASHA'S comments about Etisalat) they'll unblock you.

I speak from experience; I am a final year Medical Student & have got Emirates Internet to unblock many medical/research sites this way specially those that were blocked in error based on a few keywords like "naked" "anal" or "breasts" etc...

Good Luck...

19 July, 2005 13:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you're a near-celebrity:
http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/NationNF.asp?ArticleID=173591

Congrats ;-]

19 July, 2005 13:49  
Anonymous Sharjah Slasher said...

Are you suffering in silence?

Use JAP Anonimity and Privacy software

It's a bit slow on dial-up but in DSL is good enough. You can open again Friendster, which Etisalat suprisingly blocked.

Nice Blog! Loved the rants..

19 July, 2005 14:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secret Dubai:

Sad to hear that you're signing off. I always consider your point as the other side of the coin - not the coin. Authorities have their reasons for doing things.

I do owe you a lot for keeping my mind occupied during my maternity leave. I remember one night that I stayed up late poring through your archive.

One suggestion: Publish a book and use metaphors. Book title? Secret Dubai, of course!

19 July, 2005 14:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out how ameinfo reports the gagging of secret dubai diary.

"Across the Gulf blogs are increasingly a source of uncensored, controversial and frequently highly inaccurate information."

19 July, 2005 15:21  
Anonymous snow white said...

just heard, and i'm in cyprus! NIGHTMARE ...... But next stop Oprah!

19 July, 2005 21:37  
Blogger waterboy said...

Bear in mind, also, that they've only blocked this address.

Setting up your own site with a moveable type or blogger blog-interface would only cost a couple of quid a month...

Seriously, though - keep writing. You're damned good.

20 July, 2005 03:04  
Blogger Committee to Protect Bloggers said...

Sorry to hear it. CPB. http://committeetoprotectbloggers.civiblog.org/blog/_archives/2005/7/19/1051732.html

20 July, 2005 03:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep posting. Lots of us can still read you...

20 July, 2005 04:01  
Anonymous California Anonymous said...

See how popular you are? autograph please!

Two questions:

1. How much has the traffic to your site increased since GN piece?

2. Who tipped off GN about this? I don't believe mainstream media has a clue about the pulse of the public and that includes US media, therefore someone must have tipped them off. Anyhow, I hope you'll continue to post.

20 July, 2005 04:34  
Blogger portuguesa nova said...

Nooooo!!!!

I love this blog and it has done more (for me and mine at least) to learn about the cynical, wonderful, real, normal-human-being side of your country than it portrays on its own, and certainly more than my scary own colonialist country does.

If you're not going to be back, please let me wish you, whomever you are, the best of luck in all that you do.

Let me add, also, that one of my husband's best friends, a Portuguese radiologist is planning to work in the UAE next year and thanks to your blog (and even though I am a female), I want nothing more than for us to visit him while he's there.

You have portrayed a fascinating and fantastic country, and I can't wait to see it.

20 July, 2005 08:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Bahrain and read about this blog in Gulf News and had to find out why on earth was it banned... and my oh my I enjoyed what I saw and found your observations hilarious... ofcourse bahrain and emirates are different but there are some similarities here and there... you can always move to another blog and keep it going... we, in the Gulf, need such un-official look at life in the Gulf. :-))

20 July, 2005 11:44  
Blogger Blue Chi said...

I just came to suggest solutions, first of all, you can easily rename your blog from the blogger settings, there is no need to start anew or do anything serious like moving to another blog. Just change the name and move on.

The second solution is for your readers, you can access the content of the website through some RSS reading service website such as newsgator.com . The RSS feed for this website should be this
http://secretdubai.blogspot.com/atom.xml

So if you go and register for the web version of http://www.newsgator.com you simply can click on this link

http://www.newsgator.com/ngs/subscriber/subext.aspx?url=http://secretdubai.blogspot.com/atom.xml

to read the whole blog from there. I don't think that people would be able to read the comments or write comments though. (Not that they would be able to see this post I guess either! :P)

20 July, 2005 21:24  
Blogger Desert Island Boy said...

Chin Up, from the looks of it, there's work afoot to correct the problem!

21 July, 2005 00:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we love your blog and we can still read you! please keep on. greetings from switzerland

21 July, 2005 02:00  
Anonymous Son of the Desert said...

I'm sorry to hear about your trouble, Secret Diary.

I agree with the first poster -- you will have to consider this a "twisted form of flattery," until things settle down again.

-SOTD

21 July, 2005 07:37  
Blogger Rosemary said...

We stand with you all over the world. I understand that isn't much comfort when we are not right there by your side, but know that we are here and care. May His Peace be upon you.

21 July, 2005 08:14  
Blogger Rosemary said...

Dear Pasha,
I know of a way to bypass the proxy. You can e-mail your posts. You can also join a group outside of the UAE. I, for one, have a group called Love America First. It is a group blog for members.

It is not about only loving America, but it's about loving the foundations on which we were built. Free speech, freedom to associate with who we want, freedom to petition the government, freedom of religion--hands of you stinking government!

We write about many things. Right now, I am very worried about Akbar Ganji. He is unconscious in an Iranian prison because he spoke. That was his crime.

Bastards. They are killing him. If you can find anything out to help, I would sure appreciate it. Thank you.

21 July, 2005 08:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can still read you in from DIC and DMC of course...

21 July, 2005 09:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let’s show the world what the blogging community can do when it unites.....
"You cannot ban a thought. You can only decive yourself and provoke people with this prehistoric methods."
It’s up to us, no one else. Let’s take responsibility for our own and show the world bloggers are a force.

21 July, 2005 10:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i absolutely love reading your blogs.. you've put words to the thoughts of many, many people (local and expats, alike) living in this region.. sadly not all of us can express our inhibitions publicy, as it is deemed 'haraam'

21 July, 2005 15:58  
Anonymous Son of the Desert said...

I'm trying to get friends with blogs to post about Secret Diary's unfortunate situation.

Here's one example (look under July 20th:

http://alina_stefanescu.typepad.com/

21 July, 2005 17:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pleeeeease.... keep on writing.

21 July, 2005 17:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please don't stop blogging. this is great material - send this link to a UK newspaper!

21 July, 2005 19:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wot are the men in white so scared of?? there is nothing wrong with this material, its merely observations which soo many people observe, can read along and laugh knowing they are not the only ones with these thoughts.

21 July, 2005 19:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am absolutely crushed to hear you're stopping, though not at all surprised that Etisalat is blocking you. For all their PR, they are still stuck with a mindset from the middle ages. Uncensored media haven, my ass!

I read every post here in Kuwait, where we have the same idiotic proxies. But you can use 2 free web proxies to access your site:
http://www.fireprox.com
http://www.sneakysurf.com
and for $3 a month, you can use
http://www.shadowbrowser.com

Please keep posting; you have brought a higher standard of writing to Gulf media. As for Etisalat and Dubai: if you really want to be considered an international city of the 21st century, punishing people and censoring their opinions will undo all your great PR. What's the use in having lavish buildings without the culture and intelligence of people like this writer?

Fight the Man!

21 July, 2005 20:15  
Blogger Hence the Blogger said...

This is like buying wine and booze in Dubai, got to drive to ajman to get anything, same here bypass the bloody proxy!

21 July, 2005 21:10  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

You can´t stop. You know you can´t. The irony is that when Etisalat blocks your site, it only deprives their customers of the pleasure of reading your blog. Anyone in the rest of the world can access it perfectly legally, and that includes anyone in Dubai Internet and Media Cities, any Nakheel or Emaar property, any company or university leased line.

Unless you actually have had a visit from the Chaps In White, I can´t see that you have any reason to knock it on the head.

I´m sure your blocking was due to one of the vitriolic commenters on your ´fabric of society´ article.

21 July, 2005 22:15  
Blogger QArab said...

This is terrible, please don't let them intimidate you...

There is worldwidwe community here to support you.

21 July, 2005 23:13  
Blogger Vikram said...

Choosing to stop writing will only make them succeed in their mission.

I suggest starting up a Mailing List and post simultaneously to the list and your this blog (which is still accessible by a lot of us at EMAAR and Knowledge Village and Dubai Internet City).

The mailing list will enable everyone to have access to your material by email (which they surely cannot block).

Ps. i can assist in setting up the same.

Keep up the good bloggin !

- Vikram

22 July, 2005 01:11  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I will be blogging again, but once I'm safely back in the country. Everyone's support has been overwhelming and I am really, really touched. My plight however is pretty minor compared to the many writers imprisoned and threatened across the world.

In answer to a couple of questions:

1. How much has the traffic to your site increased since GN piece?
Heaps. You can see my stats here: Sitemeter. The average used to be about 100-120 per day. Also, a lot of the search referrals have changed: people are googling "secret dubai" - previously most referrals came from people googling "massage parlours dubai" and "ladies dubai". (It's a sad world!)

2. Who tipped off GN about this?
I have no idea, but there are some journalists among readers, so perhaps someone just noticed.

22 July, 2005 04:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know this is outrageous. But all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Speak up! Let Etisalat know that the world cares what happens! Paste this link in and send a comment directly to Etisalat.

http://www.etisalat.ae/html/contact/contact_legal.htm

You can also try e-mailing at
101@contactcentre.ae

Please take just a moment to contact Etisalat with your opinon. Over 1000 people have visited this blog in the past three days. If we'd all contacted Etisalat to complain, this problem would already be fixed!

22 July, 2005 12:20  
Anonymous nzm said...

Sorry to hear this, Secret Dubai - may you be back soon.

It seems that there are those among us who are content to wallow in their self-inflicted jahiliyyah, and misconstrue everything that is said.

It's a sad day for a country that claims to be progressive, and whose leaders push for freedom of speech.

regards.

22 July, 2005 15:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're unblocked!

22 July, 2005 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, she's not unblocked. Why do you say that?

22 July, 2005 20:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered your site after reading about its closure. And it's been a revelation! I urge to keep writing because you have touched many people out there.

Munz

22 July, 2005 23:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why the blog was blocked. Could somebody please explain?

24 July, 2005 11:31  
Anonymous nzm said...

because some pathetically small-minded person(s) chose to take offence with their own ignorant misinterpretation of someone else's experiences, and report this Blogsite to Etisalat so that it could be blocked.

24 July, 2005 14:01  
Anonymous nzm said...

btw, SD - what happened to poor Maurice?! :-)

24 July, 2005 14:04  
Blogger Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) said...

With Luv From Bahrain,

SecretDubai you've been doing a great job and your blog has made it on national, regional and international news. Keep going with your great blog posts & your readers can access your blog anonymously via this url

Or you could also use TOR (developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation).

Good luck with everything & Keep It Blogged!

Cheers,
strav.

24 July, 2005 15:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Istara's in trouble with the UAE authorities because she posted this on her blog.

I am the very model of a Emirati criminal.
I thumb my nose at social cues, both blatant and subliminal.

My fondness for a drink or two is rather undisputable.
And leads me into acting in a manner quite unsuitable

I scatter hugs and kisses upon anyone deserving them
I care not for the country's norms, far less about preserving them
In taxis and on pavements I behave with impropriety
And often violate the very fabric of society

And often violate the very fabric of society
And often violate the very fabric of society
And often violate the very fabric of society

This is, of course, to be sung to the tune of "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General" by Gilbert & Sullivan.

Under pressure, she changed "Emirati" to "Dubai Expat" to defuse the situation but I guess the government was not appeased.

Isn't this just the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard?

25 July, 2005 04:04  
Blogger Dave Banana said...

Welcome back SD.

We've missed you.

The banana.

25 July, 2005 14:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am delighted to have found this site.. couldn't of have found it without the publicity (any publicity is good publicity, eh?).

I used to blog (and still do) periodically.. I always thought that I would be banned at some point. Then I realized no one visits my blog anyway ;)

Could we put together a dubai bloggers planet? I think it would raise awareness. Dubai is a place that has so much to be said about -- it's that exciting, I think.

Anyhow, keep up the good work.

25 July, 2005 23:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations ... Secret dubai diary .. back in business

yours,
Mysterious Man

26 July, 2005 07:46  
Anonymous JR said...

You're back!! When I sent a complaint to etisalat about the blocking of your blog, they sent me a reply to say that it had been blocked because of nudity. So please keep nudity out of all your postings from now on!!
Good Luck...

26 July, 2005 07:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might thought of changing the handle of this blog.

This blog is secret no more, it's very famous now actually.

Kodus!!!

26 July, 2005 09:58  
Anonymous nzm said...

Hi Mohammed (one of the anonymous!)

great blog - perhaps you could ask Secret Dubai and the other Dubai bloggers to put a link to your site, and you could do the same for them?

regards

26 July, 2005 10:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not in UAE but Gulf News says the block has been lifted.

http://www.gulfnews.com/Articles/NationNF.asp?ArticleID=174550

Can anyone in Dubai confirm this?

If so, all honour to whoever it was in the Ministry of Information who straightened this mess out. He has done Dubai a great service!

26 July, 2005 10:15  
Anonymous TwinTopaz said...

Hi there,

Blocking the site by Etisalat has back fired..now lot of people are aware of this site.. thank you etisalat..

and secret dubai..you too now have much more responsiblity... to improve the contents and the value of this site..

i am sure u will not disaapoint us!

26 July, 2005 10:17  
Anonymous California Anonymous said...

I am so elated to hear that you are back and will continue to post upon your safe return to Dubai. And thank you for indulging me and answering my questions.

Small thanks to Etisalat for correcting their mistake which, in this case, should have never happened. I look forward for future postings.

Huge fan

26 July, 2005 11:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back SD!

Too bad though that the 'maglite's' on this blog... its awesome that others will get to read your blog in its entirety... hopefully, blogging will catch on - then dubai will be secret no more!

Big UP!

Pablo

26 July, 2005 11:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's everyones opinion on the recent citi-zen$hip talk? One day (yesterday) its a headline in everyone's fave KT, the next - the respective authorities pretend it was never said. My question to them is "If you arent sure... why open the gab??"

Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous? Why isnt the press asking the authority for an explanation? Perhaps its our good ol' KT to blame. Who knows?

The 'keeping the car running fine' thing is another story altogether!

Welcome back SDubai!

26 July, 2005 12:33  
Blogger Amrit(raj) said...

welcome back !!!
dip that quill back into the cyber ink ... lots more left to be written !! :)

26 July, 2005 14:33  
Anonymous arabianprincess said...

hey.. i am totally new to the blogging community and ur site s the first one i ve been on.. In a way the negative publicity has been a sort of blessing in disguise.. I would have never felt the need to check out this site had it not been for all the fuss surrounding it.. and now that i ve checked it out and seen all those postings.. think i am gonna stick around for a while.. all the best and keep them coming..

26 July, 2005 15:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back on the "air" again after so much brouhaha but you haven't even touched the surface with your blog.

26 July, 2005 15:11  
Anonymous ali said...

great to have you back :)

26 July, 2005 15:13  
Blogger nick said...

Great to have you back on the net...yours is a blog definately worth revisiting!

Nicky

26 July, 2005 15:44  
Anonymous Sarmad said...

Well just to add to all the brew haha .. I must say a blessing in disguise for you SD .. I've always been looking for a way to voice what I believe many want to say .. Got here a few months back and WOW .. Love it hate but mostly Can't live without it DUBAI ..
Hope to hear from you soon .. Oh and THANK YOU GULF NEWS

26 July, 2005 15:50  
Blogger No Secrets said...

hay SD there just wanted to write to you and say Thank you .. and Gulf News for the making this possible ..
I have a place to hear and reply to whatever .. We deem important to say ..
By the way dedicate my blog to you hence I have called in NoSecretDubai
Hope you Don't mind

26 July, 2005 16:11  
Blogger BaptizedLucifer said...

look at the bright side of it all. ur blog is a household name now! :) writers and artists never had it easy in any society during any era. :) i had a sibling arrested over baseless grounds by etisalat once. those were the days when the internet had just hit the UAE. It was such a scary experience, having a sibling in jail. And now, its my families safety that usually stops me from saying and doing a lot of stuff i would never hesitate to do if the flak would soley be taken by me. and life goes on.

it is indeed however, an awesome feel to know that we have so many head strong bloggers in the UAE. Considering that we are a small country, the very few prominent bloggers that we have, make up for it all. quality after all.

Just remm most of the Info Ministry rules are made on the fly, they dont actually exist on paper. We have ur back, coz we dont want our country going to hell.

26 July, 2005 16:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no wonder why the UAE has blocked this side. Even if the UAE government is saying that free speach and free press is a basic right in the UAE we all do know that this is just written on the paper and nothing else. I wrote a book about the sytem in the UAE and its banned too. And I am very glad about it. It´s a OPEN Secret in the UAE. I know that from many emails and calls I am recieving from the UAE. When a government like the UAE is going this way there will be no futur in a longer term for them.

26 July, 2005 16:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great to have u back...

i have started my own blog just cause of you... hope u dont mind... it will never be as good as yours but its a start....
I am including the link... please add this on to your list of dubai blog links.

http://grainofsandormoundofsnow.blogspot.com/

once again great to have u back

26 July, 2005 20:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ishtara!!

U go girl!! Rocked the 'agals' off Etisalat!! I guess you have a big enough fan-base, even among local influentials, to get the retards who imposed this ban to back off. But it must be remembered that the price of this freedom is eternal vigilance, to re-phrase a cliche. We cannot allow this ultra-modern Arab country to revert to the stereotypical close-minded, paranoid and control-freak type of Arab states littering the Arab world. I salute you.

PS I guess now you'll need a new location to post more acute observations ;)

26 July, 2005 23:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Shaikh Abdullah has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit.
He lifted Istara's ban!
He lifted Istara's ban!

Bravo, UAE!

27 July, 2005 06:19  
Anonymous Balushi said...

I feel like singing:

Who Let's the Dogs Out? Woo! woo! woo!

nah well. You people need to find girlfriends.

27 July, 2005 14:20  
Blogger Abdul said...

The Internet Cops? Who the fuck? Get a Life u Pricks! Hats off to wat i call "healthy Criticism".If they got a problem with that, then better the system n the works.

Sometimes u gotta do wat u gotta do!

27 July, 2005 16:36  
Blogger thecoolestblog said...

Cool blog and cool message

27 July, 2005 21:43  
Blogger Saudi_Friar_Mo said...

Good God! in this day and age,when will we stop taking this bull? I mean when will realize being bribed by a plush lifestyle and keeping a "status quo" is not an alternative to basic human rights like freedom of thought and expression.... I work for the Amnesty International section in dublin, one thing I'll definately do is bring attention to your case. If I could paraphrase voltaire-"I might disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

27 July, 2005 22:12  
Blogger iamnasra said...

Though its sad...but it seems so poetic

27 July, 2005 23:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ishtara,
gosh you`re unbeleivable ,still making fun of the locals on your other site .... men in black (men in white ) ,even shk. mohammed called for the preservation of the sanctity of the abaya by not to allow its abuse by foreign women who use it in clubs ,on pavements smoking shisha ,etc. & the white dress ,are you living here ! and you want to come back safely to their country ,maybe they should pay you a visit after all.It is tasteless, why this anymosity ,a little respect for the country where you make your money till your contract or stay here as a guest is over and naturally you would be looking forward for the day you go home ,home sweet home .

28 July, 2005 18:54  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Anonymous@18:54 - if I could understand a single word of what you're trying to say, I might be able to respond. I literally have no clue what you're talking about in terms of foreign women wearing the abaya in clubs - that's not something I've ever seen.

29 July, 2005 07:22  
Blogger SAfrican said...

Welcome back ...

29 July, 2005 12:43  

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