Community Queer is now magically unblocked! Perhaps 'someone wearing a tie' got involved... And as Abdullah pointed out, Community Queer got a lot of free advertising and now undoubtably more popular than ever. So try to take advantage of the opportunity Scudder and Finns.
Photo: Unaccountable employees of a private company decide what you can see on the internet in Oman. And if they want to block harmless blogs by local Omanis, they can.
Well, how spookily coincidental, following a mini-post on Freedom of Expression in Oman. The arbitrary and almost absolute powers over our internet access, wielded by the faceless technocrats at a publicly traded company - Omantel - have decided to block a promising local blog called Community Queer.
Shame on you Omantel. Shame on you TRA.
Community Queer is authored by 2 Omani homosexuals (OK, one is bi-sexual). This in itself was unique and encouraging. The blog was totally innocuous.
Here's their header and info.
COMMUNITY QUEER IS COMPOSED OF TWO MEMBERS OF THE ARAB YOUTH WITH HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES. HAVING FOUND EACH OTHER IN THIS CLOSETED REGION OF THE WORLD, WE'VE DECIDED TO MAINTAIN THIS BLOG AS OUR LETTER TO THE WORLD, TO THE LOST YOUTH. IT IS A DECLARATION OF OUR EXISTENCE AND AN APPEAL FOR TOLERANCE, ACCEPTANCE, AND OPEN DISCUSSION. IT IS A MESSAGE TO YOUNG PEOPLE EVERYWHERE THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE. OK, PRETENTIOUSNESS OVER. UM... BOOBS.
The members of Community Queer will hereby be known as Scudder and Finn. Scudder is a famously closeted and sexually inclined female of the lesbian variety. She likes boys too, when they look like girls (I guess she's bisexual, but whatever, right?). She enjoys classical music, quality books, and the colors purple, yellow, and green! Finn is the male half of the Queer duo. He likes boys. A lot. He likes girls too, but only if their clothes are on. Along with boys, Finn enjoys music, books, and throwing dirt at people.
So, who is it that decides these things on our behalf? Who are these people who decide, without review, without published guidelines, to impose arbitrary censorship on the entire country? George Orwell would be proud. This is fascism folks.
I wouldn't care so much if it was just for Omantel customers. But these people have monopoly control over access to the entire internet for the entire country, no matter what service provider.
So, people. Send Omantel an email asking them to unblock their site. (just try to follow the link on the blogroll on the right and you'll be offered an opportunity to send a message to the censors).
You can also refer to an old post here on the expert solutions to circumventing such low tech internet filters. You can even use Google as your proxy. I'll up date the blogroll link to do that for you automatically soon.
UPDATE: Done. See the last link or click here to tunnel around the basic Omantel censor if you are in Oman. Isn't Google so neat?
I also trust this will be perhaps picked up by the international media. Who knows what stories they'll decide to tag the story with, in a search for ironic local context?
Well done faceless idiot in Omantel!!! [just a hint, Omantel filter manager troll, you've probably got about, oh, maybe 1 day before you might find yourself really really regretting such a stupid thing as blocking this site and bringing the world's attention to this article). Think about it, you dimwit.... got it? Maybe ask someone wearing a tie.
It's not like the block is even effective against an average 9 year old.