Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blogger in KSA Blocked Within the Kingdom

Sand Gets in My Eyes is one of my favorite reads among the blogs coming out of Saudi Arabia. It is written by an American woman with grown children who has lived in Saudi Arabia for several years with her American husband who works for Aramco. Her posts are always well written and thought provoking. She writes with passion about important topics regarding women's and children's issues and societal problems.

Her blog has been blocked from viewing within Saudi Arabia. This happened to my own blog about a year and a half ago. Websites that are blocked are usually blocked because they contain pornography or show too much skin, religious (especially when they are critical of Islam), or sites that are critical of the Saudi government or culture. Many people do not realize the stress that bloggers in the Middle East are under because there is no freedom of speech here like in the West. Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan was imprisoned in KSA in December of 2007 for criticizing the corruption in this country and advocating for change. No charges were ever brought against him, he had very limited contact with his family, and he was thankfully released four months later.

Above is the page that people within Saudi Arabia see when a website is blocked in the country. This situation can often be rectified by the government department which blocked it in the first place, likely the result of receiving a complaint and going ahead and blocking the blog without really looking into it. If enough people send in requests to unblock the website, then someone at the Saudi government internet office will physically go in and look at the site and hopefully come to the conclusion to unblock it.

Here is the link to the page where you can file an "Unblock Request." It's a very short and easy to fill out form. Please help FREE Sand Gets in My Eyes!


  1. Ohh I rad her blog too...I was actually wondering "How is she not blocked" because of some of the stuff she wrote about. Just have to be careful I guess. But some of those things have to get out there if change is going to happen ya know. I will do the unblock request.

  2. I am sorry SGIME was blocked. I don't ththink it is appropriate to use metaphors of imprisonment as an equivalent however. Unblock SGIME would be a more accurate injunction than free SGIME, as she is fortunately safely at home in Aramco.

    I was concerned when I saw the photo equating Saudis to rats on her recent post. She may not have intended it, bu the analogy and that to Nazi propaganda against Jews are unfortunately close.

    I hope she is unblocked soon.

  3. Thanks, UmmKhaled - I think the more people who file their request, the more likely they are to reinstate it.

    Hi Chiara - Thanks - I am referring to freeing her blog, not to her, so I think it's okay.

  4. Thanks Susie. Hopefully the situation will be over soon.

    Chiara - I think you are reading more into the image than need be - the post was a play on give a mouse a cookie...the image was of mice...not sure that's offensive, but hey - what do I know!

  5. SGIME--I'm sure your intentions were not so noxious, but that type of image is offensive and leads to the worst interpretations, subliminally if not consciously. I am glad you changed the image to a more appealing chocolate chip cookie.
    I hope you are unblocked soon.

  6. It's rather sad that we in the U.S. take our freedom of speech and expression for granted.

  7. I agree with Kay. We take our freedoms for granted in the USA.

    I used to think that as time went on there would be more and more freedom in the world. I fear that just the opposite is happening.

  8. Sent unblock request - also gave the reasons using Google's tool to translate from English to Arabic...