Saturday, March 28, 2009

X-Treme Censorship

The other night I went to a music shop to purchase a few CDs for my son, Adam, AKA Captain Kabob, who just loves music. He comes by his love for music honestly. I have always loved to sing and I like all kinds of music. Listening to music brings me much joy. My hubby used to love music too. He used to love music back when I first met him, back when he says he was "stupid." Stupid for doing sinful things back when he was young and in college, like, among other things, loving music. In fact, he had quite an impressive record collection and could name a lot more of the artists than I could. But as Hubby grew older and "wiser" and got back in touch with his religious side, he realized how "stupid" he had been. So now he thinks that music is a worthless waste of time, and he tries to discourage Capt. Kabob from loving music so much. But the more Hubby puts down music, the more adamant Capt. Kabob is about loving it.

But this post isn't about the confusing issue of how some Muslims believe that music is haram (forbidden) and how other Muslims believe otherwise. This post deals with the censorship that is imposed on all residents of Saudi Arabia.

One of the CDs I got for Capt. Kabob is called "One of the Boys," by a female artist named Katy Perry. Ok, I have to admit here that 16 year old Capt. Kabob thinks Katy Perry is pretty hot, but he really likes her music too. When he opened up the CD, we were both astonished however. I hadn't noticed when I bought it, but the tightly sealed plastic wrap packaging had been removed and had been replaced with a clear plastic resealable envelope-type wrapper. The front cover of the little booklet tucked inside serves as the front of the CD cover. This little booklet insert has photos of the artist, a list of the songs and lyrics, as well as the artistic credits.

This is what the real cover of the CD should have looked like:

And here's what the actual CD cover that I purchased looks like:

Here's what a photo on the INSIDE of the CD booklet should have looked like:

And this is what that same photo actually looks like on the CD I bought:

The back cover had also been doctored as well. Here's what it should have looked like:

And here's what the back cover of the CD I purchased really looks like:

Now those of you who have purchased CDs know how much trouble it is to take that plastic wrap off. And then to remove the front insert and especially removing the back insert from the CD case without breaking the plastic case can be tricky. So what it all boils down to is that the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CVPVP) to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts, and carefully and painstakingly color in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable. Hence, while the general public is protected from such vulgarity, the CVPVP members get to view photos with women's flesh abounding and then get to stroke on colored markers over the exposed women's skin. I wonder what they are thinking or how they feel as they stroke those markers onto the smooth female flesh in the photos. I wonder if it makes them feel good that they are shielding young teenage boys from such crude displays of the nubile female form.

But I also wonder if they are sometimes overcome with desire and cannot control their feelings or actions when they see such immoral things like this day in and day out. After all, they are only men and only human. Certainly seeing all that tempting erotic skin, and coloring in all those feminine body parts must have some kind of perverse effect on these men who have been entrusted with keeping the entire country out of harm's way. These poor men are charged with the monumental task of seeking out sexual connotations in every aspect of life here and turning innocence into filth. It's a dirty disgusting job but somebody has to do it. What supreme sacrifices these noble men make for the sake of their fellow Saudi man!

For further details about the extreme role that this controversial government agency takes in "protecting" the good citizens of Saudi Arabia, read my previous post about the CPVPV. You can read even more by clicking over to an in-depth blog post on the same topic by my fellow blogger Sand Gets in my Eyes, and a very recent accounting of a disturbing incident in Riyadh about how the CPVPV overstep their bounds by another fellow blogger, Saudi Woman.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Sfoofie -
    I don't think I'll EVER get used to it either...

  3. I love music and rejoice in it. I am thankful that I have ears to listen and feet to dance. Do not enjoy music is to not enjoy life and that is the biggest sin.

  4. That is hilarious! That someone's job is to do that.

  5. Susie, one more thing I find strange, interesting and hilarious. Let those guys come to Okinawa. There are not enough markers in the world to cover up these girls.
    They roll their school skirts up sooo high.

  6. Ha, ha! That really made me laugh to see the doctored photos. :-)

  7. My husband and I were both entertained with the methods of censorship, and although I prefer the doctored version (there's just way too much immodesty in the world these days), the censorship seems a little extreme.

  8. I remember seeing a documentary on this - hundreds of guys with massive beards and short thobes sitting in this sort of factory, colouring in women's skin!
    That reminds me - my partner's fav perfume is this: He can't actually get it like that in KSA though, because apparently the bottles are too risqué.
    I guess it's needless to say that the female version is also changed considerably.

  9. Hi Susie!

    Sorry its been a long time....

    The way I see it is that people in Gulf region can't get enough of Western stuff, and western stuff can't deliver enough modest products. Barbie in abaya and hijab has to be my absolute fave! I am not for extreme censorship or forcing people to behave certain way. I live in US, the land of the free, but sometimes I feel like its too free... But then its not just US issue, its the whole world's issue. Women's body and sexuality are used to the extreme just to sell products to the consumer. Would Britney Spears ever become a "super-star" if she didn't wear skimpy outfits and dance around seductively? I don't think so... Allure needs Cindy Crawford to pose naked smothered in shaving cream so Allure can sell their magazine and Cindy Crawford sell her brand and her furniture. I feel that women are not getting the respect they deserve. I wish great magazines would come with less ads and articles featuring exposed women's flesh just to sell something to someone. Women became a marketing tool. Sexuality became a tool to make lots of money to someone. Many times its not even about the product but the advertisement and who's promoting the product.

    Now, I have listened to few of Katy Perry's songs. She has decent singing ability. But she would not reach such pinnacle without provocative songs and some seductive poses.

    Just my 2 cents here :)

  10. So much work would go into it that I am surprised they just don't ban the artists CD's coming into the country. Is it Western music that they consider bad? because I love arabic music and assumed that would be okay to listen to over there, am I correct?
    I think we, in the USA, have gone way overboard with the attempt to sell using seductive poses or sexuality and wish, without cencorship, they'd knock it off but sadly it is a selling point here. Always enjoy your blog.

    1. i just read the post and i am a Muslim women and i do enjoy listening to music once in a while but it has nothing to do with the music it has to do with her skin exposed to much even though we r humans and all such it just has to do with her exposing to much not to be rude or anything just saying:/

    2. oh and i dont live in suadia Arabia but in middle east

  11. Ellen557's comment reminded me of the monks who were copyists before the printing press. I guess this is another form of "religious mission" (that will hopefully pass). :)

  12. Hola Susie,

    Have you not been on a Saudi Airlines flight? they do that to movies also... a little blur on cleavage and some more on exposed legs.

  13. It definately seems extreme. Those "poor" men who have this "important" job must have to be cleansed more regularly than most. How do they paint out "undesireable" lyrics?
    Seems like it would be easier to put the CDs inside brown wrappers. I assume people can get online to see the images anyway. Wow, what an unusual culture. How do you do it?

  14. Seems a bit extreme to me but 'when in Rome' I suppose..

  15. I always find it extremely sucky that men will sit there for hours coloring in womens exposed skin in some perverse desire to protect the horny masses from sexual desire...but then consider it ok to marry off little girls to old THATS sexually acceptable but viewing some leg isnt...hypocrites thy name is Saudi...sigh

  16. Thanks for putting these pictures out there. Folks are always incredulous when I say what goes on here! lol

    I have to admit, this is a topic that has, more often than not, been the object of my sarcasm. Like you, I delight in picturing the censoring room...seriously?

    Here's an old posta about it.

  17. AA- Susie,

    If they're going through all the trouble to color in the skin, why not simply ban the sale of it? I guess they're fearful that it will create some sort of black market. As if such a market doesn't already exist for other, more worse stuff...

    I notice this type of 'artwork' in the hypermarkets as well with the swimming products and paraphernalia. Very entertaining! :-)

    Also, I was thinking maybe they have women do the blacking out of the skin...

  18. Haha! I love it :D

    But thank the Lord that Katy isn't made to wear niqaab... or that you played her CD and there were lyrics but no music because music is haraam! No seriously, I saw a CD that said there were devotional songs in there but 'bedoon mousiqui' (without music)!

    1. muisc is not haram but if it has some sexullay words then yes:/ im a muslim btw

  19. I don't think the guys from the RP are assigned to do this but rather somone from the Ministry of Information, you also see this kind of black out on many women magazine....

    It's really no big deal, we are used to it, the point is the record is sold, don't really care about the cover...

  20. Out of shock (somewhat) I showed/read this to my husband and after awhile he stopped and looked at me and made a comment about being surprised the cd is allowed there at all. I asked why and he mentioned one of the songs that I have heard on the radio... and I have to agree. Wow. A cd allowed there that is not allowed in my house. (or at least not around my children) LOL

    But the "airbrushing" is... interesting. Honestly I laughed. Its awful, but I did. You'd think they'd have better things to do.

    1. what that was confusing?? can u explain

  21. Now I know why they're always out of black sharpies at the local Wally world.......Too funny!

  22. Great post, Susie. I think your husband's move towards being more religious is not so uncommon in the Muslim world. What I do wonder, however, is if he regards his foolishness with you (you know, back when he liked stupid things like music), as a part of his not-so-religious youth?

    Before I married my ex, I told, "I do not want to be traded in for a more Muslim model should the day come when you are more religious. You get what you see." Funny. He thought that it was only natural that a more religious future would come to us all.

    Anyone who's every listening to Debussy, Mozart, Shubert, Bach would know that only God could create something so beautiful.

  23. :) i have wondered the exact same thing about the me here who actually get to watch all the movies and remove the dirty clips and black out "obscene" things from books and magazines.

    I think God created all talent and art forms and there is nothing wrong with them as long as we don't turn them into something vulgar. I like to paint, and I really only enjoy paiting things with people in them. I get great satisfaction out of painting people, their faces, their hair, the folds of their clothing. I am told it is wrong but I don't feel that it is. Same with music. I think so music is so beautiful and joyous it is definitely a God given gift.

    And the Bible refers to King David praising God through music and dancing.

  24. What a hoot! When I looked at all the pics I thought they must reprint the covers and reissue them that way. You don;t really, truly mean they COLOUR THEM IN BY HAND, do you. Still I guess they keep both hands busy while colouring with one.

    Thos old Wahabis are an insane lot. Bet there's more than afew rocks being tossed down at the Ministry. And i don;t mean thru windows.

    I nhope you continue your blog when you and Adam have managed to escape this insane asylum and tell us even more of the nitty-gritty!

  25. I love this article. Thank you again. Next you'll have to show us women's magazines such as VOGUE. I read that the pictures are hand colored to remove obscene material. It is cheaper to have hand color rather than issue a limited edition for the parts of the world which take offence. Ilse.

  26. Hi,

    They started this style of censorship in the mid 90's. Prior to that, they'd just black it out. At least they're being artistic.

    Although to be honest, I think if their goal was to remove immodesty, blacking it out is more effective.

  27. I didn't read any other comments and I am new here but I had to LAUGH!!!!

    Oh dear me!!! I found this so funny.

    Has Saudi EVER heard that there is no compulsion in Islam? Has saudi ever even read the Holy Quran?

    funny stuff that

  28. oh, on another note.....the pics are bad but has anyone heard the music? They want to be all religious, sell music but blot out the pics? Its like selling alcohol but in different bottles.

    So its ok to listen to, "I kissed a girl and I liked it" but not see pics of a gorgeous girl (im jealous; and I actually like that song!)?

    Warped saudi. Very warped.

  29. Hi Everybody - I'm a little behind on addressing your comments, so Thank You for taking the time to leave your thoughts!

    To Skylace - I hate to say this, but many Muslims here give me the impression that haveing a good time is forbidden!

    To Ellen557 - My MIL actually has both the male and female on display in her bathroom. I don't know if they were purchased here or outside of the country though.

    To Sonia - I have to agree with you. In my opinion, to go overboard the other way and not drawing a clear line at what is decent or not has created many social problems for the US.

    To Kris Loves Choc - Some people are so strict here that even Arabic music is thought to be bad.

  30. Hi Whatabastor - Yes, my very first trip over I saw all the blurred female flesh and was amused, but the extremes I've seen it carried to now make me annoyed.

    Hi Gaelyn - The lyrics were left alone in this case. I have seen entire pages torn out of books and magazines though.

    Hi SandyGetsInMyEyes - Thanks for providing your link - great post!

    Hi Naeem - As far as I understand, men only are the ones who do the blacking out.

    Hi AD/UAE DP - I like to think that ending up with me is not something he considers as stupid!

    Hi Desert Monsoon - Just because something gives us pleasure, I don't think it should automatically be labeled as wrong.

    Hi Sally - YES, they color them in by hand, page by page.

    Hi MyHijab - Great points!

  31. Wow!

    I've heard that there was a department in Saudi Arabia that would use sharpie over hemlines and anything else deemed 'inappropriate', but I always thought that was a bit of an exaggeration! I would have to agree it seems to make more sense to get the distributors of material like this to simply make a Saudi Arabia version. Hey if they can have Canadian versions of magazines, CDs, and whatnot, they can have Saudi versions, right? I guess censoring stuff this way gives people a job; it's the only reason why I would think they would handle this in such an odd way..

  32. Astonishing, definitely, but your telling of it is so funny that it's almost worth it. (Well, not really, but it IS funny how you tell it.)

  33. Susie,

    I can't even imagine living somewhere that doesn't embrace music. You are amazing to me!! I like the song you chose for this post!

  34. assalamualaikum, first reading it, was real funny. pity the religious police who did that. but are you sure they are the ones who did that. i think the efforts put in to cover those nude pics are good but if saudi arabia banned these kind of music, why do they just bann the whole cds form coming to ksa? it is much easier that way. but just wanna say that Islam is the way of life adn theres nothing wrong to listen to entertainments as long as it does not go beyond the islamic law. but personally, i enjoy nasyeeds. how bout you?

  35. Hey susie! I'm curious about something. Did this new religious side of your husband start in the US or in Saudi Arabia. I'm curious because, I can't help but think about how being newly religious again in the US helped to push the move back to his "better" homeland.

    If that's not the case, I understand how one can become more religous upon going back to KSA.

  36. This kind of censorship is just silly. How does your hubby feel about religious music then? Is that ok? Where is the line drawn.

  37. Well, at least they're not censoring the actual music, right? At the same time, who's to say where they'll be drawing the line (quite literally in the Katy Perry case) next time.

    Also, check out this blog for another Saudi woman's views on the CPVPV.

  38. It's a shame that censorship like this has to exist - surely it just makes people more curious?

    When I lived in China, they censored the kiss in The Sound of Music... I kid you not!

  39. Wait. Wait.

    They blacked out her mid-drift, but the lyrics:

    "I got so brave, drink in hand... I kissed a girl and I liked it, The taste of her cherry chapstick"

    is TOTALLY acceptable?

  40. Extreme censorship?

    Have you heard Alanis Morisette's song Hand in My Pocket? Everytime it's played on 91.4 (Saudi Aramco radio station) you will not hear the word 'shit' from the line "I'm sad but I'm laughing; I'm brave but I'm chicken ----". Funny.

  41. what I'm thinking is if they are going to censor with a little marker, as if porn isn't free to air on sattelites anyway.. maybe they should make it a womans job? Considering all the women wanting to work and it is immoral for men to see than women should do it.

  42. Hi Mel - I know that things like this sound like an exaggeration, but they are not. Making a G-rated version for Saudi Arabia sounds like a good idea.

    Hi Louise & Cheela - Thanks so much to you both!

    Hi Hadah - They do the same thing to magazines and books. They employ men to black out bad words, women's flesh, and even Piglet from Winnie the Pooh! I don't know what nasyeeds are.

    Hi UmmAbdurRahman - My husband actually started changing slowly mostly after 9/11.

    Hi Mo - My hubby is not really a fan of religious music either.

    Hi RiotWife - Thanks. I've linked SaudiWoman's post to mine now.

    Hi LadyFi - Kisses on TV programs are censored here too!

    Hi Kat - Yes, the lyrics were not tampered with! I've said before how I think the separation of the sexes here actually does more to promote homosexuality than keeping heterosexuals apart.

    Hi Nebz - And the bad words from TV programming too!

    Hi Nzingha - You're absolutely right -if anyone should be doing this "job," it's women!

  43. I am extremely tickled by how artfully done the cover markering is! Look at those cute little red leggings and the one-shoulder top!

  44. you'd think that the guy that does the doctoring of the photo's would take a photoshop class or use some better markers. This reminds me of the ministry of truth from 1984 by George Orwell and the 'pornography department'. which of course, is the exact opposite of all the fun it must sound like.

  45. Katie loves chocolate, No that would be haraam too. Only stuff like birdsong is (marginally) allowed....

    Susie! I love it, and I think The Black Hand is very soft in Jeddah; they leave quite a bit of skin showing, and like Achelois mentioned: not even niqaab!!!

    I see from the red bits that they are running out of black markers again...

    Funny, I have just posted about the same subject, and was thinking to write a follow up on the Ministry of Erasions training on blotting out shocking fitnah female bodyparts }:)

  46. Heee, I'm not reallya fan but if I buy the cd would captain Kabob swich covers with me?
    For my collection of ''insane objects''?

  47. I'm curious what effect this has on the young people in Saudi Arabia. How do you think this censorship affects their "sexual," development? I have 3 sons, that's why I'm asking.

  48. Have you heard Alanis Morisette's song Hand in My Pocket? Everytime it's played on 91.4 (Saudi Aramco radio station) you will not hear the word 'shit' from the line "I'm sad but I'm laughing; I'm brave but I'm chicken ----". Funny.

    That's not that surprising. I live in the US, and many radio stations here do likewise. It's a question of the audience one caters to.

    YES, they color them in by hand, page by page.

    I'll take your word for it for this album, but I remember in the mid 90's in Jeddah, I saw a lot of similar albums in a store that I'm positive were not done by hand.

    The first case I saw was a Mariah Carey album - you can see the album picture here:

    However, the store had a full size poster of that picture on the wall - with her wearing a full shirt. It blended really well (same color and texture as the clothes in the picture). You had to really examine it hard and compare with the original to find a few flaws. I wouldn't have known anything was wrong had someone not told me.

    And that's exactly how the album was sold. Given that they had a full size poster showing the same "covered up" version as the one on the album, I strongly suspect that they (or some company they had contracted) was doing this - definitely not by hand.

  49. hi again, nasyeeds are islamic songs.

  50. HI Susie,

    I am amazed at the way things are done there. Some of it is very hilarious, but at the same time it is robbing people of the right to form their own values. I guess when in Rome applies? Give a shout out to Adam.

  51. Companies do change packaging to accomodate to their markets eg. all packaging in Canada must be in both English and French, eg. including CD pamphlets, Kellogg's corn flakes, IBM computers etc. The packaging is often done locally (by machine).

  52. I guess we are foturnate here in the US, but I'm afraid times are a changing here too. I enjoy your posts, I learn so much

  53. Oh REO...brings back some highschool memories...thanks.

  54. Well, all I can say is, who knew that the skills I honed as a kid - drawing mustaches and devil horns on magazine pictures - could actually amount to a career! Let me in there, I'll show them a thing or two about sharpie art, hehe!

    Susie - I stumbled upon your blog reading a bunch of other ex-pat blogs. I love reading about your adventure in Saudi Arabia. I nearly moved there once as a kid when my Dad was offered a job there. We never went, which was a relief to my 6th grade brain, but now sometimes I wonder if I actually missed out a bit.

  55. Alanis' songs, both Hand in My Pocket, and You Oughta Know, from the album "Jagged Little Pill" have the "colorful" words blocked when played on the radio stateside.

    The same thing for other music on most radio stations when "questionable language" is spoken, sung.

    There's even a "5-second pause" on music award shows and/or Oscars, etc.

    Basically, for album covers, it can have no pic at all, just a name of the album, artist, and a list of songs on it. After all, I'm buying for the music inside, not the cover. :)

    And my iPod is fully loaded with all sorts of music.

  56. While I despise censorship, there is an art to the way this is done. It would be fun to take a bunch of cds and have a group of art students come up with the best altered covers and liner notes. Do they have any form of art training in Saudi Arabia?

  57. Hi Susie,
    I think it looks more perverted stenciled in. I remember (because I am old) all the banned songs in the US in the 60's and 70's--and all the uproar about Satanic lyrics--the Christian right in the US will never give up as I'm sure the Saudi extremists will never give up--I propose we put all fundamentalists of all religions in a room with only sharpies as weapons and let them go at each other--and the rest of us can just keep on searching for "A Heart of Gold"

  58. I remember this censorship from when I used to buy pop magazines a teen in Saudi. I have to say though, they seem to be a bit more artistic with their scribbling out of female body parts. They actually try to make it look like part of the clothing. Back in the day, they'd just scribble out messily with marker. I don't know why the careful blacking out amused me!

  59. I'm surprised they allow even that much. If they wanted to really censor it, why not just change the covers completely and maybe just paint it completely over in black. She still looks rather sexy.

  60. Movies on TV in the US are also censored, right? I mean, when they say "fuck" it's muted, isn't it?

  61. Hey Susie,

    God it makes me mad to see the rights of people taken away by religious extremists. I say this as a Muslim woman in Canada. Really, if they want people to be religious, shouldn't they just let people learn about the religion on their own and decide for themselves what they think is right and wrong.

    Also, do you find it a little strange to see your husband change so much now that he is back home. My parents, especially my father, was extremely strict growing up here. He became more religious after he married and had children, and I find his being so strict a little hypocritical (as much as I love him).

  62. LOL I was wondering why I never saw any replies after mine.. I must have forgotten to check the box. Oops. Oh well, my inbox would be flooded lol.

    Kat - those were my thoughts EXACTLY... I just didn't want to type it out.

  63. Hi Victoria - Just imagine the time it takes to do this on hundreds of them!

    Hi Cory - I don't know how they could print from Photoshop on these existing booklets - they are stapled together too!

    Hi Aafke - I too was surprised at how much leg they left showing! As far as the red marker, I think they put some thought into it and tried to match her outfit! And Capt. Kabob will be thrilled to switch out for the real thing!

    Hi Gutsy - Everything here is given a sexual connotation and turned into something dirty. Sex is practically all that men here think about. The strict no-mixing of the sexes, the denial about females having hair and body parts, no dating - all these things cause young people to think even more about sex. They don't know how to interact with the opposite sex. I feel that it's a situation that breeds homosexual tendencies.

    Hi to Everyone! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!

    Hi Mel - You have a skill that the Mutawwa need!

    Hi Beetle & Susan - I know that censorship exists in other countries in the world as well. But it's just taken to such an extreme here, and imagining the ultra-religious men with their markers - well, it's just so ludicrous.

    Hi Jerry - Many Saudis, both men and women, are very talented artists. I have heard that some parents try to discourage this talent in their kids though. It seems that many people here feel that if anything brings someone joy, then it should be forbidden.

    Hi Sirius - I like your proposal!

    Hi Anonymous - I just took a photo of a product used for pregnancy where the woman's whole body is sloppily scribbled out and just her face is showing.

    Hi Kay & Nuri - Yes, there is censorship in many other places around the world. I've just never seen anything like what's in my post - it's a bit extreme in my book. Some TV channels here bleep out the bad words and risque scenes, and some don't - but all the gore & violence is left in.

    M- I'm with you. A religion as good as Islam shouldn't need to force its followers to participate. I know we all gradually change from what we were like in our 20s to what we become in our 50s. I guess I just haven't changed as much as my hubby has!

    Hi MamaK - You're so cute.

  64. Hi Susie! Congratulations! You are my apron giveaway winner! If you could send me your address I will send it out to you.

    My email is dragonfryehill at yahoo . com

    Have a goos weekend!!!


  65. This is so interesting. Katie Perry is as is at Virgin Mega Store in Dubai!

  66. Wow...all I can think of is a bunch of men getting a 'woody' as they color in nubile female flesh...cover after cover after cover after cover after cover....
    That must be a 'hard' job!

    Once again, dear lady, you've enlightened me to something I did not know! : )

  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  68. When I first saw your images I assumed that the government had just printed an alternative cover and had it inserted in the cd case. It's hard to believe that they pay people to hand color in all those pictures!

  69. I find your blog fascinating. How are you coping with living in Saudi Arabia?
    A fellow blogger

  70. Interesting find. I have my own example of Saudi censorship from when I lived there, on plastic swimming pools instead of CDs.

  71. They did a very careful job with those markers, I thought for a moment that they were actual clothes.

    It's rather bizarre that KSA employs what must be quite a few men to spend all day looking at forbidden things...but nobody else is allowed to see even the occasional bare arm.

  72. Nice post, The people in charge of covering women pictures on prints are the ministry of information and not the religious police, I said they followed the instructions artsitically enough...

  73. It's the ministry of Erasion actually.
    And anybody who is too ''artistic'' will get fired!

  74. Wow. That is a ridiculous and frightening level of censorship. Your writing made it pretty hilarious though, espeicially the part about wondering what the men are thinking as they're covering the flesh with marker. Nice job!

  75. I can't believe that people actually get paid to do this. Think they have a printer or something set up to do it for them?

  76. Hi Susie, I just read your blog today because it was featured on Perez Hilton! Kudos!

    Though I have to admit that I support censorship, I still believe that it should have been done properly rather than with a marker. As many of comments here said, there is too much immodesty nowadays and sexual elements have become a somewhat 'acceptable' though it should never be.

    I support censorship but definitely not doing it like that. Thanks!

  77. if you complain this much about saudi arabia, its censorship etc, why don't you just pack your stuff and move back to hicksville?

  78. Hi Susie - I lived in Jeddah as a teenager until around 2003 - I totally relate to the madness of this kind of censorship. And when you come into Jeddah airport and they go through your Hello magazines with a marker or just rip out the whole page!
    I have a CD of Nirvana's Nevermind that I bought in The Mini Market near Saudia City where we lived where the naked baby has been blacked out with a marker!!!
    Really looking forward to checking out your archives as I've only just stumbled across your blog :)

  79. Bosaina, that is the cheapest, most moronic comment one can make.
    Read the blog and you know why Susie sticks it.

    Or get a life!

    But don't waste space here where intelligent people comment.
    Actually, that goes for Khairizan too.

  80. Aafke - Yes that one comment was out of line (the one by Bosaina) but the other was not. No, we may not agree w/ her beliefs, but she stated them very politely and didn't come off as unintelligent to me at all. I really don't think they should be lumped into the same category.

  81. Oops - scratch the she on that last comment and insert he. Sorry Khairizan I had a blonde moment.

  82. I am an American woman and I would appreciated a little more censorship. You can't go minute without something sexual in your face. I agree that they take it a bit to far, but the values here are becoming so skewed.

    Aafke- It's obvious that you disagree Khairizan's values because they scare you. They make you feel like crap and they should.

  83. Oooooooh Anonymous! You are só brave! Making unfounded comments against somebody who DOES have the guts to show her own name, and is actually generous enough to show herself and share on a blog.
    While you, ANONYMOUS, can't even gather the guts together to write a simple comment under your own name!
    (although contemplating the quality of said comment I can understand you prefer to remain ''anonymous'')

    Have a look at Mamma Khalila's comment she actually made a good point in criticising me and is far above you in intelligence and humanity.

  84. Remind me not to move to Saudi Arabia.

  85. Oooooooh Anonymous! You are só brave! Making unfounded comments against somebody who DOES have the guts to show her own name, and is actually generous enough to show herself and share on a blog.
    While you, ANONYMOUS, can't even gather the guts together to write a simple comment under your own name!
    (although contemplating the quality of said comment I can understand you prefer to remain ''anonymous'')
    Go look up "ad hominem". Whether "Anonymous" is anonymous has little bearing on what he/she says.

    Have a look at Mamma Khalila's comment she actually made a good point in criticising me and is far above you in intelligence and humanity.Yes, and people like Anonymous are far above you in etiquette.

  86. Instead of trying to deal with real world problems. Camon, what's the problem with the images? They are trying to lock womens like in the 15th century. That time is over. Do the womans in Saudi Arabia realize their lack of freedom?

    The world gets worse, every second.

    Nice blog,
    John from Portugal

  87. just another example from a government still live in the dark ages .

  88. Yeah Free Spirit, with people like you, everyone should be living nude.

  89. Anonymous, (I can't stand people who are so cowaqrdly that they don't even have the guts to give their own name)
    That is a really moronic comment, but to take it literally; If God wanted us to be covered at all times he would have us born covered in fur.
    As we are born with naked skin I can only conclude that God would have no problems if we did walk around naked.

    So your comment is doubly silly.

  90. I am a 29 year old Lebanese living in Jeddah.
    I listen to music since I was 12 years old and I enjoy it. I used to listen to music while studying, in the car(walkman), jogging, on trips. I used to listen to Nirvana, Metallica, etc. I still listen to music but mainly rock songs and 80s / 90s music.
    However, because I have been reading self-development books that encourage one to watch own action to understand where is strenghts and weaknesses are and how one can improve performance, I realized that music blurs my thinking and takes me to the world of dreams and not facts. It is hindering me from setting priorities right and damaging my memory to a great extent. It is the atmosphere that music creates that is doing all that. Now, I want to listen to music, but I sometimes tend not to put it on if I am going to a business meeting, to work, and sometimes also when I know I should have my full senses and something is on my mind. Instead of going to dream-world, I stay in real-world and keep my mind as clear and pure as possible to be able to find solutions and plan steps accordingly.
    In short, I am taking the gradual way to stop music. Maybe I wont stop, but I will minimize it to the maximum that it wont affect my thinking.

  91. Well, that's nice to know. But that can't apply to everybody.
    Some people have a weak mind, and others can function fine or even better in the world of music.

  92. Aafke,
    I didn't say it applies to everybody. I have noticed though, from your comments, that you are aggressive and instinctive. Try to be open minded. Don't change your mind, but accept other opinions. Maybe then, you will grow mentally and communicate like a rational human being rather than an irrational monkey.

  93. OK - guys - enough with the name calling.
    And FYI - Aafke is very open-minded and I wish I had a tenth of her communication skills!
    AND, Captain Kabob thinks irrational monkeys are SEXY!

  94. To ANON 29y/o Lebanese in Jeddah - I think music during your recreational time is not harmful - it would be a shame to give it up altogether if it brings you such pleasure. When there is music blasting and I am trying to concentrate, it bothers me, but I certainly enjoy my music when I am trying to relax.

  95. Susie,

    I just discovered your blog, it is really fascinating and reading things from your perspective.

    I had the opportunity to live in Dhahran from 1991 to 1996 ... I was soooooooooo happy to leave and then when I got home, there was so much I missed about the Middle East. People who have never, or will never, have the opportunity to experience the culture, climate, and lifestyle, don't understand, but one gets really used to's such an easy way of life really.

    My husband is, once again, located in the Middle East and when I visited last summer, it was strange to feel so at home...never in a million years did I think I'd feel this way.

    I, too, put up with censorship, etc. I remember buying People magazine and it would all be blacked out...BUT...I got used to it.

    Best of luck to you and may your journey continue to be safe and adventuresome..."Hathan saedan" ...

  96. Have a look at what Kuwaiti censors did to Nirvana's 'Nevermind' album...

  97. ...or rather Saudi censors, not Kuwaiti ones (though I did read a kids book where they had erased piglet from Winny the Pooh...)

  98. hai,i'm new blogger nice blog and interesting
    you must be like take a long trip.

  99. It's all very well to voice one's opinion and to criticize a situation that one thinks is "odd" but the question is:

    Is it right that one culture should force its ideals and ideas on another culture and if they are not accepted then they are regarded as backward or narrow minded?

    That kind of mentality is also a form of Western tyranny over other cultures.

    I think it is quite progressive actually that this kind of music is sold in conservative KSA and so what if the cover is "decorated" and adjusted to the sensibilities of the local community? Is the person buying the CD going to masturbate over the site of Perry's creamy white thighs or listen to her music?

    It just goes to show that most artists these days sell sex appeal rather than quality art.

  100. I really don't see whats the problem here?

    You live in Saudi Arabia, which have certain values, like: pictures of naked or almost naked women shouldn't be shown.

    Americans themselves had similar thing until the recent decades.

    Now, Saudis will not change their values because you're not comfortable with it. Just like America will not change it's values to make the life there more suitable for Saudis or Muslims.

    And by the way, most Saudis will be more glad to ban such songs instead of just covering some parts of the cover.

    Finally, check your information. It's not the job of CVPVP to censor such pics in the first place, its the ministry of information for sure, and they check every such item.

    mu - Riyadh

  101. hi

    i have read your post
    but i think you have got it wrong

    this is done by the traders staff
    who own the right to sell this cd and other cd's

    it cant get reley the customs if its not done like this

    so the gov dos not pay anything

    for your info only

  102. I laughed so hard I had to save these pics on my computer. Are you absolutely sure that they were colored over with marker? I assumed they just got the image from the company and color over it in photoshop (or in this case, ms paint) and reprint it, which I assume would be cheaper than paying people to actually remove the sheets, color on them, and put them back in without damaging the cds.

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  105. Susie, the last two comments are pure spam, you should remove them and put them in your spam folder.

    Never trust a comment which is just a compliment without being specific to the post. look at their mail and url.
    Don't let yourself be used by these leeches to generate more traffic through your blog.

  106. Thanks, Aafke! I delete so many - I guess my mind wasn't working properly...

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  108. The pictures just made laugh! Extreme you are right!

    Living here in Algeria I come across more foreign Muslim who think music is haraam then the Algerians themselves.

    People go as far avoid noises on the PC or even in the TV OMG! too much!

  109. Gosh Youre Sooooooo Lucky In Kuwait They Didn't Even Import I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE 'Self Inflicted'It's So Nice

  110. I was impressed with the way you expressed your thoughts about Blogger: susie's big adventure - Post a Comment. I can not belive that somebody can write an amazing story like thet about I love Blogger: susie's big adventure - Post a Comment.

  111. AndyP UK.

    I find this form of censorship laughable, in that I spent some time working in the Middle East, out of the UAE, and had occasion to have some projects working out of Saudi.
    I recall the client showing me all sorts of porn on his portable media and remember him commenting how prevalent this was throughout the country. Rank hypocrisy.
    Also I watched Terminator 3 ‘Rise of the Machines’ over there. It was so funny to see Arnie, in the scene where he is supposed to walk totally nude, with his back to the camera, across a road, only to see him wearing a pair of virtual reality knee length black shorts.

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