Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Caution: This Blog Banned in Saudi Arabia

For people who live here in this country, the dreaded green and white screen saying "Dear User, Sorry the requested page is unavailable" is a familiar sight. Many web pages are blocked here by a branch of the government which surfs the internet and flags unsuitable websites, usually for either moral or religious reasons. So imagine my surprise when a couple of days ago, I was unable to access my own blog here in Saudi Arabia and instead saw that green and white page looking back at me.

So what does this mean? People in all other countries around the world can still see my blog without any problem. Only residents within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are blocked from viewing it. It also means that I cannot reply to any of the comments that readers post on my blog. I am able to make new posts and change various elements of my blog, but I cannot actually SEE the blog myself. So, instead of having the comments post to my blog automatically like I had it set up before, I have changed that option so that I receive all comments via email and I must individually approve each comment before they will appear on my blog. This is the only way I could figure out at this point how to maintain some control over this area since I can no longer delete comments after the fact. So please keep that in mind if you are writing any comments - it may take a while for your comments to post since there is a process they will go through now, and I may be asleep or out and about when you write a comment.

How do I feel about my site being blocked? Well, I actually have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, it is frustrating, discouraging, and makes me sad. I honestly feel that for the most part, my blog has presented many things about Saudi Arabia in a very positive light. I really feel that I have managed to change some people's prior misconceptions about the people of this country and its culture. My opinion is that with knowledge comes understanding, and that is what I have tried to do with my blogs. Too many people around the world just don't know what this mysterious place is really like and I have tried my best to give an accurate glimpse into real life here. Is this wrong?

On the other hand, maybe it is better for me that people here in KSA cannot read my blog any longer, although that thought saddens me greatly. My intention was never to write for the people here. I have always written for my family and friends back home, so they would know that I was safe and happy, and to try to show them in my excited wide-eyed way the wonders of this amazing land and its people. I really set out to break down those preconceived notions that the rest of the world has of this exotic and mysterious country and to put a more human face to the people here. I think I have achieved that, and I hope that my family and friends back home have learned a lot from what I have presented and have changed some of their negative opinions into positive ones.

I was delighted when I first moved here less than two years ago to discover that my friends and family were as interested to learn about Saudi Arabia as I was. Naively I didn't recognize that the whole world was too. Somewhere along the way, my audience grew and widened. There apparently is much more interest in this closed society than I had ever realized. My blog captured the attention of the Saudi Tourism Agency, the Saudi Gazette newspaper, and a few other publications in the region. When I wrote about censorship here in the Kingdom, Perez Hilton picked up my post on his blog and as a result I experienced a wild ride that week, when my blog got more hits in one single day alone than I usually get in an entire four month period! Unfortunately that post may be the reason for the blocking of my blog. I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because of my posts lately about women’s issues here in the Kingdom. It could be a number of things.

What I do know is that I am overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of support that I have received from my readers, my friends, and my fellow bloggers, including a surprise email of support from a blogger I have the utmost respect for – Fouad Alfarhan. Fouad is a legend here in Saudi Arabia. Last year he endured four months in prison without ever being charged with anything. He was jailed for blogging, for speaking out on what he sees are problems here in his country, for voicing his opinions about how things could be better here. So thank you, Fouad – I am humbled.

Thanks also to Ahmed at Saudi Jeans blog, Michaelle at Adventurous Women blog, Nebz over at Isla de Nebz blog, Yoli at Musings, and any others who have highlighted my plight on their own blogs. My sincere appreciation goes out to you for your support.

Many of you have commented or written to me about a notable change in my writings the past few months, and you are right. I had an epiphany one day when I realized that maybe I was painting too rosy of a picture about life here. Maybe I was glossing over and ignoring the rough spots, the issues that Saudi Arabia would rather sweep under the rug and pretend don’t exist. This happened when two female readers from other countries decided to accept positions to work here in the Kingdom, partly based on my glowing reports about life here. I know that they didn’t base their decisions solely on what I had written, but it was then that it hit me that I was presenting a lopsided view of what it was really like here, and that’s why I started tackling some of the issues that had really started bothering me about living here. When their experiences turned out to be not what they had hoped for and they both returned home much sooner than they had planned, I recognized that I had a responsiblity to be more forthcoming and truthful and not to appear oblivious to major problems - as I see them - in this society.

I’ve tried to be diplomatic and constructive, but when there are opinions being expressed, there are bound to be disagreements with those who don’t feel the same way I do. But I had felt that I had been holding back for too long. I am not a negative person – I am quite optimistic – and my hope is that change will come to Saudi Arabia in these areas that I had focused on recently.

There should always be hope.


  1. Thanks for all your insights, Susie. I love your perspective and I know I've learned a lot about Saudi Arabia from your posts. Keep up the good work!!

  2. I guess I must have satellite internet in my building because I can see your blog! I usually read blogs via Google Reader...I don't know if that would help other local readers get around the restriction but it might be worth a shot. Keep writing!

  3. Oh Susie what a loss to the women and people of Saudi Arabia. Your voice I am sure will be sadly missed. You can always change the link name without deleting the blog.

  4. Where to start lol.

    First off... I am very sorry that your blog has been censored. I know that's got to hurt... not to mention all the aggrivation involved with keeping it running despite that. That just stinks.

    I have a funny story about blocked websites that might cheer you up (some). I went to a small church of Christ school for college... many many rules involved... most of them I don't agree with or understand. Getting off subject though, basically it comes down to the fact that they had a filter on the internet on campus. No-one could get around having to use this filter. You really had to feel sorry for science majors because half of their info couldn't be gotten... and it ate into everyone elses classes too at some point. But... I have to smile when I think about it because there is one day that everyone who was there at the time remembers fondly. The day the filter blocked the schools own webpage! No kidding... it filtered it for "inappropriate content" lol.

    Anyways, I'm glad I read this because honestly I had noticed a change in your posts and wasn't sure what had brought it on. It seemed like overnight you went from posting the good and interesting things about the country to mostly negative... and while I agree that both exists, we hear so much of the latter that it made me a little sad to lose the former. But I can understand why you did that now... I hope that you can continue to show both sides despite this latest setback.

  5. Susie, I feel that you have done a wonderful job with your blog. I have so enjoyed reading it over the past several months. I, too, thought you were presenting too rosy a picture of real life in Saudi Arabia. I read with great interest when you started presenting some of the problems of living in Saudi, especially for women. I thought you presented both sides of the story very well.

    However, and because I have lived in Saudi although in Western compounds, I was scared for you when you started these type posts to your blog. I knew that it was coming, the blocking of your blog. I just hope and pray that the blocking of your blog is the only consequence you will suffer and not be hauled off to jail or some other type punishment.

    Please be very careful, Susie.

    Kristie Leigh Maguire

  6. Susie,

    I've read your blog from beginning to end and I found it very interesting. I LIKE the fact that you don't try to make everything rosy there. I actually was shocked about a few things that I learned from you. Frankly, it scares me that the government there would do this to your blog. What are they afraid of?

    You're a wonderful writer. Keep up the good work.


  7. LOL i was just thinking about this on ur last few blog posts, esp. about women's rights! i was just waiting for this to happen...it's such a shame that this has happened...typical saudi arabia! wait for a woman to open her mouth about the country and she gets into trouble!

  8. Hi Susie,

    Sad your blog has been blocked in KSA. When I found your blog a long time ago, I liked it a lot and added it to my favourites because you treated all issues in a positive way, even those which you did not agree much. If something is characteristic about you and your blog is that it's always been very respectful with KSA, even when pointing out delicate issues.

    I dont' know why there's a need to block it. I hope when they read it all, not only the "polemic" posts, they will unblock it for their people, because the balance is very positive.

    They should remember that the more you forbide something...the more people wants it...

  9. Susie, I've learned so much about SA from you blog. And I was ignorant before. All lives, cultures and countries have their good, bad and ugly. In fact, from what I've learned, I'm not surprised you've been banned, saddened yes, just surprised it hasn't happened sooner. You know there's nothing wrong with writing from the heart. You're certainly not a heresy. I am sorry for all the hassel this causes you and look forward to more of life in SA.

    If I was 35 yrs younger I'd be fighting mad.

  10. Susie,

    I'm glad we can still read your blog here in the states...have learned alot about Saudi Arabia

  11. It is easier to punish people who are trying to paint both a positive and accurate picture of Saudi Arabia than to fix those problems that exist.

    When I think of problems of reform in Saudi Arabia I am reminded of the phrase 'all deliberate speed' which was certainly deliberate but hardly speedy. Saudi Arabia isn't alone in having problems but it is almost alone in that is has great resources to handle them.

  12. I too worried when I heard your blog had been blocked. Frightening you are being 'watched'. Hopefully the black out of the blog in your country is the end of it. I so enjoy reading your blog and learning so much about SA.


  13. Hey Susie, I'm sorry to see your blog has been blocked in KSA. I'm thankful that I can still see it in Canada!

    Is there anyway you can "appeal" to have the ban reviewed or reversed? Does the ban last forever or just a few months?
    I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations a couple of nights ago and he went to KSA. He stated he wouldn't be getting into the political or religious side of life and instead showcased the food.
    It was nice to see the people laughing and smiling. My boyfriend remarked on how Saudi's are "just like us when it comes down to it really" and I think thats what your blog was showing as well.
    That KSA has its good points and bad points just like every other country.

    Keep up the good work Susie!
    Noli nothis permittere te tere!

  14. Hi Susie,

    I only got to know about your blog yesterday through my friend Nebz of Isla de Nebz when he posted about your blog being blocked by probably the censors. I'm a Filipino expatriate working here in the desert of Saudi Arabia and luckily when I checked it out I was able to see a blog that I should say worthy of accolade. Oh my! what a great blog you've got here!

    I forwarded the link to my wife (a judge at the Supreme Court of the Philippines) and she was full of appreciation and got so excited reading many of your posts. Reading your blog made her more excited to come and visit me here for a 2-week vacation soon. She has been looking forward to see all the must see places and restos you've posted about so well. It gave a very positive publicity for Jeddah. You said it right - with knowledge comes understanding! It changed prior misconceptions of our lives and culture here. I hope the censorship is just a temporary glitch.

    I appreciate you for your courage and optimism and for your truthfulness in blogging. After all, the truth shall set us free! And we have that hope in our hearts!

    By the way, i am now an avid follower of your blog.


    Desert Aquaforce

  15. Susie, I started reading your blog b/c it not only reminded me of my time traveling around in the mid-east, it helped me get a first hand perspective of KSA from an American woman who wasn't living in the compounds, but living right there with the country's citizens interacting, learning, experiencing, something I wish I had the opportunity to do and still hope to do. I enjoy reading it and look forward to your new posts. You presented the only perspective one can really have....your own. And you presented it with honesty, eagerness, curiosity, open-mindedness, and a spattering of lots of questions. Frankly, a lot more people should explore the world with that kind of mindset. It only opens new doors for more knowledge and understanding.

    I'm sorry for this new hassle you have to deal with. Your blog is absolutely great. Don't stop blogging! You've got a lot of fans and more to come. And this is one opportunity for people to know the REAL KSA, and not the censored crap KSA tries to give or the skewed, biased image other governments in the world try to say is the real KSA.

  16. have so enjoyed your posts and i kind of was anticipating you getting banned/censored. unfortunately that is something that comes with living in KSA. on a side note i am kind of curious as to your husband's opinion of this whole matter or does he not involve himself in this at all?

    i can not even imagine relocating to ksa under any circumstances and do not understand why two brits would even think of doing it, let alone doing it.

    take care and hope all continues on as always.

  17. Thank you so much for this post. It helped explain better what exactly is involved for the blog owner when the blog is blocked.

    Apparently satellite internet service, and proxy servers are not subject to the blocking. Also, sometimes totally innocent sites, like shoe stores online, are blocked. Sabra at Stilettos in the Sand did a post today on the topic of what she is calling "Yag culture" that addresses the issue of blog censorship in Saudi which contains this info.

    The idea of blocking a blog has an extra problem of inappropriately stopping people from venting their negative emotions and experiences as a coping strategy which is one reason people blog, and expats want/need to blog. Doing so doesn't negate their positive experiences or the positives about Saudi.

    I haven't read your blog long enough to realize the change in tone of your posts, but what I have read is balanced and respectful while addressing important issues.

    I am delighted you have found a way to keep your blog active!

    All the best

  18. Hang in there Susie! Because of your blog I dream of visiting KSA one day. I want to see the sculptures in Jeddah,the mosques and minarets, shop till I drop in the malls,eat the food, try out my arabic.
    Every place has issues,I'd still want to come visit.Who knows maybe I'll win the lottery or something?

  19. Happily, I can still read your blog! I did as Ahmed at Saudi Jeans suggested and sent a respectful request to
    and asked that they unblock your blog. Please continue posting about your life in Saudi. Sorry this has happened to you, Susie. Thank you for sharing your life experiences. Hugs!

  20. Eager to have you back. You write good stuff! Take care!

  21. Hi Susie

    I don't remember how I came across your blog but I enjoy reading it and learning about your life and about KSA. My opinions and knowledge of Saudi Arabia has been broadened by your blog. I wish you all the best and hope to hear good news soon.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Anne in Scotland

  22. I join your other readers in my concern for your welfare. While I have found little in your blog that could possibly be offensive, I am not the King's officials. It is all about control of their image and the population. I hope that you will be able to overcome the "block" and continue to share your visions with ALL of us.

    sirod um Umar

  23. Hey Susi,

    just another message of support to you. I have enjoyed your blog.

    I'm another who hasn't read it long enough to see the change but appreciated the story of the women coming to KSA and being unhappy. My hat is off to you for taking responsibility towards future female residents of KSA. You must be a very fine person.

    Unfortunately the fact that your blog has been banned makes the KSA government look very bad and adds credence to negative press that the country often receives. I'd rather believe in the muck raking nature of our (US) media than the oppressive nature of your government however banning a blog like yours just does not look good.

    Please keep writing.


  24. Actually I noticed the shift in your writing. I was quite happy to read about your "not-so-positive" views and experiences. (to much sugar and all that, LOL)

    I hope you continue to show us a small glimpse of your life and don't "close down shop" without a fight.

    Hang in there, Susie.

  25. I'm a fairly new reader to your blog but having experience with the issue of censorship after having taught about it as a subject at the university for nearly ten years, I have to admit to expecting the thought police to clamp down on you sooner or later. In KSA, you may blog freely as long as your posts are positive about life there. As soon as you start to honestly examine the very real social issues present in the country, however, the game changes entirely.

    I'm sorry to hear that it has happened to you; however, I have to remind you that the pen (keyboard, in this case) truly IS mightier than the censor's sword.

  26. Hi Susie,

    It really sucks to hear what has been done with your blog, and I certainly hope that this can be fixed. I have learned a lot about Saudi Arabia from your blog. I think I have mentioned this before, but I nearly moved there as a kid when my dad had a job offer to work over there. Understandably, the rest of the family was not very enthusiastic, with the picture of KSA that comes to mind when not a whole lot of research has been done on it save for what's seen on CNN. Your blog gave the country a human quality, that I could relate to the people there because they are a warm, friendly bunch (unlike the commonly held view). I guess I could have gotten this from reading Saudi nationals' blogs, but since American and Canadian culture is very similar (save for the hockey, hehe),'seeing' Saudi Arabia through your eyes helped me understand a little more, especially since I am very much a 'wide-eyed' traveller wanting to drink it all in myself.

  27. Dear Susie,

    I came here to your blog from Yoli, and I'm so glad she told us your story. You sound like a remarkable woman and I'm looking forward to learning more about you, and where you live, and what your life is like today.

    I have added you to my sidebar in the hopes that my readers will discover you also, and that we can all learn and not take for granted the ability to do something as simple as write about our lives and thoughts without being turned off by the powers that be.

    I wish you all the best and will be coming back often.

  28. Dear Susie,

    I'm so glad that you decided to write about it. I think it'll be unblocked shortly when they find what a stupid mistake they made.

    Thank you so much for your kind words.


  29. I'm sorry your blog has been blocked. You are very optimistic in hoping change will come.
    I read in arabnews that the commission for the prevention of vice is upset at the criticism they have received in the media and would like it stopped. If people are silenced, the injustices will never go away they just won't be mentioned. Change comes when the people themselves demand it, speak about it and write about it.
    Every country has it good and bad. Every country has people who want things to change and other people who don't want any change. In my opinion when a country silences its people to the degree that you cannot even intelligently discuss something that country is never going to progress.
    I wonder, at times, if some Saudis who disagreed with you about some of your viewpoints could have complained to the right people.
    You have brought out a lot of good things about Saudi Arabia, what with your stories and pictures. I think you have given a pretty good idea of what SA and the people are like.
    Hang in there, keep your perspective and I hope you don't get in any trouble with the powers that be, about continuing your blog.

  30. It is ashamed that your blog is being censored. I always thought you showed a true picture of Saudi Arabian life - you didn't bash it, true, you stood up for your beliefs, but in a reasonable way.

    Honestly, I FEAR for your safety there - I worry that you are on some individuals list that embraces fanatical beliefs. Please be careful.

  31. Hi Susie--I am one of the readers who was referred by Perez Hilton.

    I have found your blog to be so very well written and interesting. I hope that this won't stop you from writing the truth.

    How is your husband and son feeling about all of this? Are they worried?

    Be well.

  32. Have you tried using a proxy, or have they blocked those as well?


  33. Hi Susi, it does seem unbelievable that your blog is blocked from you and not from others around the world.
    You have taught us so much about Saudi Arabia and I do find it such an eye opening experience. We always read press here and they do highlight the worse points, but you have shared both the good and the bad. Good and Bad exist in every country and usually it is only the minority that is bad.
    Your blog is wonderful and I actually feel that you take away the fear - (out of being naive) away from the rest of the world about your country and see Saudi Arabia in a postive way.
    Keep blogging and sharing your country with us, it is a part of this wonderful world.

  34. I'm so sorry for that censorship, Susie. That's such a shame. I'm glad the rest of us can still read your posts but sad that the Saudis aren't able to see another perspective. It's to their detriment in the end.

  35. Dear Susie, it saddens me that certain people are now negated from accessing into your blog. Albeit, I am grateful that us outsiders are still able to access it. Have you tried viewing your blog using rss feed readers i.e. google reader? Do continue to pen and share your insightful entries from your perspective.

  36. Susie -Just a note here in Aramco, your site is up and running as usual. Not sure what that means, but it would indicate that "my" censors aren't necessarily "their" censors, something I'd guess folks like us aren't supposed to know! hehe I've had my site blocked here a few times- primarily for "word violations" rather than content. I'd guess your site was blocked for content...but who knows!

    Anyway, keep writing and let me know if there's anything I can do!


  37. Just proof positive that your writing is powerful enough to raise some eyebrows and have people grabbing for their worry beads...if nothing else...that should make you feel proud that a simple blog has forced some people to take notice.

    Good luck getting it unblocked.

  38. Sorry Susie... But still v will continue reading ur blog. It's really interesting and make us know about saudi. Keep going. It's funny that u yourself can't c ur blog. Better us some proxy sites to c ur site... Here in India only v can watch any site. Only restrictions / blocks in our office. If saudi was a democratic country v could have fought. Any way, mera Bharat mahan hai.

    S Manoj

  39. I'm sad because your blog is a bout of fresh air amidst so much totalitarianism but really we all expected it. Isn't there a scary thought at the back of your head, though, with images of a large invisible hand pulling a lever that opens up a whole into all negative comments, correction, all comments deemed to be negative, fall? It's always made ma curious as to who these people are, what they pursue in life, what does power mean to them? I salute your integrity and dignity. Even in these dire circumstances your latest post was an example of decorum and good manners. I wish you success in the near future. You deserve it

    Greetings from London.

  40. Hi Susie,

    I found you through Yoli and i'm so sorry to discover your blog only now in these circumstances...
    But i will definitely explore more of your blog..
    all the best to you!

  41. Hi Susie,
    while reading your blog I' ve always been able to understand your efforts to give a impartial description of the reality you see in the country you' re living, although I understand it's very hard to give a description without letting see through your own fundamental feelings and opinions.
    I think that the decision "they" took is unfair: why trying to cover something that really exists or happens? Do they feel shame for that?
    I confirm my appreciation for your blog and for the way you're acting. I'll keep on reading, thank you.

  42. I hate to think you woul need to possibly start over, but I wonder if that's an option? Or going to Wordpress? Sounds like a problem either way.

    I cried when I read this. I mourn this loss for you so deeply. You have been transparent but respectful of the kingdom. You have a huge following, and we will be here sweet Susie however we can.

    Don't worry about responding. Just know that we ALL love you dearly and will be here no matter what!

  43. Susie--your "blockage" made the AFP news, published online 3 hours ago. The article made you a grandmother though! Is there a birth announcement in an upcoming post? :D
    Assuming you're not, sorry to bear that bit of bad news! :(
    If you are, my apologies for my ignorance, and mabrook! :)

  44. Hi Susie! So good to hear from you and know you are safe and sound. I so absorbed your words here today...and yes, you have achieved all that you have set forth to do. I have seen and learned more about SA through your blog than in my whole life! I've never felt that you were telling secrets, or slanting your views or trying to drum up drama and negativity. I've always admired your ability to convey everyday life in a way that I can understand, compare to my life here and in a way which educates me about a part of the world that I will probably never experience for my own first hand. All societies have positive and negative aspects to them....and to present both is truly doing a service to everyone on both sides. I am so very sorry that your blog has been banned. What a pity. My personal belief is that banning is a reaction to being fearful. It makes me ask the SA government, what are you afraid of? What does she write of that makes you nervous? Even if you, Susie, were to be rated on your blog, the positive information and service that you have done in educating the world on life in SA so far outweighs any negative effects. Susie, please take care of yourself and keep yourself safe and sound. We, your followers, are willing to handle these small changes and ride the ride with you for as long as it lasts. Your blog may be banned there, but here it is strong and free! Peace to you and your family, Susie! Love you! : )

  45. Hi (Salam) Susie, first I would like to thank you about what you have represented in your blog. This blog is my first to visit as I am only addicted to online news, sport, and education. Thought, I was reading Watan http://www.watan.com/ news paper which is banned I think in Saudi Arabia because of the type of news they used to bring about Saudi. Anyhow, I read the title that saying "Susie the America wrote the Saudi is wasting the most natural recourses "women", and her blog was banned. This stimulated me and I started surfing the net looking after your blog. Truly, I found your blog very interesting and it represents the truth about the Saudi culture, the truth that every Saudi must admit and never hide but must act positively to change. I am a Saudi national who currently abroad and I must admit that we need to change but within the boundaries of our religion "Islam". In this theme, I think Islam is a great religion, and if we applied the Islamic roles correctly it will surly change our life. Our problem is that Islamic roles were misinterpreted and this led to current situations. One of the most significant situations is that we have no freedom of speech, so we the ordinary people have no right or cannot express our self and talk freely about our future. This is against Islamic roles and I think what you have said about women is true. However, this will not last forever and I think the new generation will change and protect their rights but within the Islamic boundaries. I hope that your blog will be free very soon. Thanks

  46. Despite the set-back, I am so glad you have decided to keep writing...I love that you share all sides of Saudi Arabia with your readings...I find it SO interesting! Thank you so much. =)

  47. Thanks to Anonymous for a hypothesis about wide the blog has been blocked.

  48. I am so sorry that this has occured, but am so happy youre able to keep writing at this point! You are just asking questions! you only ask for some sort of reasonable explanation, for some physical evidence that the things that occur around you are for a reason. You rock, you represent feminism as its finest (not hard, abrasive and unyielding, but willing to learn, compromise and understand.)

    Congratulations for making such a difference, and being so eloquent that your watchers are threatened by you. Keep on telling your story.

  49. What a wonderful woman you are Suzi taking on such a lifestyle change..
    I love your pictures I used to be a photographer in the days before video and I love a set of well composed and graphic images...
    Suzi, I 100% belive in the freedom of women and think that Islam has totally missed the ball, if they want everything to be pure and right then they should start thinking about everyone as equal...
    Islamic people except all the modern things like electricty, the money system, good safe food, cars why does their understanding of social conditions have to stay in back at the begining of humanity ??
    your blog is the 1st one I have ever come across and I have read it all over and looked at all the pics ... I'm not going to dwell on it but I hope all those religious police gro old and die and the young people break through to live the lives they should be free to enjoy..
    Regards Stephen

  50. What a loss to those within the Kingdom. I think that you have always represented the good and the bad in a fair and constructive way. It is sad that your blog has been banned because it represents a step backwards rather than forwards for the country.

    Keep on blogging - your voice is needed!

  51. i have had some trouble here in kuwait. twice ur blog has shut down. dont know if it is intentional or just problems with my computer. but the article appeared in the arab times today.

  52. From time to time I have read your blog about the kingdom and life there. I am shocked to hear this dreadful news as you are a good writer because you describe life there in the eyes of a foreign woman. the government should not have blocked the website as it so good. I don't know what it is like in the US but in the UK where I am from we have freedom of speech. For example, recently in London we had Sri Lankan Tamils were outside parliament informing the goverment that they did not like their freedom in Sri Lanka. They (men, women and children)camped outside the centre of our city (next to our parliament) for about a month. We had police surrounding the area but noone intervened by stopping the people from speaking out about their views and opinions. The reason I usd this example is that we have a freedom of speech over here, which is a good thing.
    I don't get why the Saudi government stopped you by writing a blog and giving you the freedom to writing your views. This is injustice and is not right.

  53. Texan--thanks the Asian Times article is easier to find.

    Susie--my best discourse analysis trained guess is that the tone of one of your recent posts, the same one Anonymous at 02:09:00 AM read about in Al Watan (?in Arabic) on the wasted resource of women, was different than the others, more direct and more exasperated, as illustrated in the choice of the particular phrases opening paragraphs 4 and 5. I hope it is limited to that and is resolved quickly.

  54. Susie,

    Have you considered sending your responses to comments to someone else via e-mail to have them post them on your site? It keeps you in the game.

    If there's someone you trust with your Blogger log-on info, they could also cut-and-paste new posts for you.

    I truly don't understand why the blockage. Perhaps a mistake that will be corrected? That has happened with other Saudi bloggers.

    I haven't found anything particularly ban-worthy in your posts, but then, I'm not a Saudi afraid of criticism.

    It's a real pity when those most in need of constructive criticism have the power to block it. It certainly bodes evil when those same people believe they have the right and authority to start limiting criticisms that are 'hurtful'. They have neither the right nor authority, only the power.

  55. Susie,

    I've been following your blog for about a year, and I am really inspired by everything that you share here! I enjoy your writing so much, and of course, there are always loopholes in the technology. I have some concerns for you, but I think you will navigate any problems with your usual grace. This process is also very telling about the attitudes in KSA. Thanks for your honesty.

    Best regards to you and your family!

  56. I've just discovered your blog and its really informative, sorry that the Saudi government has blocked access. As a previous commentator has said, its all about control.

  57. What a shame! So you can't educate Saudis?! There is little hope this way. I don't agree with censorship which is so loved by not only KSA but even other Gulf countries.

  58. It's stupid of them to block sites like this, because what they want is to block such information being passed over to the countries outside Saudi Arabia (as all the people in Saudi Arabia are very well aware about their censoring policies and live with it), and the objective can't be met as the site still remains open anywhere outside this kingdom. Hence the money, time and effort they spend on such things are really a waste.

    Loved your blog. Keep blogging!
    If the thing persists for long, just change your URL.
    Good luck!

  59. Hi Sussie

    I just stumbled your blog yesterday, and was sosorry to hear it was blocked by the authorities.

    You are a very brave woman, and a role model to many of us women.

    Hang on there, and keep posting.


  60. Sussie,

    I came across your blog few weeks ago ( my comment even inspired the slap post :)) ) and i think sussiesbigadventure is one of the most informational and unbiased blogs. I will save myself some breath discussing obvious problems with the ban. Just wanted to let you know you are important voice for many and should keep going,try to get this issue resolved. Who knows maybe you were meant to move, so you can speak for those who can not speak... and let the rest know the truth.... Goodluck ...


  61. I hurried to my country's Persia Grill and tasted Kabsa for the first time when I heard of your plight. You know, just to experience a bit of Arabia for heck of it...

  62. Do keep up the good work telling us all about life in Saudi, specially the womens lives or lack of.
    Take care.

  63. While I am sorry for all the extra steps you have to go through in order to maintain the blog, I suggest that the blocking of it is not as negative an action as it seems at first glance.

    Think about it. A blocked blog is one that has caught a substantial following, one that is in a position of influence, one that is considered honest rather than safe, one that shows the potential for raising the consciouness of a large number of people who would otherwise remain indifferent or downright ignorant.

    I would go so far as to suggest that the blocking of your blog is a compliment rather than a slap in the face. The blocking will increase readership. When the block is removed, you'll become even more popular!

    Seriously, you've taken on quite a responsibility in writing as comprehensively as you do. I applaud you, and look forward to more of the same.

  64. Hey Susie - here's my recent post on your banned status!

    Chin up and keep writing!


  65. Freedom of speech is one of the basic rights that make a "modern country" it helps to go forward. When I've read that your blog was blocked I wasn't suprised at all since Saudi has strange idea on censorship (cd covers you mentioned in a previous post). Censorship put people's mind in cages and for sure doesn't help to devolop a personal thinking, everyone MUST think the same thing (1984 o farehnait 451) so the goverment can controll its own citizens.

    Take care and I hope you and your family won't get in any trouble for this mess

  66. that is too too bad !! but i guess youve fallen victim to censorship in the kingdom.

    God willing you can find a way to keep it going and not have to start all over again.

    good luck!

  67. Hmmm.... The way your writing has evolved, and how much of biased and incorrect interpretations and meanings you began to derive it was only a matter of time before you were censored.

  68. Best wishes Susie,

    It can't be fun to feel you're being targeted by the same sort of people who imprisoned Fouad.

    But they can't beat the net... we will overcome.

    Undercover Dragon, Muscat

  69. VPN people, VPN.

    If you dont know what it is, google it. I'm not telling you mine in case it gets blocked.

    But a very helpful and useful tool it is.......

  70. Congratulations!!! I just read on Saudi Jeans that you are unblocked!!! Yeah!!! :D :D :D

  71. I have read your blog for some time now, even if very scarcely commenting... just wanted to pass by and say "go on" :)

  72. Hi Susie, I'm really sorry that your blog has been blocked, and seemingly without reason.

    It's really a shame, you have such a talent.

  73. Hope they will unblock your blog soon
    Cia from Oman :-)

  74. Sorry to hear that! Sounds like something China would do. That is really making me appreciate my Freedoms!

  75. Sorry to hear that! Sounds like something China would do. That is really making me appreciate my Freedoms!

  76. Im so glad you are unblocked now I was very upset by the green message screen and nearly sent a rude message to those who think they are better than us. My connection was so slow though that I think nothing worked that day. I love your blog and its honesty, something that is so sadly lacking from a lot of other Saudi Blogs, Ive been in Riyadh for a long time now and hope you can continue with your wonderful truthful insights into life here for along time to come.

  77. Hi Susie,
    I was just wondering about the function of hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Is there some kind of protocol where the patient still has to wear the traditional clothing even when in a hospital? I guess, more specifically, do women have to cover up as much as possible in the presence of a male doctor? I was just curious and would love to know your opinion. Thanks!

  78. Thank you to Everyone for all your comments. Please forgive me for not trying to catch up on replying to all the comments individually now that it's been unblocked. I really enjoyed reading your comments and they made me feel so much better during my downtime.

    To Anon (June 8 @ 8:06pm) - I did see a couple of women patients and they both had their hair covered in the hallway. One of the women looked quite sick. When it comes to receiving medical care, if it's necessary to be examined, then it should be ok. When I first arrived here, I got a really bad ear infection, so the doctor had to examine my ears and he couldn't very well do that with the hijab on my head. There are many women working here in the medical field, and maybe some of them might be able to answer your question better.

  79. A Muslim woman should go to a woman doctor if possible, but if not, she goes to a male doctor and uncovers only the part of her body that needs to be uncovered. So, for example, if there's a problem with her foot, she doesn't have to take off her hijab or her dress. In this region, you don't normally see those hospital gowns that are all open... in fact, patients in the hospital normally bring their own clothes to wear. (And I've seen news reports about hospitals in the West that redesigned their gowns to cater to Muslim women; it turned out that a lot of non-Muslims liked the more modest gowns, too.)

    Another Anonymous

  80. thank you for your blog and your great music!!! now, i am thinking that saudi is not a good place to live in or even visit, that is, if one treasures his/her rights, privileges and freedom....

  81. I'm glad that you're no longer blocked :)

  82. I am happy that you are not blocked anymore. Sadly Internet censorship is very present in few countries.

  83. Hopefully you are not blocked anymore. Freedom of speach is very important and must be respected.

  84. Thanks Sisie pretty insightful article you wrote. Btw regarding those who mentionned proxies : I don't use proxies because they're pretty slow and eventually stop working when the filtering system picks it up. I'd suggest something like highspeedVPN, check it out at http://www.highspeedvpn.com/