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Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, June 24, 2005


Only a little while after Saudi Arabia decided to unblock Flickr, the UAE decided to block it! Not a good day for freedom of speech, especially since it is the Emirate users of Flickr who asked UAE ISP to block Flickr, claiming that some people post nudity that is not appropriate for the eyes of the citizens of the UAE!

I say, bullshit.

I've been keeping up with this "syndrome" since I saw that a UAE-national residing in England who started campaigning against Flickr was actually getting a lot of support. I was indeed shocked at some of the reactions and support that he received, especially since Flickr has a mindblowing number of users from the UAE.

Many lengthy threads have been formed on Flickr pertaining to this topic, a lot of which have already been deleted(ha, especially now since the expat campaigners who got it blocked are happily posting pictures away in England, Canada, and the US!) There are now several ways around the UAE ISP censorship, and they're even collecting money to create a UAE Flickr.

Personally, I believe the difference between nudity and pornography is huge. Some of the world's greatest artwork consists of depictions and sculptures of nude figures created before the dawn of time- way before the Arabs, Christianity, the West, Islam, or the UAE ever came to be. Tasteful nudity is a part of the history of the world, the culture of the world, and even the Muslim culture if I may say so- we have many examples of nude Muslim art going back to the time of the Ummayyads! I think it is not an issue of nudity as much as it is an issue of inability to distinguish been tastefulness and pornography, it it an issue of lack of appreciation, horrible schooling, and priorities gone wrong!

Anyhow, regardless of the culture issue, is blocking Flickr really the right way to combat pornography? Flickr, by its terms of use, clearly states that pornography or anything indecent is not allowed, and users can easily flag nudity as "Over 18" and enable the "Over 18 toggle" option. There are many ways to access porn through other less discrete sources, and if someone is looking for it, there are many ways to find it. Having the ISP block a nonpornographic websites like Flickr makes it seem like the consenting adults in the UAE are like children that can't make up their own minds and can't filter their own content! Opressing is a stupid way to deal with problems.

Lastly, I find it ironic that the people campaigning against nudity are practicing something that in my opinion is one of the most morally disgusting practices- hypocracy. The England resident, for example, was the person who started the campaign against Flickr by using such images such as the one below and by various threads, all of which have now been deleted.

After the onset of the blockage, this person has decided that to change his opinion!

I am really, really pissed off.

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