Monday, March 05, 2007

Don't Block the Blog - One Year Update

Remember the Cartoon Crisis? It's been over a year since this inflamed the Mideast. In its wake, Islamic hard liners convinced the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ban twelve websites which featured the cartoons. In a clumsy maneuver, Internet service providers in Pakistan managed to block every blog hosted by Blogger, a free platform which hosts this blog as well as millions others, worldwide. A year later the blogs remain blocked according to Dr. Awab Alvi and Omer Alvie, founders of the Don't Block the Blog Campaign in a press release issued yesterday. Two weeks ago, the local Google (which owns Blogger) representative in Pakistan met with the Don't Blog the Blog Group and made an appointment with the appropriate government minister to discuss the situation. Unfortunately, the meeting was cancelled by the government official and not rescheduled.

Blogger has been having its own problems. In switching to a new, improved blog platform, blogs have briefly disappeared, passwords haven't worked, and other glitches have appeared to give bloggers everywhere brief bouts of fear that all that hard work put into their blogs has been permanently lost. Unfortunately, Pakistani bloggers using blogspot have had a very hard time figuring the new Blogger. Why? Since they are unable to read their blogs by normal means, Pakistani bloggers have had to use any number of technologically advanced methods to try to continue posting. In the wake of the problems posed by the new and improved Blogger, many Pakistani bloggers are simply giving up.

Many of these bloggers represent a voice of moderation, and I am sad to report that the government of Pakistan, friend to America, has managed to deliver some measure of victory to the Islamic hard liners who aggravate many Pakistanis as well as the West.

In support of the blogs, Dr. Alvi and Mr. Alvie have created a "blog aggregator," which gathers together posts from Blogs all over the country, using their own tech knowhow as well as paying for the associated costs. If you are tired of two versions of the Mideast News, one Democrat, one Republican, why not go read some of the posts for yourself? And why Pakistan, rather than, say, Iraq or Afghanistan? The answer is simple. Due to the English presence in the region for so many years, the majority of the blogs are in English and there are quite a number of them. There is still a fair amount of free speech allowed in the country, too. So take a moment to do your own research at the aggregator by clicking here. If you see a post that interests you, just click on the title to go directly to the writer's blog. There's a lot there to see, and a visit is worth your time.

Warning: You are going to see a fair amount of anti-American posts there. I don't care for those much, but come to think of it, the verbiage is pretty much what we are hearing from the Democrats today. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?


Post a Comment

<< Home