I was shocked to learn that my friend Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger, was arrested yesterday by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly spreading “false news” on BahrainOnline.org portal, one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain. It is not the first time that Ali has been arrested for content published on his portal. I met Ali a couple of times in Beirut, where both of us attended Arab bloggers meetings. He is, in the words of Sami Ben Gharbia, “a pioneer among Arab activists, using the internet to militate for peaceful reform. He inspired many young Bahrainis and Arabs to use the internet to express themselves and engage in spirited debate.”
Please support Ali in any and every way you can: blog, tweet, and follow the updates here.
This is long overdue, but better late than never…
My friend Mahmood al-Yousif, Bahrain’s blogfather, has decided to quit blogging after 5 years of enriching the Gulf cyberspace with his wisdom and humor. Mahmood’s Den was one of the first blogs in the region and one of the inspirations behind Saudi Jeans. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mahmood for the first time in Manama back in 2005, and then once again in Dhahran last year. I am sad to see him stop and I’m sure I will miss his intelligent witty comments, but now there is nothing I can do but wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
My friend Mahmood has just found that Manama is at No. 8 on the list of Top 10 Sin Cities in the world. According to the website, our Bahraini brethren should thank us, the Saudis, for putting their capital on the international sin map:
Manama is a popular spot for Saudis to kick back from their country’s restrictive laws. Here they can get hammered, go clubbing, mingle with the opposite sex, and if they’re really daring, they can pick up prostitutes — a practice that’s illegal but widely available. For many Saudi males this proximity to an open culture is irresistible and many jam the causeway and fill flights to the city every weekend. Do you want to see what happens when Saudis cut loose and leave the rules behind? You may need to get in line.
We rock, don’t we?
You would think that in a country where the consumption of liquor is illegal, drunk driving won’t be a problem to deal with, but Molouk Ba-Isa got some news for you. She, like many who live near King Fahd Causeway, aka the Johnny Walker Bridge, is complaining that they have to deal with impaired drivers every weekend, and it gets much worse during the Eid week every year.
She goes into the details that I’m not sure if most of you need to know, but here is the money quote: “The problem is a lack of enforcement.” On both sides of the causeway, little is done to prevent the potential dangers of drunk drivers. Sadly, some people don’t know how to celebrate without putting others and themselves in danger.