Ever since I started UAE Uncut I have always been very mindful of where I am and have always tried to avoid biting the hand that feeds me. I think I do a good job. Ok, some of the stupidest things in the world happen over here but they are to be laughed at and shared as witty yarns in company. It’s not my fault that these things happen.
It is a fact that those who drive Land Cruisers are terrible drivers who spend their entire day just driving around trying to park in other peoples boots. No one likes to queue because everyone has “wasta” and is therefore above the orderly peasants that surround them in McDonalds. People over here think that wearing a seatbelt is weak and pathetic and if you are caught in one then you are obviously bent. These quirks of UAE life are not stereotypes nor are they defamatory, slanderous propaganda. It’s all true and is all very funny. It can be considered in the same vein that all Brits complain about the weather, or all French complain about British, or those American states that think it is Austria that has all the kangaroos….it’s a light hearted quirk.
Here at UAE Uncut we enjoy a good laugh and like to make a mockery of our surroundings, not for any other reason that there is nothing else to do because Al Ain is boring, and it helps keep us sane. At no point have I ever tried to defame the UAE, what you read between the lines is your interpretation.
This week four of the world’s biggest global franchises have been under threat. First there was Amazon who were charged with tax evasion. Then there was Google, charged with tax evasion. Next there was Starbucks who were charged with tax evasion. Finally there was UAE Uncut, not charged with anything but the cause of much sweating on account of a recent decree by a very important official who shall remain nameless for reasons I will now explain.
It has been decreed (a word previously heard in Star Wars) that a raft of jail sentences are to be dished out for the following “Cyber Crimes”: Forging credit cards or ID cards, blackmail, incitement to carry out an “act”, eavesdropping, receiving emails, human trafficking, dealing with human organs, peddling narcotics, doing terrorism, explosive manufacturing, those who damage the reputation of the UAE, it’s institutions or its high ranking officials, organising demonstrations, stream videos or radio, intent of treason, threats to national security including the publishing of cartoons, abusing holy shrines and finally those caught being a paedophile.
A lot of this stuff appeared in the Magna Carta or has since been added to the law book in recent years, especially since the invention of the internet. I agree that villains who abuse the interweb to incite hate and do naughty things should be punished and the subject needs no further debate. The only part of this that made me gulp was the damaging the UAE COUNTRY X reputation part. I have never done that. Land Cruisers do that, not Martin’s.
Upon reading the decree I had to quickly trawl the UAE Uncut archives looking for any potentially dodgy material. It all seems fairly above board and I’m confident that you won’t be reading about a “British Blogger sentenced to death by Land Cruiser” any time soon.
Freedom of speech is a good thing, except when it is about controversial issues that we don’t want to talk about. Freedom of speech however is usually hijacked by the moron classes, like that twit who was burning poppies the other day. That’s not freedom of speech, that’s just letting us all know you failed school. Most of us rational writers try not to come out and say “it’s shit, it’s a joke”, but try to develop a case to convey an opinion. The problem is where do you draw the line? When do you stop being a writer with integrity (I wish I knew what that felt like) and start becoming a hate preacher destined to share a jail cell with Abu Hamza at the Guantanamo Heights Hotel by Rotana? It’s a bit harsh, I think, to be put in the same band as Jimmy Saville.
What to do? I’ll be honest; I cocked an eyebrow this week when I saw the headline “Blogger killed in jail.” I had to slap myself hard to ensure it wasn’t me. It turns out in fact, despite the best efforts of the headline to make me believe otherwise, that it happened in Iran. Still it doesn’t change the fact that this region of the world gets very funny about blogging. It’s not like the West where every day without fail the ruling governments are ridiculed and chastised. Have you ever read Jeremy Clarkson or Charlie Brooker? They’d both be jailed indefinitely over here. What about poor old George Monbiot? He would be killed for some of the guff he comes out with.
UAE Uncut would very likely suffer a readership decline if all I did was turn up here, make a joke about someone who keeps losing their keys, sneeze on the keyboard and then leave. No, this can’t be allowed to happen. So in true UAE Uncut style I have hatched a plan, which I shall share with you, my loyal readers…
…I shall henceforth continue as normal.