The authorities here in Kazakhstan have decided that the best way to avoid people writing horrid things about their nasty, corrupt habits is to block the free flow of information by censoring what is published on the internet.
Imagine my dismay upon returning to Kazakhstan to find that my blog was blocked, and access to all other blogs using Blogger were also unavailable. I hoped for a few days that the people who were telling me this terrible news were just doing something stupid on their computers, but they were right. And good old Reuters has now added some more information about it here.
The reason for the censorship, I heard, was that some guy, who has already fled the country, was apparently uploading lots of incriminating and highly detailed information about the ruling family's finances onto the web, which did not cast the powers that be in a very favourable light. They did not like this. And as a result, approximately four million users of the internet in Kazakhstan have had their right to roam freely on the World Wide Web assaulted with a crude blocking mechanism.
I do not wish to find that my husband's visa is not renewed as a result of what I write on this blog, so I will not elaborate on some of the juicier rumours of corruption and dictatorship that I have heard since coming to live here. But it makes my blood boil that the authorities can do this. It is creepy to think that the government is snooping so openly about on the internet, and a crime against democracy that this action has been taken. Our internet speed is incredibly slow here, and the blooming servers here stop working abut 10 times a day anyway, so we already put up with a lot of crap just to be on line. When they start telling us what we can and can't look at on the web, it really wrankles (rankles? wrangles? What is that word anyway????).
So after a day of downloading various bits and bobs, I am now using a proxy server to open and edit my blog. I hope it continues to work. I must admit to a certain delight in having been able to get around this annoying blockage by myself. I think I may also even be able to download Dr Who as a result of my travails which would be utterly amazing, and will surely earn me a term's worth of hard work from my eldest daughter if I use an episode a week to encourage her scholarly efforts!