One of the most important sites has been under extreme pressure for quite some time. Uruknet has been hacked, taken of Google News indexing and now, the latest... take off Google completely. How can this be done? We really don't know, but we do know that Google has refused to respond to the thousands of requests by readers to reinstate Uruknet on Google News. They came up with a response after weeks only to the site itself where it "reasoned" that Uruknet was "only" an aggregator. All of us know that it is an exceptionally important aggregator, but it is far more than that! It contains original material, has editorial choices and space for commentary and it presents for an international public much material that otherwise would not be translated or disseminated.
Without being listed on Google, as much as we detest Google for its arbitrary blocking that many of us have had to undergo, losing readership in the meantime, we are able to admit that for a news site to not be listed AT ALL on Google means that NO ONE at all finds their articles on a simple search. This includes archived material.
This is something that we find unacceptable and it demands that all of us try to do our best to take action to change this situation as soon as possible.
A few of us have come up with some ideas as to how to deal with the situation, but to make it work, we will require the help and collaboration of as many people as possible. Here are a few of the ideas:
1) to create an internet campaign to bring awareness of this situation. It can be autonomous or coordinated. The advantages of being autonomous is that we can dedicate the time we have and can use our creativity to extend the action as far as we can. It also makes the campaign less redundant, as each site adds its own touch. The advantages of being coordinated are: less work for everyone but a few, just be sure to cut, paste, publish the material that is decided to be distributed. This will mean that one or two or a small group will need to decide to work on this project at least at some level to launch it and follow up on it.
A) the internet campaign will need: a post that all of us can publish with the basic information that Uruknet will supply, a banner that leads all sites to the Uruknet site where more actions or updates can be given to readers. It may need a petition, if it is decided that they work. It will need artwork and graphics to identify it (for the banner that all sites will put up who adhere to the campaign). It will need translation at least for the initial part of the campaign.
B) how far can we go? Until Google reinstates Uruk? Hopefully a matter of days, but we have to understand that our goal is to stop censorship of an independent site that means very much to all of us.
2) A campaign that Haitham used effectively for a blogger who had been imprisoned. Something called Google Bombing, where everyone on a certain day posts an article about the matter, and in a selected word, there is a hyperlink leading to a page on (in this case) Uruknet, where more information is given.
3) those without sites can post information and updates to their mailing lists, forum or comment groups, and in any other venue they have at their disposition to get the news out.
4) obviously, all of us are going to have to try to slowly wean ourselves off of Google and try to find other alternatives for some of our tasks. It's almost impossible, i realise this as much as you all do, but they enjoy the monopoly because we haven't effectively developed other habits.
NOW! Here is where I am asking for help: IDEAS and any suggestions you can make are welcome so that we can know how to begin. I am keeping this first list small, because I don't want to spread too many emails around, but feel free to pass the information to others you know support Uruknet and would want to help.
We need to work quickly, and I know that this is a rough time....
summer is here and kids are out of school, but as Lebanon taught us, sometimes the worst things are done in the distraction of summer. But activism doesn't take a holiday until the world gets better than it is!