Hacked by Saudis

Posted by: The Professor of Rap on November 23, 2010

On November 15th, my website was hacked by citizens of Saudi Arabia.

I have no information or proof to back up this statement other than the words “Saudi Arabia” that appeared in parentheses on the hacker’s calling card that took the place of my website and destroyed my electronic life. Such is the reputation of Saudi Arabia in the West that I was willing to believe that I had been cyberterrorized by the most oil-rich country in the world.

I had arrived.

I called my Adjunct of Funk to see if we could outsmart the Saudis. Dirty code, holes in programs, apologies from webhosting services, cybersupport groups, FAQs and all the desperate communications of web life stumbled over each other in our investigation. And the further away we were from my despair and the more I thought about the possibilities of reconstructive electronic surgery, the more preposterous my thoughts of Saudi cyberdestruction became.

The slogans on my new hacked website were in colloquial English: “Don’t be a chicken,” “underground”, “This site is hacked by” all belied a native English voice. The heading “WANT3D”, bespoke a stylish Cyrillic graphic that would be used by a hip Anglophone. Three of the e-mail addresses given presumably for tribute, were in English language hotmail.

The only Saudi-ism was that lingering parenthetical (Saudi Arabia). And yet I was stuck. I was on a plane headed into the World Trade Center.

I fled back into the arms of the World Wide Web to embrace world citizenship.

According to our State Department website Saudi Arabia is about 1/5th the size of the continental United States. Cities I had never heard of — Makkah, Damman, Khobar and Dharan – each have over a million and a half residents. Riyadh, its capital, has over 4 million people. Saudi Arabia’s population is about 29 milliion, of which almost 25% are foreign nationals. 10% of the native population is Afro-Asian. 35% of the work force is foreign; the literacy rate is 20% higher for men than for women. It is a monarchy that was consolidated in 1932 with a Council of Ministers and a Consultative Council that was formed fewer than 20 years ago. It has no political parties.

No political parties. I was back on the plane.

I searched “Saudi success stories”. This yielded hyphenated success: Saudi-Swedish, Saudi success in Ireland, a Virginia-Saudi success story. They were all business stories.

I searched the UNICEF site to discover that UNICEF had no statistics for AIDS in Saudi Arabia but was able to report that there are 115 phones for every 100 Saudis; 1/3rd of the population is under 18; life expectancy has increases by 21 years since 1970; one-third of the state budget is spent on defense. Gross National Income is over US$15,000 per capita.

Luxist.com informed me that Saudi Art was set to surge.

Wikipedia Human Rights told me that Saudi women make up 70% of University students and 5% of the workforce and that all sexual activity outside of traditional marriage was illegal. Deviation can result in deportation, imprisonment, lashing, execution.

The planes were getting closer to their target. American Airlines Flight 11: 4 Saudi hijackers; United Airlines Flight 175: 3 Saudis; American Airlines Flight 77: 5 Saudis; United Airlines Flight 93: 3 Saudis.

I am a 61 year-old white rapper with an Ivy League degree. I am learned. I rap about Albert Camus and Alfred Hitchcock. I know the hooligans who hacked me were as Saudi as I am, and I am Polish which is quite an ethnic distance from the Arabian peninsula.

And yet…. how do I overcome the feeling that The Professor of Rap was brought down by Saudi cyberterrorists.

How do I rethink the Arab world? Thomas Friedman, help me.