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Iraq's first Internet café opens up the world

Of course it doesn't, you're not allowed to see anything

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Iraq has seen its first ever Internet café open. Set up by the enterprising Ba'athist government - which is headed of course by the West's best friend and man of the people Saddam Hussein - the café is another great example of how the Internet can bring us all together, make us more tolerant of other people's views and cultures. Yah right.

In a country where foreign TV is blocked because it is the "wrong" TV (it's kinda like the UK being run by a scarier, madder form of British Rail), where satellite dishes and modems are in fact illegal and only a visit to the Ministry of Information will get you permission for a fax machine, this Internet café is a revelation.

Or it would be if it wasn't prohibitively expensive. An hour's surfing costs 65p (hang on! That's cheaper than my ISP) which isn't so bad until you consider the average Iraqi makes £3 a month. We reckon this equates to about £220 for an hour's surfing.

Of course, you are free to view any Web sites (for that bloody money you'd want T1 hardcore porn within two seconds) as long as they're the right ones (shit). You'll also be comforted by the fact that the café's ISP is none other than the Ministry of Culture and Information. The Iraqi communications minister has vowed to set up more such cafes in Baghdad and other major cities, bringing Iraq up to date with the Internet revolution. We wonder where he's going to get the computers from seeing as most of the world is still pressing massive embargoes on the country.

That said, we reckon The Register would get through the censors. If Iraq doesn't like those outlets that hype up the Western view of life and congratulate themselves in the trappings of consumerism, we should be allowed through by default. So, if you are one of those in Baghdad and you're reading this, we'd like to send out our warmest greetings and of course apologise for the £10 it's just cost you to read this. ®

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