Archive for the 'Blogosphere' Category

Interview with Travelblogs.com

Travelblogs.com took the time to ask me a few questions last week, and posted the interview today. Check it out here.

Korea: Definitions of Terrorism

WHEN A FOREIGN PROFESSOR teaching in Seoul referred to two famous Korean patriots as “terrorists” last month, he sparked an angry outcry from students and a heated discussion on the blogosphere – via Global Voices Online.

The London University professor was teaching a summer session at Korea University, and received a backlash when he referred to Yoon Bong-Gil and Kim Gu (both of whom attempted to assassinate the Emperor of Japan during the Japanese occupation of Korea) as terrorists. They are largely regarded as heroes of the Korean resistance movement, though there is some debate even among Koreans.

Richard over at The Marmot’s Hole has issued a pretty thorough report, translating material from a JoonAng Daily article [Kr].

From GVO’s snapshot of the Korean blogosphere reactions, most resent the comparison between the martyrs of the Korean resistance movement and those who took innocent lives on September 11. Korean bloggers also point out that those who took part in the French Resistance, a violent reaction against Nazi occupation, were never deemed terrorists.

The foreign professor has defended his remarks, saying that there was no other appropriate term for the armed resistance movement [MH].

This seems like a load to me – what the hell do we call the American revolutionaries? Not only that, but the professor should well have considered the current political context before using the word “terrorist.” Surely he cannot have been so foolish as to expect that when employing that heavily-loaded term for the purpose of historical analysis that students would not assume he was making an association between the those who kidnap and kill innocent people and those who have fought against brutal foreign occupiers.

August 5: Iranian Bloggers Speak Out

Bloggers the world over are protesting the recent imprisonment of several Iranian students who were charged with “defaming Islam” by temporarily renaming their blogs “August 5th,” in honor of the 101st anniversary of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, reports Global Voices Online.

According to a Radio Free Europe story (reprinted with permission here), eight students from Tehran Polytechnic University were imprisoned because of their writings in student publications and were charged with “inciting public opinion” and insulting Iran’s leaders. Three of the students are still in jail and, according to their families, have been deprived of sleep and food and been beaten until losing consciousness.

It’s great to see so many bloggers – GVO counts 397 from Iran and elsewhere – taking a stand. Whether Ahmadinejad listens or not (and it is likely that he won’t), it should be recognized that bloggers who are inside Iran are significantly sticking their neck out for this; Iran has jailed bloggers before, and there is nothing to keep them from doing so again.

In that vein, GVO has a link to the Reporters Without Borders’ Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents, which gives tips ranging from how to create a blog to how to get around digital censorship. If you’re in a country where free speech is an issue (or in a country where the NSA could be watching your every move) it’s a handy resource.

Iran may need an entire system overhaul, but for now let’s hope for the hasty release of those students.

Bon Voyage to ‘The Daily Kimchi’

incheon international airport. photo by d’n’c.

The famous Korea blogger Gdog of The Daily Kimchi is heading home tomorrow – or rather today, Korea time – as his teacher’s contract recently expired. I’ve kept track of his posts for the past half-year or so, and as many of his dedicated readers also surely feel, it’s sad to see him go. His well-maintained blog grew rapidly and did a lot to generate interest in Korea, showing a light-hearted (and food-centric) view of expat life in Seoul.

Bon voyage Daily Kimchi, hope to see more posts from your next destination!


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