Posts Tagged 'Journalism'

(UPDATE) Irrawaddy Under Attack, Still Unavailable

SEOUL — THE BURMA-FOCUSED MAGAZINE The Irrawaddy sent a message to its on-line subscribers today saying that both its main and mirror sites are down due to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, one year after the beginning of the Saffron Revolution. The publication is, in the meantime, continuing to report from a blogger site.

On Tuesday, we received reports that the Internet in Burma was running slowly, suggesting a concerted effort to prevent information from going in or out of the country.

Then on Wednesday, our colleagues and subscribers in the US, Japan and Malaysia notified our Thailand-based office that they were unable to access our Web site.

A few hours later, I-NET, the largest host server in Thailand, confirmed: “Your site has been under distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack since around 5pm.”

I-NET finally decided to shut down our server.

Singlehop, which hosts The Irrawaddy’s mirror site, explained: “Your server is under a major attack. Due to the size of the attack our network engineers had to null route the IP to negate it. When the attack has subsided we will remove the null route.”

Singlehop told us that the cyber attack was very sophisticated.

Currently, our Web site is disabled and we have been forced to launch our daily news in blogs. Fellow exiled news agencies Democratic Voice of Burma and New Era were also disabled.

Christmas in Baghdad

WHATEVER YOUR FAITH, WHEREVER you are in this world, best wishes to you and yours for the season and in the coming year.

In that spirit, I thought I’d share this – from the International Herald Tribune:

By Damien Cave

BAGHDAD: Inside the beige church guarded by the men with the AK-47s, a choir sang Christmas songs in Arabic. An old woman in black closed her eyes while a girl in a cherry-red dress, with tights and shoes to match, craned her neck toward rows of empty pews near the back.

“Last year it was full,” said Yusef Hanna, a parishioner. “So many people have left — gone up north, or out of the country.”

Sacred Heart Church is not Iraq’s largest or most beleaguered Christian congregation. It is as ordinary as its steeple is squat, in one of Baghdad’s safest neighborhoods, with a small school next door.

But for those who came to Sacred Heart for Mass on Christmas Eve, there seemed to be as much sadness as joy. Despite the improved security across Iraq, which some parishioners cited as cause for hope, the day’s sermon focused on continuing struggles …

[Read Full]

Who Should Be Held Accountable?

An excerpt from an opinion piece I wrote, published in The Korea Times:

ON MARCH 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez supertanker struck a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, gashing its hull and sending more than 41,000 kiloliters of oil rushing into the ocean.

At its peak, the slick spread almost 5,000 square kilometers and cast a black, oily pall over vast stretches of once-pristine coastline. It was an environmental disaster of monumental proportions.

In the following months, the United States scrambled to clean up the Alaskan coast while penning a comprehensive policy that would address oil spill prevention and proper procedure in future catastrophes.

The result was the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The OPA not only expanded the federal government’s ability to provide necessary resources and funding to deal with spills ― up to one billion dollars per incident ― it also established the owner of the vessel from which the oil is discharged as the responsible party.

Now, as Korea attempts to clean up the shores of Taean after the worst oil spill in its history, its citizens are asking: What will the central government do to prevent this from happening again? Who will be held accountable for the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who face a loss of their livelihood?

[Read Full]

A Message from Korea Immigration Services (Updated)

Following up an earlier post on multiculturalism in Korea, the Commissioner of Korea Immigration Services wrote an editorial for The Korea Times the other day saying that Korea is ‘Eager to Embrace Foreigners’ (via The Marmot).

To be quite honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about the article – parts of it seem warm and astute, while certain paragraphs seem blunt and abrasive…particularly these:

Willing to work for less than their Korean counterparts, immigrant workers will help lower labor cost, thereby restoring the price competitiveness of Korean firms’ products. Immigration can thus lead to a win-win outcome for Koreans and foreigners […]

Of course, Korea cannot permit complete freedom of movement into the country right away. There will be issues to be addressed, as more and more foreigners enter Korea. Some of them are already surfacing. Some foreign brides married to Korean farmers have difficulty adjusting to a new life in an unfamiliar country, in some cases leading to dysfunctional families.

Many young men who come to teach English at private institutions have questionable qualifications and background. Low-income immigrant workers are beginning to congregate in cheap neighborhoods, raising the prospect of ghettoes. [read full]

While some of what commissioner Choo Kyu Ho writes sounds at first over-simplified and even derogatory, upon second thought his arguments are well founded in recent events; foreign brides do face significant challenges, and many English-speaking foreigners (I wouldn’t relegate it to “men”) are significantly under-qualified to teach.

I certainly wouldn’t boast about immigrants being sources of cheap labor; this leads to the nasty stereotype that they aren’t capable of much else. However, comparing the situation to that of the U.S., it is undeniable that many immigrants (especially from Mexico) do the work that Americans themselves refuse to do – for better or worse.

(UPDATE: After a re-read and a second thought, the commissioner’s statements sound all too much like he’s giving the green light for exploitation of immigrants in the name of economic gain. These practices will only plant the seeds for disparity in future generations, creating cycles of poverty and increasing tension along socioeconomic and racial lines.)

Perhaps it’s just a bit of a shock to see all of this in print. Thoughts?

Window into Burma

THE BUBBLES OF RAGE and protest have ceded to a false calm back in Burma – the fragile and still-simmering status-quo restored through brutal force. But this cannot be the end, and we cannot forget the people who have disappeared under the junta’s cloak.

Choe Sang-hun, a reporter for The New York Times and International Herald Tribune, has been doing some serious digging around in Burma, risking his ass to put out some really compelling and insightful stories (for more on foreign journalism in Burma, check out ‘Required Reading’ in the sidebar). His latest gives us a window into the shell-shocked Buddhist sangha, and is accompanied with a surreal photo series – I say ‘surreal’ because to be visually taken from inside of the temple, where monks meditate and read peacefully, to the streets, where they march carrying megaphones and signs, feels otherworldly.

The current situation in Burma presents an endless frustration. Not only do we as ordinary citizens feel impotent to enact real change (my two [perhaps naive] letters to lawmakers went unanswered, likely unacknowledged), but even if we held political clout a despot like Than Shwe would lend no ear. But this is no time to give a shrug and go about business as usual – in a world without real walls or borders, all our fates are intertwined.

In whatever small way we can, we must push, raise a voice, and have courage for those who may feel all is lost and hopeless.

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July 2020