Posts Tagged 'Myanmar'

(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.

Advertisements

A Year Gone By: Looking Back on the Saffron Uprising

SEOUL — ON SEPTEMBER 24 OF LAST YEAR, Burma’s military junta issued a warning to the masses of gathering protesters, saying they were prepared to crack down on the Buddhist monks who had driven the demonstrations. The streets of Rangoon were filled with saffron robes and laypeople alike, in numbers not seen since the 8.8.88 democracy uprising. What had started as outrage over fuel prices was now a situation as volatile as gasoline, and both sides were tempting it to spark.

Two days later, it lit. Soldiers opened fire into crowds of protesters. Monasteries were raided. Myint Thein, the spokesperson for Aung San Suu Kyi’s democracy party, was arrested along with scores of other activists. Reports of monks being shot and killed sent ripples of anguish throughout the Southeast Asian nation, as images of Burma’s bloody struggle spilled onto front pages worldwide.

And then, the heaving streets were subdued — largely remaining so until the torrential rains of Cyclone Nargis wiped them from the map. The tension that had continued to roil under the surface was overwhelmed, drowned into despair.

Most of the news media have since moved on, but there are still some reports trickling out. George Packer writes from Rangoon for The New Yorker, interviewing writers and watching plays at the American Center. He wonders whether the people of Burma can improve their lives through their own civic activism without tangling with governments — as many have given up hope for a foreign invasion, and even more have realized their own administration wants nothing to do with them.

Radio Free Asia remembers the uprising through the eyes of a citizen activist and a monk. The man, who is referred to only as Zarni, recalls having to go into hiding and being divorced by his wife after talking to journalists towards the beginning of the protests. The monk, U Zawana, is the leader of the All Burma Monks Union and talks about why the sangha got involved.

And in a more recent development, The Irrawaddy says that its Web site was the victim of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, a day ahead of the anniversary of the beginning of the Saffron Uprising. The publication says reports have been coming in that Internet speeds in Burma have been extremely slow lately, indicating a concerted effort to choke the flow of information.

A year gone by, and still not much has changed.

NG Adventure & Travel in Burma

THE IDEA OF ROAMING throughout Burma is alluring – especially after having recently read Emma Larkin’s gorgeous and haunting investigation of what life is really like within the borders of the reclusive state. Yet the current political situation is such that traveling and spending money in Myanmar – with a tourism industry controlled by the government, and movement restricted and surveiled by a web of military bureaucracy – would likely give the traveler a skin-deep impression of life in the nation while pouring dollars into the coffers of a brutal regime.

It is for this reason that I was disappointed to stumble upon National Geographic Adventure’s blip about a near $4,000 vacation package to Myanmar – a nation copywriters euphemistically described as being “Preserved in Amber.”

The package, offered by Country Walkers, is a 10-day trek through the country and costs $3,898 (not including airfare to Yangon). According to the NG article, guide Rachel Baker tries to ensure that dollars go towards local people and not the regime. Yet the company Web site describes the accomodations as ranging from “lakeside chalets to deluxe hotels designed to evoke an exotic charm,” venues that likely demand relatively high rates, from which the generals are sure to scrape off the top.

I admittedly feel mixed about the idea of travelers foregoing Burma for political reasons – there is, after all, the possibility that some of the money spent might trickle into the hands of locals. I guess that this is less likely in the case of vacation packages such as Country Walkers’. But at the end of the day such little compensation will not pull the Burmese out of their suffering. We might do better to show solidarity with the people by not allowing the junta to have at our dollars and not indulging in the fantasy of an exotic Burma preserved in time, when the reality is much more grim.

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.

Democracy Activist Killed in Burma

AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF the National League for Democracy was killed in Burma while under interrogation by the military, The GuardianUnlimited reports today. According to a human rights group in Thailand the family of Win Shwe, 42, was notified that he had been killed and cremated but were not given the time or cause of death. Other activists in the country are worried about the fate of pro-democracy leader Hla Myo Naung, who was arrested on his way to seek treatment for an eye problem.

While reports have been coming in that the streets of Burma have been pounded back into an unnatural calm, it is obvious that the crackdown continues. Worldwide, people are calling for divestment (1, 2, 3 ) of Myanmar in order to put pressure on the junta – a move I support. The only way to twist the arms of the Burmese generals is take the money out of their pockets. If private and public investors continue to support the junta with their dollars then they are complicit in the oppression of an entire population.


Welcome to TDT. This blog is no longer active. Read about it here.

Required Reading

Affliations


Post Calendar

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Categories