Saturday, June 26, 2004

This blog banned in South Korea

Well, first our humble, moderate blog was banned in China.

Now it's clear South Korea has banned us as well. Other blogs are reporting that South Korean has ordered its Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block all South Korean traffic to blogs covering the beheadings.

We also noticed a huge drop in traffic from South Korea recently. Despite the tremendous interest in this story in that country, we are no longer getting any traffic from ".kr" domains.

Apparently, the beheadings caused social unrest in South Korea, with reports of Muslims being attacked in South Korea, and Mosques behind torched. This is, of course, exactly what Al Queda hoped to achieve with its propaganda video: creation of a wedge between Islam and the rest of the world, so that even moderate Muslims would feel persecuted and feel compelled to join Al Queda's ranks.

Unlike other blogs we did not post any video or photos of the beheadings. In fact, in the comments section I even urged readers NOT to view the propaganda beheading videos, because their aim was to create divisions between Islam and the rest of the world. We're probably better known for our coverage of Madonna's religious conversion to Taliban Islam in our spoof.

It seems our only crime was to provide alternate coverage of the story. While we sympathize with (and even early predicted and warned against) the social unrest the videos might cause, we cannot condone censorship.

On the other hand, it is very flattering to think that the South Korean government felt compelled to take action to officially censor our website in their country. Two weeks ago hardly anyone knew our name.

In other news, our postings on this tragic story continue to remain popular and draw considerable Internet traffic. While I love comments, I've been dismayed by some of the more "shoot from the hip comments" posted by drive-by readers on some of these pages (e.g., we need to drop more 21-kiloton bombs on Muslims). In an effort to make the site more useful, I've let Amazon recommend some books related to DFW topics on some of these pages in the hopes that people will educate themselves about the culture and ways of our enemy (Al Queda, NOT Islam in general). We in the West (especially we Americans) continue to remain surprisingly ignorant on these important topics. Know your enemy, as they say. I've already noticed some of their suggestions are very good (I've actually read some of these books). I highly recommend following their suggestions. If you can't afford, try obtaining them at your local library.

DFW: Breaking News (2004/06/26): Next Video? Three Turkman Captured and threatened with beheading
DFW: Original Kim Su-il beheading coverage, with links

Other blogs covering the censorship story:
Hot Abercrombie Chick: South Korea Blocking Sites Containing Pictures and Video of the Kim Sun-il Beheading
Short Family Online: Kim Sun-il Beheaded