Monday, July 05, 2004

the plop thickens

Check out Brian's post on the shenanigans surrounding the family of recently-beheaded Kim Sun-il. This isn't pretty, folks.

A lot of families go through an anger/recrimination phase when a loved one dies. Sometimes this gets ugly. The Kims appear to be no different, except that much of this is on camera. One wonders how, exactly, the Kim family's dignity is being protected. If the original purpose of the censorship was to keep the family from suffering indignities... that strategy doesn't seem to be working, and it seems you can't protect the Kims from themselves.

Brian remarks on the Christian leaders who were embarrassed by Kim's undignified conduct before his death. Personally, I'd like to think I'd check out more stoically, but the truth is, you can't know unless you're in that situation. If anything, I'd like to think that I'd struggle like hell and be shot to death by my captors long before I make it on video. They could still stage a pro forma beheading, I suppose, and lop off my dead head... some have argued that this is in fact what happened with Nick Berg, though I don't know. The "lack of blood" argument is unconvincing because that video was so grainy (yes, I did see the Berg video; might even have blogged about it a while back).

The Korean media are indeed reporting that the MIC is responsible for the ban (thanks to by47ronin for the link; these links go stale quickly, so view NOW), but there's an insistence on saying the ban covers some 40 websites. This is patently untrue, because the ban is not just on individual sites, but entire domains-- i.e., thousands, maybe millions of sites (consider that Blogspot/Blogger has millions of blogs, as does TypePad/Movable Type). If anything needs to be reported, it's this (Todd Thacker, care to pick this up?). The KimcheeGI was among the first to question the "40 sites" claim; hats off to him for the catch. The more I look at this, the more I think that's an important angle. The government could try to pussyfoot around the "40 sites" claim by saying, "Oh, we meant domains!", but the moment they do that, they reveal just how much their censorship has in common with China's totalitarianism, because the cyber-savvy know that blocking entire domains is much more extreme than blocking individual sites.

I predicted the ban would last days or weeks. (We passed the 10-day mark on July 4.) I've mulled over whether to jump to an individual domain, but if, as Sperwer muses, I'm the target of a special ban, it'd be a waste of time for me to switch over.

Stay tuned, folks. I also want to pursue this Constitutional Court angle.

Reminder: it's never too late to join FUCK. Sign the petitions by Joel and Ed, and write an email to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Kathreb with the bringdown: only Korean citizens can bring petitions against the Korean government, not aliens, she says. Damn. No offense, but I sincerely hope you're wrong about this, K. But if Kathreb is right, what does this mean? That we need Korean sponsorship? Well, that's not a bad idea, but good luck finding sympathetic Netizens (I was wrong: they do exist; I just got a Korean-language email from one, but they're still as rare as three-breasted women). However, if "citizens, not aliens" means that only Korean citizens can sign a Korean-sponsored petition, then we're up shit creek. Letters on the subject are welcome. Please type "hairy chasms" in the subject line of your email to attain direct access to my (postal scrotum) mail bag.


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