Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book banning - it never goes out of fashion

The South Korean military is trying to prevent military types from reading certain books. by banning them. Even more strange is that they banned Bad Samaritans by Ha-joon Chang. I read that book earlier this year and found it to be quite excellent. The best part is that by getting the issue reported in the papers, these books are now going to be big hits and - as already noted by GI Korea - are probably easily available anyway.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Checking facts

The Korea Times has an article about the Amnesty report which includes the following paragraph:
This seems to be a correct observation, considering there have been controversies on the police's use of water cannons, liquefied tear gas and undue physical force, which led to the fractured bones and broken noses of demonstrators, including women. It is the first time the human rights body made an official report on specific issues involving Korea, showing how seriously it considers the issue.
That last sentence struck me because it is obviously untrue. Even without checking the facts, it seems pretty inconceivable that in 50-odd years that Amnesty has been around, including the dictatorship years, that Amnesty has never done a report on South Korea. A simple search taking no longer than a minute reveals that Amnesty is no stranger to writing reports on South Korea. Indeed the search only goes back ten years so I suspect there are more reports than this search shows which are not available on line. Its great to discuss the report but we're starting from a pretty low point when we can't even establish basic context of Amnesty's track record of work in Korea.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Remember the protests?

It seems like only a short time ago that the blogs were full of the 'beef protests' and bloggers were keen to get their opinions on the record. Particularly their opinions on the controversial visit by Amnesty International. At the time everyone poured over the one page press release. But now that the actual Amnesty report of the 'beef protests' and police violence is out, there seems to be a lot of nothing.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui