An eye for an eye?

Aung Zaw said in his commentaries at the Irrawaddy and the Wall Street Journal that the Irrawaddy web site and some other exiled news sites were under attack by the Burmese military junta. Even if his claim is true (it probably is), what he did not mention in his commentaries is that the military government is not the first to start this war.

People's hatred of the current military government can be seen online since the early 90s. Back in the days of early and late 90s, Usenet newsgroups were the places where people shared information and ideas. It was before we know the web as we do today. Anti-junta Burmese activists fought with the pro-junta people in discussion groups such as soc.culture.burma. Some people just got tired of arguing and defaced www.myanmar.com on August 3, 2000.

Eight years after that hacking episode, the Irrawaddy and exiled media groups were under attack. The sad truth of recent attacks is that the pro-government people are eight years behind in technology compared to the anti-government activists. The saddest fact yet is that we Burmese people are busy fighting with each other. If--this is a big if--all the efforts by both sides were used for the development of Burma's infrastructure and technology, it would be a big win for the country. Sadly though, we are wasting our efforts hacking each other's sites.

Not sharing the same ideas and philosophy with a web site's content is understandable. However, attacking the site just because it does not share with your ideas and values is plain wrong. Attacking each other like children should be discouraged and not be hailed in the free virtual world of Burmese online citizens. I hope that the pro- and anti-government groups would not pursue an eye for an eye ideology and start launching attacks on each other at the Burma's fragile online community.


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