A sad record
Last week, visitor number 5000 surfed in. In terms of viewers in a day, Thursday September 27. marked an all time high. Does it make me happy? Not really.
On this blog, I write both comedy and tragedy. I report both major disasters and minor incidents, and i try to cover both national (Norwegian) and international news. Some of my posts are read only by myself, some by all my Norwegian friends, and some even find an international audience. On most days, between five and ten people read this blog. Some days, I have 20 times as many readers.
One chilly day in January, more than 250 people read one of my posts. You probably think most of these readers were Norwegian, but no. They were Malaysian. The post dealt with the defamation lawsuits against Malaysian bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan and the lack of freedom of press in Malaysia. Thursday September 27. marked a new record for this blog, with 288 viewers, and incoming links from blogs in languages I cannot even read.
As a blogger, all this should make me proud, and it really does. However, it does not make me happy. Both records are only partly – if at all – due to my qualities as a writer. The January record was a direct result of Malaysian bloggers’ outrage at the charges brought against their colleagues by a repressive government, and by the fact that at the time, my blog was among very few none-Malaysian websites paying any attention to the incident.
A good week for me, a bad week for 50 000 000 others
Last week was a very good week for this blog. The record Thursday helped push the total number of visitors to this blog above the magic number; 5000. As a blogger, this makes me proud. As a human being, it makes me quite sad. The main reasons for the record number of visitors are the protests in Burma and the brutal, inhuman way the military junta is putting them down. The fact that so many people turn to my blog for information, and that so many bloggers from all over the world link to it, points to a severe problem: This blog may actually be a good place to look for information about the current situation in Burma. Not because it is particularly good, but because I might actually know as much about the situation as most journalists do.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the Burmese junta has shut down internet connections and phone lines, and the military are hounding the foreign journalists still working on the ground. At least one was forced to take refuge in an embassy or go underground. Several Burmese publications have closed after refusing to publish propaganda articles, and the ones still in print do not cover either the protests or the government crackdown. Thus, people turn to this blog not so much because of the information that can be found here, but because of the information that cannot be found anywhere.
Yes, last week was a very good week for this blog, but it was a very bad week for Burma.