TODAY: To Bali, says blog, to win a war

Today051005Within 24 hrs of last week’s bombings, 1,200 blog sites begin discussions on it.

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THE free online community encyclopedia, Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) started a page (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Bali_bombings) within a few hours of last Saturday’s Bali bombings.

Within 24 hours of the bombs exploding, the blog index site Technorati ranked “Bali” as the top hourly search — with over 1,200 blog sites discussing the attack.

The Bali Blog (www.baliblog.com) — a website which normally provides information about the island to tourists — carried a first-hand account from one contributor, Nick, who, upon hearing of the explosions, made his way down to the chaotic scene.

Writing his post from a café “about 200 m from Raja’s Café”, he captured the reticence of the Balinese: “All the locals know about the bomb, but don’t really offer any opinion at this point.”

In the following days, Nick reported that the island was functioning as it normally does and there weren’t lines of people wanting to leave.

He added: “Who would want to blow up a tourist resort? Only a madman, the logic goes. It has happened alas, but there is not a sense of terror on the streets.”

Blogger “Wombat” (www.planetmole.org) angrily condemned the attackers and asked for the world to support the Balinese by continuing to holiday there.

He said: “It is not for me to tell you to go or not to go to Bali, but I will say that if we let these Dogs of War beat us and destroy (or attempt to) our way of living, the places we enjoy and the people we love, then when will it end …

“By going to Bali despite what has occurred will send a message to these bas***ds that we are not afraid of them and they will never stop
us from doing what we love so much.”

While other blogs and information sites talked about how local reaction to the bombing was different from that of the first Bali bombing in 2002, the Counterterrorism Blog (www.counterterror.typepad.com) analysed the implications of last weekend’s bombings: Did it signal a change in the way terrorists operate?

“Rather than a major truck-bomb on an annual basis, we’ll be seeing a lot more attacks like the recent ones in Bali, against highly vulnerable soft targets,” it said, adding an ominous warning about suicide bombers: “Indonesian intelligence has intercepted a number of letters, communications that suggest that people are waiting in the wings.”

Singaporean bloggers were quick with the condemnation, too, with 27-year-old Leonard Png (leonardpng.blogspot.com) calling the attackers cowards, and suggesting that “if they are so good, they should issue a challenge to the United States or British army mah, one-on-one, man-for-man …”

Leonard also suggested that the death penalty, as it is practised today, would be too lenient for the perpetrator.

“Let me suggest that he should not be hanged, instead he should be tied onto a chair with a bomb attached to it in a remote area, then he left alone to hear the bomb ticking.”

Anger aside, Blogger “7-8” (sieteocho7-8.blogspot.com) has an interesting analysis of the terrorist cells and their larger parent organisations.

He suggests that a job as a Jemaah Islamiyah or Al-Qaeda operative may be the closest thing a person with an impoverished background can get to a professional career with a professional multi-national organisation.

“You have a shot at working for a professional, tightly-run organisation, who pays your salary on time and takes care of your family members,” he wrote. “It’s the nearest thing to a functioning health insurance system for a third world country with a wretched economy,” he wrote.

The only difference, “7-8” added wryly, is that: “It can’t be for the prestige because you’re not supposed to tell the whole world that you’re working for Al- Qaeda.”

Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over a year, and blames terrorists for making his NS obligations so lengthy.

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