Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting published... in Russian

I like to question conflicts and issues that are taken for granted by media and the public, and see just how severe they are compared with other, unreported, concerns. The recent uproar over the Gaza aid floatilla helped to highlight this since actual deaths were few compared with other modern conflicts, while debate was furious.

I am concerned that selective outrage over politically-convenient events worsens polarisation of groups and contributes to lazy simplistic narratives for explaining complex world events. It seems a worthwhile activity to question these simplistic narratives, and I wrote on this for Global Politician earlier this month.

This update is not about the article, though, but about my surprise to see this article republished in some rather odd places.

The World Uyghur Congress published the entire article, presumably because I compared the outrage over Tibet (and Palestine) with general indifference to the Uyghur independence movement in Xinjiang, China. The Uyghur Human Rights Project also republished it in full.

Well fair enough, it's interesting for me since I've never been to China, but it does make sense. This, less so:

Люди обычно думают, что Палестина важна. Ирландские националисты рисуют на стенах в Белфасте палестинские флаги. Испанские школьники шлют в израильское посольство письма с требованием положить конец "убийствам" в Палестине. Люди, не имеющие к ней никакого личного отношения, очень сильно озабочены происходящими там событиями

This is a part of my article, translated into Russian. The entire article is there, in Russian. I have no idea why, or who went to the trouble of translating it. They even supplied me with a Russian name - Шейн Ливи - which, when I put into Google Translate, comes back nicely as Shane Leavy!

The article pops up in Russian here too, as well as on a few discussion forums and apparently, though I can't find a direct link to it anymore, on the Pacific Islands Governance Portal.

I am just amazed at how far this article has travelled. It's cool, but also a reminder of how careful journalists need to be when their work is published online. These words can end up being scrutinised in the most unexpected places: best make them good ones.


  1. Congratulations, Shane! Have the sites you mentioned asked for your permission, or have they copied your article without asking?

  2. Haha no permission man! I only found this out when I was searching for an article I'd written for another publication and discovered myself listed by the World Uyghur Congress :S

    I don't really mind, though, this time!

  3. So yesterday was the first anniversary of the Urumqi riots. Did you send them a condolescence letter? :) Hehe, never mind. It was the featured article at Wikipedia yesterday. I'm sure more than enough people had remembered it.

  4. Just noticed this by the way. Your first Russian link could be Russian indeed but the second one was translated to Russian by Jews. The .il at the URL and Israeli ads are giving it away. More people are going to call you Levi now ;)


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