March 13, 2003

Server trouble and other miscellanea

I’ve been unable to publish the entry I made on Monday for the last few days because my host has been in the process of upgrading their server. At first, it was CGI trouble in that I could not execute any CGI at all and then it was the inability to access mySQL from Perl. I did some investigating yesterday and discovered that they didn’t have the DBD::mysql module (which allows you to connect to mySQL databases via a Perl script) was not installed. So I let the people at the hosting company know and it turns out that they’d overlooked this particular module – so I guess it was a good thing that I mentioned it to them instead of waiting patiently for a few more days for the problem to go away by itself :p Anyway, it all got sorted out and I was able to finally publish my entry from Monday, yesterday.

However, since a few days ago, my e-mail volume has suddenly and strangely dropped. Granted, most of the e-mails I’d receive in the morning when I checked e-mail for the first time was spam, I still think that I’m suddenly receiving less e-mail. Maybe they set up a spam filter while they were at it – I hope not since I hate spam filters because they don’t let me decide what is spam and what is not and stops everything before it even gets to me. I guess I’ll need to look into that some time soon but not today since I’m going to be particularly busy (and out of office) today.

So where am I going? I’m going to do a story about what we in Sri Lanka call a “communal” incident – basically an incident involving two or more ethnic or religious groups. This particular incident is interesting in that it happened in a majority Muslim fishing village (Muslims are generally a minority in Sri Lanka since they constitute about 8% of the total population) where there was one lone Sinhala family (the Sinhalese are the majority in Sri Lanka since they constitute about 70+% of the population). There was a dispute about land which escalated to violence and the end result was that the Sinhala family was driven off from the village. They went to their relatives in a neighbouring Sinhala village and the people there got agitated at what happened and they came back to retaliate. There were clashes and the end result was that three Muslim youths were killed. This happened over a year ago but the anger and the hurt is still there under the surface.

I’ve talked to both sides and as is usual in such a situation, I get conflicting stories from each side which puts the blame on the other. However, both sides blame the police saying that the police was on the side of their enemies and that if the police had done their duty, the problem would not have happened in the first place. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the whole thing is mostly political since the mayor of the city (as well as the MP – Member of Parliament – for the area) is a Muslim. The whole land problem seems to have started because he was being a typical politician and told both sides what they wanted to hear … plus, the man who seems to be mostly involved in this all from the Muslim side on the scene, seems to be a major supporter of the mayor. There is more to this and I’d like to write it all down at my leisure when (or should that be if?) I get back from the shoot.

Is there some doubt as to whether I will return from this shoot? Probably not but then again you never know since it is still kind of touchy situation and it is possible that something I say and do will set things off :p I do intend to push this as much as I can to do a story which shows the sheer stupidity of such a situation where people think it’s a religious or ethnic problem and blow things out of proportion when it actually is just an altercation between two individuals. But I guess we’ll see how it turns out …

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Posted by Fahim at 6:56 am   Comments (0)