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October 06 2011

Cuba: Fonseca Told to Get Lawyer

Uncommon Sense finds it interesting that jailed dissidents Sara Fonseca and her husband Julio Leon have been advised to obtain legal counsel, calling it “a suggestion that indicates the regime plans to formally prosecute the couple because of their anti-communist activism.”

Trinidad & Tobago: Proper Procurement Procedure

Afra Raymond blogs about the importance of proper procurement practices regarding “the development of Invader’s Bay, a 70-acre parcel of State-owned reclaimed land”, saying: “The publication of the [Request For Proposal]…give the impression that a proper procurement process is underway at Invader’s Bay. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Palestine: Blogger Rasha Hilwi Not Welcome in Tunisia

Palestinian blogger Rasha Hilwi (Photo credit: Ehab Shukha)

Rasha Hilwi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is a well-known journalist and blogger, and she was among the Palestinian bloggers refused visas to Tunisia in order to attend the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting that took place from October 3-6. Global Voices has interviewed Rasha, asking her about blogging, her work, and her feelings at not being allowed to attend the meeting.

Global Voices (GV): How long have you been blogging?

بدأت بالتدوين في العام 2007، وأنشأت مدونتي “زغرودة”، اختياري لهذا الإسم جاء من منطلق مفهوم “الزغرودة” في تراثنا الفلسطيني، والتي بدورها تجمع ما بين الفرح والحزن. وهذا عالمنا، المليء بتفاصيل السعادة، الحزن، الألم والأمل، الحبّ والفراق، الاشتياق..والتي تحتويها “الزغرودة” كلّها.
Rasha Hilwi (RH): I began blogging in 2007 when I started my blog “Zaghroda” (ululation). My choice of this name stems from the concept of “zaghroda” in our Palestinian heritage, which at different times can mean joy or sadness. That is our world, filled with details of happiness and sadness, pain and hope, love and separation, and longing. All this is contained in “zaghroda”.

GV: You are a journalist who writes for various newspapers and websites, so what kind of subject makes you choose to write a blog post instead of an article?

مدونتي تجمع “عالمي الكتابي”، ففيها مقالاتي وتقاريري الصحافية والتي تختص بالفنّ والثقافة في فلسطين والعالم العربيوالسياسة ومواضيع تخص قضايا الشباب الفلسطيني. وفيها نصوصي الأدبية المنشورة وفيها خواطري الخاصة التي تُنشر فقط عبر صفحات المدونة. في معظمها تحكي تفاصيل حياتية أعيشها في بلدي أو بالخارج، مع أصدقائي، في العمل، هي التفاصيل الخاصة والتي من الممكن عاشها أو يعيشها غيري، إن كان في فلسطين أو العالم. هي التفاصيل الحياتية التي لا نعلم أحياناً إنها تُشبه تفاصيل حياتية لأشخاص آخرين، نعرفهم أو لا نعرفهم. هي إنسانيتي كفلسطينية- و”الحقيقة في التفاصيل”.
RH: My blog is where my “world of writing” is collected; on it you will find my articles, my feature pieces about art and culture in Palestine and the Arab world and about politics and issues concerning Palestinian youth, and my published literary texts. In addition there are my thoughts that are only published on my blog. Most of them talk about details of my life at home or when I am travelling, when I am with my friends, and when I am at work. They are personal details that anyone else could experience or have experienced, whether in Palestine or elsewhere in the world. They are details about life that sometimes we don’t realise resemble details of other people’s lives, whether we know those people or not. They are my humanity as a Palestinian. “The truth is in the details.”

GV: Is blogging popular among Palestinians in Israel?

مفهوم التدوين ليس شائعاً لكنه موجود وبشكل عميق عند الفلسطينيين في الـ 48. لربما هو يأخذ منحى آخر، بعيد عن استخدام الأسماء المستعارة في النشر. قلائل من المدونيين الفلسطينيين في الداخل ينشرون بأسماء مستعارة، إلا أنهم موجودون ومؤخراً نشاطهم أصبح أقل. إلا أن الأغلبية تتعامل مع المدونة كموقع إلكتروني الخاص على شبكة الانترنت، الذي ينشر به كتاباته، مقالاته أو أعماله الفنّية أياً كانت.
RH: The concept of blogging is not widespread but it does have an established presence among Palestinians in 48 [Israel]. It has perhaps taken a different direction, away from the use of online pseudonyms. Few of the Palestinian bloggers [in Israel] write online using pseudonyms. Nevertheless, there are bloggers, although recently their activity has decreased, and the majority treat their blogs as their personal websites on which they publish their writings, articles, artistic works, or whatever it might be.

GV: How about social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter - are they having an impact on how Palestinians in Israel communicate, and perhaps organise politically?

بما يتعلق بالإعلام الشعبي وفلسطينيي الداخل (48) والتواصل فيما بينهم.. أعتقد أن لموقع الفيسبوك الاجتماعي أكثر شعبية في صفوف فلسطينيين الداخل، بما يتعلق بالاستخدام والتواصل ومنه التعبير عن الآراء والمواقف السياسية بالإضافة إلى هذا استغلال منصة الفيسبوك للترويج والإعلان عن نشاطات مختلفة؛ سياسية، ثقافية، فنّية أم إجتماعية كانت.
أما “التويتر”، فأشعر أنه مؤخراً بدأ يأخذ حيزاً أكبر في النشاط الافتراضي لدى فلسطينيي الداخل، خاصة الناشطين منهم في المجالات المختلفة وبالأخص السياسية.. وهذا بعد أن لوحظ تأثير التويتر على الإعلام الرسمي وإيصال صوت الشارع إلى العالم بسرعة. وإيصال الخبر في اللحظة الحقيقية.
RH: As far as popular media and the Palestinians inside 48 [Israel] and their communication with each other is concerned… I think that Facebook is most popular among them, with respect to its use for the communication and expression of opinions and political positions, in addition to the use of Facebook to promote and publicise various activities, whether political, cultural, artistic or social.
Regarding Twitter, I feel that it has recently started to play a greater role in the online activities of Palestinians [in Israel], particularly activists in various fields, especially political. This was after the impact of Twitter on official media was observed, as well as the way the voice of the street could quickly reach the world, and the delivery of real-time news.

GV: Are you involved in any other online projects?

أنا عضو في هيئة تحرير موقع “قديتا.نت”، موقع ثقافي سياسي، يرأسه كلّ من علاء حليحل وهشام نفّاع.
بالإضافة إلى كوني عضو في هيئة التحرير، فأنا أيضاً محررة زاوية الموسيقى في الموقع والتي تحمل إسم “موسيقديتا”.
بالإضافة إلى كوني جزء من شبكة المدونات العربيات والدنماركيات، والتي تلتقي مرتين من كلّ عام؛ التقينا مرة في القاهرة في شهر أيار 2010 ومرة في عمان في شهر كانون الأول 2010 (للأسف لم أتمكن من حضور هذا اللقاء) ومن ثم في نهاية أيار/ مايو 2011 في كوبنهاجن، وهذه الشبكة لديها موقع لكل المشتركات فيها، نعمل على كتابة مواد أسبوعية وفقاً لموضوع ما تختاره كلّ منا.
RH: I am a member of the editorial board of the website Qadita.net, a cultural and political site, headed by Alaa Hlehel and Hisham Naffaa.
In addition to being a member of the Editorial Board, I am also the editor of the music section of the site that is called “Musiqadita”.
I am also part of a network of female bloggers, Arab and Danish [organised by Danish PEN], which meets twice each year; we met once in Cairo in May 2010, and once in Amman in December 2010 (but unfortunately I could not attend that meeting), and then at the end of May 2011 in Copenhagen. This network has a site for all the participants where we work on writing articles weekly, according to a theme that we choose.

GV: You and eleven other Palestinian bloggers were invited to attend the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting currently taking place in Tunis, but were not granted Tunisian visas. Can you tell us what happened? Was there a reason given?

لأسباب غير معروفة حتى الآن، وصراحة، لا أعلم لماذا هي غير معروفة! مُنعت أنا و12 مدون ومدونة فلسطينيين (من عكّا، الناصرة، حيفا، أم الفحم، غزة، رام الله والقدس) من الذهاب إلى تونس والمشاركة في المؤتمر.. وذلك لأن تأشيرات دخولنا رُفضت، بالرغم من إلتزامنا الكامل بالأوراق والمواعيد.
RH: It is for reasons not yet known, and frankly, I do not know why they are not known! I was among twelve Palestinian bloggers (from Akka, Nazareth, Haifa, Um Al Fahm, Gaza, Ramallah and Jerusalem) who were prevented from going to Tunisia and participating in the meeting. This is because our entry visas were refused, despite us submitting all the required papers and attending the required appointments.
كان يجب أن نشارك أصدقائنا العرب بأيام المؤتمر، لنتشارك الخبرات ونلقي نظرة قريبة وبعيداً عن الشاشات على تجربة كلّ مدون ومدونة، ونعطي فرصة لأصدقائنا المدونين بإلقاء نظرة عن قرب لكلّ ما يحدث في فلسطين التاريخية.. أو ببساطة، لمجرد الإلتقاء.. الحق الإنساني الأول.
We should have been able to share the days of the meeting with our Arab friends, to share our experiences and take a closer look, away from our screens, at the experience of every blogger. To give an opportunity to our blogger friends to see more closely what is happening in historical Palestine. Or simply, just to meet – the most basic human right.
ربما، أصبح من غير المهم الآن ما هي الأسباب، هذا الرفض موجع، لأن منذ 18 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر أعتقدنا، ولا زلنا نعتقد، أن العالم يتغيير، وأن الغد يأتي إلينا بأيام أفضل.
كان من الممكن أن يكون هذا المؤتمر على أرض تونس الثورة فرصة للمدونيين الفلسطينين بأن يلتقوا بأشقائهم العرب وحتى ببعضهم البعض، فإبن رام الله ممنوع من زيارة حيفا، وإبنة حيفا ممنوعة من زيارة غزة، وإبن غزة ممنوع من زيارة القدس.. كان يمكن أن يكون هذا اللقاء على أرض تونس، التي احتضنت الفلسطينيين على مدار التاريخ.. لكنه لم يكن.
Perhaps it now unimportant what the reasons are. This rejection is painful because since December 18 [the start of protests in Tunisia] we believed, and still believe, that the world is changing, and that with tomorrow will come better days.

This meeting in Tunisia, the land of revolution, was a chance for Palestinian bloggers to meet their Arab brethren and even each other (because a son of Ramallah is forbidden from visiting Haifa, and a daughter of Haifa is forbidden from visiting Gaza, and a son of Gaza is forbidden from visiting Jerusalem…) It would have been possible for them to meet in Tunisia, which has hosted Palestinians in the past… But it was not the case.

Tunisia: Arab Bloggers Discuss the Situation in Syria

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

Syria has been on the minds and lips of many participants of this week's Third Arab Bloggers Meeting in Tunis. The celebratory spirit provoked by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt has been dampened by discussions about Syria, where regime violence is increasing, the death toll is nearing 3,000, and many see no end in sight.

Several sessions on Syria have taken place at the meeting. On Wednesday, bloggers discussed the impact of digital activism in Syria, focusing heavily on the Syrian Electronic Army, the pro-regime hacking group recently responsible for defacing Harvard University's website. Noting that President Bashar Al Assad had thanked the Electronic Army for its efforts, Amira Al Hussaini commented: “SICK.”

A symbol used by Syrian digital activists, urging an end to repression

One Syrian participant stated that the impact of digital activists in Syria has been “minimal,” and quoting another participant, @weddady remarked that “many of #Syria electronic activists impact was strictly limited to mobilizing foreign media, they're not organizers on the ground.”

The discussion also touched upon the issue of authenticity, with some Syrians inside the country emphasizing the legitimacy of diaspora voices, as @redrazan tweeted:

Treating the voices of Syrians inside as authentic and the ones in disapora as not so much, is ridiculous. #Syria

Anonymously quoting a Syrian participant, @ahmed tweeted:

How can Syrians abroad help protesters on the ground in Syria? Is there ways to do that? #ab11

Bloggers also discussed organizing in Syria, where protests are often quickly dispersed and movement is restricted. @ahmed translated and transcribed the comments of Syrian participants, noting the difficulty of organizing and remarking that Syrians “invented “flying protestes”: quick 2-min protest that gets filmed & uploaded.”

Syria is “pulling at my heart strings”

Thursday morning, one of the Syrian participants who had recently spent time in the country gave a talk on the dire situation in the country, prompting Jordanian blogger Naseem Tarawnah (@Tarawnah) to note:

Hands down, #Syria has been the most emotional talk of #AB11 & as a Jordanian its pulling at my heart strings. #BlessSyria

Quoting the speaker, Tarawnah also wrote that, after seven months, “no opposition group has demonstrated its ability to break the regime,” asking “Where do we go from here?”

Syrian-Spanish blogger Leila Nachawati also quoted the speaker, explaining:

Syrian participant explained the ways in which the Syrian government is trying to ignite sectarianism to provoke a civil war.

Although the situation is dire, the Syrian speaker injected hopefulness into the discussion. According to Lilian Wagdy, the blogger also proclaimed that the only hope for #Syria is #Egypt 's revolution ending in success, and that Syrians don't want to “co-exist together, [they] want to ‘live' together.”

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

October 05 2011

Ukraine: “Tension is Growing”

Foreign Notes reviews Ukraine's relationship with Gazprom prior to Yulia Tymoshenko's 2009 deal (”for which she may be jailed for seven years”); quotes economist and politician Oleksandra Kuzhel on the conditions in which small- and medium-sized Ukrainian businesses have found themselves in; and writes about the expensive watches “so beloved by Ukraine's flashy elites” and about the uncivilized ways of PM Mykola Azarov's bodyguards, concluding: “When are people going to say, ‘Enough is enough?'”

Russia: State-Funded Blogging School Opens in Chelyabinsk

Svetlana Gladkova of Profy comments on the launch of the first public blogging school in Chelyabinsk, Russia: “This state-funded not-for-profit nature of the school is particularly interesting because it looks like the authorities in Russia have not only realized the power of social media but have decided to influence it by teaching people to blog properly. And I can’t help but suspect that at least some of the graduates will be invited by those very authorities to blog in public on behalf of some institutions that might need improvement of their image in the eyes of the general public […].”

Bahrain: 15 Year Jail Sentences for Medics who Treated Protesters

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

An online invitation for a sit-in that took place Tuesday afternoon to support Bahraini medics

After months of detention and a hunger strike, Bahraini medics were released a month ago on bail waiting for their trials. The shocker came when the court announced its verdict, sentencing them to five to 15 years in jail and accusing then of different charges, including threatening public order, possession of weapons, invasion of the country's main hospital the Salmaniya Medical Complex, and many other fabricated accusations that the regime and its media apparatus have imagined since Bahrain's protests started on February 14.

The doctors, who have been arrested and subjected to torture because they witnessed the atrocities committed by the state against the protesters first hand, have taken their struggle online, addressing international media and human rights organizations through Twitter and telling the world their stories in their own words.

Among them is Dr Nada Dhaif (@NadaDhaif), who was brave enough to talk about what she has been through in jail and sending video letters through Amnesty International and BBC to the world, as part of her testimony. Dhaif, who has been sentenced to 15 years, has accused a member of the Bahraini ruling family Nourah Al-Khalifa, in her recent interviews, of torturing her and calling her “a Shia pig.”

In one of her tweets, Dhaif, who ran a makeshift clinic to treat the protesters at the Pearl or Lulu Roundabout, the epicenter of protests in Bahrain, wrote:

@NadaDhaif: Gov spokesperson said that nobody is above the law including members of the royal family. A royal family member was involved in my torture.

Another doctor sentenced to 15 years is Dr Ghassan Dhaif (@ghassandhaif), whose wife Zahra Al-Sammak (@Zahrasammak), has also been sentenced to five years. The couple have three children and have been tweeting about their ordeal.

Their predicament comes as a shock to a lot of people knowing that the children of this couple will live without their parents who have only practiced their job as doctors trying to save the lives of wounded protesters. The husband wrote the reaction of his children in several tweets:

@ghassandhaif: My children asked me: Baba are you going to jail for 15 years and mama for 5 years after what you have done to save lives? I broke in tears

@ghassandhaif: My children told me: Baba we are proud of you and mama coz both of you loved people and people loved you. We will wait for both of you.

Dr Al-Sammak (@Zahrasammak) tweeted about the time she spent in jail when she was arrested:

لقد عالجنا المرضى بكل مهنية وعدم انحيازلذلك قبض علينا وزج بنا في السجن وتعرضنا لأبشع أنواع التعذيب لكي نوقع على إعترافات على أشياءلم نقترفها
@Zahrasammak: We have treated patients in a professional manner and without taking sides and that's why we were arrested, put in jail, and tortured in the ugliest ways to sign on confessions for actions we haven't committed.

Dr Ali Alerki (@DrAlekri), who has also been handed a 15 year prison sentence, doesn't tweet much, yet he keeps track by retweeting updates. He was famous for the video that saw him breaking into tears at Salmaniya Medical Complex after seeing all those wounded and having the hospital attacked by riot police.

DR Alerki wrote saying, a few days ago:

أسواء ما يحز في نفسي من تلك التهم اننا منعنا العلاج عن إخواننا من الطاءفة السنية وان من أحبائي من المرضى من صدق مثل تلك الأكاذيب
@DrAlekri: What really hurts me is that they charged us of refusing to treat our Sunni brothers. Unfortunately, there are some of my beloved patients who believed these lies.

One of the dedicated Twitter users for the news of Bahraini medics is (@Freedom4BahDrs) and in the following tweets, he writes down sentences from the medics' interviews and testimonies:

@Freedom4BahDrs: Bahrain Sentenced Medics: we were prevented from calling or meeting our families. We met them only after 3 months, in bad situation.

@Freedom4BahDrs: Bahrain Detained Medics: we were prevented from showering & changing clothes for 19 days in some cases & we had bad smells coming out of our bodies.

@Freedom4BahDrs: Bahrain Detained Medics: We were prevented from sleep and forced go stand 24 hours, except for few minutes to eat.


@Freedom4BahDrs
: Bahrain Detained Medics: We have been tortured physically, physiologically & threatened with rape. We were insulted for our religious beliefs.

@Freedom4BahDrs: Bahrain Detained Medics: They deliberately destroyed contents of our houses, insulted us &beaten us in front of our families.

The doctors' trial and sentences have created an outcry, both locally and internationally, particularly since the doctors have many years of experience under their belts and are well respected among their patients and peers.

@Anarchist74 wrote saying:

@Anarchist74: You've killed & tortured. You used foreign military force. You've arrested&tortured doctors. You have expelled students. What more?

(@in_bahrain) wrote one more sad tweet in reaction of the court decision:

@in_bahrain: The best doctors, teachers, human rights advocates, entrepreneurs even handball players all in jail! Who's left?

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

Reposted bykellerabteil kellerabteil

Cuba, Jamaica: “Them is Russians Too”

“The totalitarian regime in Cuba seeks to rewrite its past to give the appearance of being relevant and ‘with it'”: Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter uses an upcoming homage concert to Bob Marley to prove his point, saying: “The best way Cubans can honor Bob Marley is to get up and stand up for their rights.”

Brazil: Mobilization on Twitter Takes Down Pedophile Blog

Following wide mobilization via social media, Brazilian netizens managed to take down a pedophile blog just hours after the first alert was sent on Twitter, on the morning of Monday, October 3, 2011.

The blog in question, called Sim a Pedofilia (Yes to Pedophilia) [pt], was very clear in its call for the sexual abuse of minors. The page had only one post with a video containing explicit images, published on July 15 and had 454 critical comments. Nevertheless, it stayed up for almost three months.

In the state of Alagoas, journalist Marcos Rodrigues, who usually follows social media while his radio show is on air, explains on the blog Jornal do Ócio (Journal of Leisure) [pt] how the situation unfolded:

Screenshot of Twitter action from blog Jornal do Ócio

Screenshot of Twitter action from blog Jornal do Ócio

Hj, enquanto estava no ar com o nosso [programa de rádio] “Jornal do Povo” recebí no twitter uma postagem dando conta da existência de um site de pedofilia. Em meio a tantos protestos de indignação também me revoltei ao ver a única postagem existente.

A cena era chocante. Uma criança estava sendo abusada por um adulto. No blog o autor, desconhecido e covarde, defendia a pedofilia. Cinicamente dizia sim a essa prática nefasta e abominável.

Diante deste fato repugnante não tivemos dúvidas. Acionamos a Polícia Federal e o delegado Políbio Brandão respondeu imediatamente. Depois de orientar no ar como se deveria proceder, poucas horas depois - duas especificamente- o site foi tirado do ar.

Today, while I was on air with our [radio show] “Jornal do Povo” (People's Journal) I received a tweet calling attention to the existence of a pedophile website. Amidst so many demonstrations of anger I also felt furious when I saw the blog's single post.

The scene was shocking. One child was being abused by an adult. On the blog, the unknown and cowardly author defended pedophilia. [He/she] cynically said yes to this despicable and abominable practice.

Given this repugnant fact we had no doubt. We contacted the federal police and the sheriff Políbio Brandão replied immediately. After he gave guidance on air on how to proceed, a few hours later - specifically two - the site was taken down.

Lenilda Luna (@lenildaluna), also a journalist, explains [pt] that any person can report abuse on blogging platforms, such as Blogger:

@lwisster: @CanAlmeida @oscardemelo no próprio blog, em cima, tem “denunciar abuso”. Qto mais pessoas denunciarem, melhor!

@lwisster: @CanAlmeida @oscardemelo on the blog itself, at the top, there is a “report abuse” button. The more people who report it, the better!

Lua Beserra (@LuaBeserra), who uses Twitter to exercize citizenship, celebrates [pt]:

@LuaBeserra: pedofilia na internet? DENUNCIEM! http://denuncia.pf.gov.br, hoje eu e meus companheiros do twitter tiramos do ar um blog de pedófilos!

@LuaBeserra: pedophilia on the internet? REPORT! http://denuncia.pf.gov.br today me and my Twitter companions took down a pedophile's blog!

Apparently, it was not the first time that this blog had showed up. Verônica Muzzi (@VeMuzzi) writes [pt]:

@VeMuzzi: Eu não acredito que o filho da puta que criou o blog simapedofilia.blogspot.com voltou. Ele ainda não foi preso não ? af.

@VeMuzzi: I can't believe that the son of a bitch who created the blog simapedofilia.blogspot.com is back. Hasn't he been arrested yet? af.

Ronaldo Júnior (@RoonaldGomez) states that the action shouldn't end with the blog's deletion:

@RoonaldGomez: Galeeera o Blog simapedofilia.blogspot.com foi removido, ISSO É BOM, mas tem um grande problema, eu quero ver o cara É PRESO

@RoonaldGomez: Guys, the blog simapedofilia.blogspot.com has been removed. THAT IS GOOD, but there is a big problem, what I want to see is this guy ARRESTED.

Perhaps it is possible, if users get together to investigate the case. The final conclusion [pt] of Marcos Rodrigues, who says he is from the time when people had to go onto the streets to mobilize, is that, united, the users of social networks have a lot of power:

Então, cheguei a conclusão que uma nova forma de cobrar e exigir está em prática. Mais do que nunca, precisamos usar essas ferramentas com mais habilidade. Alguém vai nos ler, nos ouvir e, principalmente, agir.

So I reached the conclusion that a new way of identifying responsibility and demanding action is in practice. More than ever we need to use these tools with more skill. Someone will read us, will hear us, and, most importantly, will act.

October 04 2011

Tunisia: Palestinian Bloggers Denied Entry to Attend Arab Bloggers Meeting

Tunisian authorities refused to grant Palestinian bloggers visas to attend the Third Arab bloggers meeting taking place in Tunis from the 3rd to the 6th of October.

The meeting is an attraction to Arab bloggers and activists, and an opportunity for them to exchange expertise and learn from each other. The event is co-hosted by Global Voices, Nawaat and Heinrich Böll Foundation and is attended by around 100 bloggers from nearly all Arab countries.

The decision to block Palestinian bloggers from attending the event came as a shock to Arab bloggers, and no one would have really expected such a move to come from a country, that sparked the so called Arab Spring, and led the calls for freedom across the region.

On October 2, Palestinian blogger Saleh Dawabsheh, who lives in Ramallah tweeted:

الداخلية التونسية ترفض اعطاء الفلسطينيين تأشيرات دخول لتونس لحضور مؤتمر المدونين العرب لأسباب غير معروفة #AB11
Tunisian Interior Ministry refuses to grant Palestinians visas to enter Tunisia and attend the Arab Bloggers Meeting for unknown reasons

On Monday, October 3, the day when the Arab Bloggers Meeting was launched, Palestinian bloggers tried one more time to get their visas, but once again they were denied entry to Tunisia.

Saleh Dawabsheh tweeted on October 3:

سيقوم المدونون الفلسطينيون الذين تم رفض تأشيراتهم لدخول تونس بحملة لنشر ما حدث وشجب هذه الاهانة وهذا التمميز العنصري #AB11 #Tunisia #Tunis
Palestinian bloggers who were denied entry to Tunisia will launch a campaign to talk about what happened, and denounce this humiliation and racial discrimination

Boycotting the Meeting:

Tunisian blogger @tounsiahourra decided to boycott the meeting in solidarity with the Palestinian bloggers.

She tweeted on October 2:

أعلن عدم مشاركتي في الملتقى الثالث للمدونين العرب الذي ينعقد في تونس غدا. تضامنا مع المدونين الفلسطينيين الذين لم يمنحوا تأشيرات لتونس #AB11
In solidarity with Palestinian bloggers denied entry to Tunisia, I announce that I won't take part in the third Arab Bloggers meeting

She adds in another tweet:

وأسخر كثيرا من النظام في تونس يتشدق باعترافه بعضوية فلسطين في الامم المتحدة وبنفس الوقت يرفض دخول مدونين فلسطينين يحاربون الاحتلال الى تونس

The regime in Tunisia is ridiculous. They support the Palestinian bid for statehood and at the same time deny entry to Palestinian bloggers fighting the occupation

Photo by Palestinian activist @almagdela shared via Twitpic

#AB11 Stand in Solidarity with Palestinian Bloggers:

Bloggers and activists taking part in the meeting didn't forget their Palestinian counterparts.

During the second day of the meeting, Syrian activist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi (@RedRazan) was walking around with a banner on her back saying:” OK, Pals denied entry. Let's not just tweet about it.”

Moroccan blogger Hisham Almiraat a

Campaign Launched:

An online campaign “to demand an explanation from the Tunisian Ministry of Interior” was launched. A Facebook Page called Tunisian Ministry of Interior rejected the Palestinian bloggers' VISAs, and event called Petition: Why were Palestinian bloggers' prevented from accessing Tunisia were created. On Twitter, the hash tag #Visarejected is being constantly updated to spread the word about what had happened.

Further Reading:

Storify: Arab Bloggers Meeting: Palestinians denied entry to Tunis

Iran: “17 million Iranians on Facebook”

A Basij responsible says [fa] that 17 million Iranians are Facebook fans and filtering has been useless.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

Arab Bloggers Meet in Tunis

On Monday in Tunis, the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting kicked off with a day-long public conference. The meeting is co-hosted by Global Voices, Nawaat and Heinrich Böll Foundation and is attended by around 100 bloggers from nearly all Arab countries. Naturally, the conference was well-blogged, not only on the official Arab Bloggers blog, but also by many participants.

Links to media and blog coverage are being collected here (please post in the comments section to let us know what we may have missed).

An Al Jazeera story about the meeting proclaimed: “Arab bloggers say Arab Spring has gone global“. English-language blog coverage included Jillian York's posts on Day 1, Part 1 and a special panel featuring Tunisian bloggers who are now involved with Tunisian politics in various ways. The biggest news came from a ground-breaking talk by the new president of the Tunisian Internet Agency, in which he revealed that Tunisia secretly tested censorship software for Western companies.

Mohamed ElGohary, co-editor of Lingua Arabic. Photo by Mohamed Alâa Guedich (used with permission)

The meeting continues in a smaller, invitation-only workshop setting for the next three days. Participants continue to tweet about the discussions in multiple languages using the #AB11 hashtag, and the conference blog will continue to post updates. So stay tuned.

The 2nd Arab Bloggers Meeting, held in Beirut in 2009, is believed by many bloggers to have played an important role in building personal ties and trust among bloggers throughout the region - ties which enabled them to coordinate more easily during the Arab Spring.

Cuba: 486 Reported Political Arrests

“The month of September 2011 has proven to be the blackest month this year in Cuba”: Babalu explains why and Uncommon Sense adds: “The numbers just don't lie.”

Curacao: Remembering Our Heroes

TRIUNFO DI SABLIKA remembers the day in 1795 when “Tula and the rest of our liberation warriors [were] executed after they revolted against the Dutch slavery system”, saying: “One of the main reasons you forget about the killings of our freedom fighting warriors easily is because we have a cultural self-esteem deficient media.”

North Korea: Kim Jong-il's Grandson and His Footprint in Social Media

Kim Han-sol, a teenager believed to be the grandson of Kim Jong-il has blocked access to his social media accounts after media made numerous reports on his admission into a Bosnian school. Many have succeeded in capturing his comments and pictures before access has been denied. North Korea Tech blog posted some examples.

Thailand: Prime Minister Cancels Twitter Account

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has stopped tweeting after her twitter account, @PouYingluck, was hacked a few days ago. The hacker was able to post the following messages using the Prime Minister’s account

“You can't protect even your Twitter account. How can you safeguard the country? Think about it my brothers and sisters.”

“This country is a business we run for our cronies and not for the Thai people. We serve our supporters and not our opponents.”

“Do the poor have a chance? We are exploiting the poor hoping for their votes to support us to plunder the country.”

“Is it time for our country to change for the better and not project an image to aid businesses, vested interests and relatives?”

“Education is most important to the country. But why is there a policy for free distribution of tablets instead of a curriculum or wage hike for teachers?”

The hacker admitted that Yingluck didn’t post those tweets

“Please be informed that a hacker has accessed the account and none of the messages is being posted by PM Yingluck.”

Twitter messages posted by the hacker. Translation by Saksith Saiyasombut

Yingluck is Thailand’s first female Prime Minister. She is the younger sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin who was ousted by a coup in 2006. Thaksin went into exile after he was convicted of plunder charges.

Saksith Saiyasombut believes the hacker has given some clues about his gender

At this time nothing is known about the people behind these messages other than the fact that the last word in the last tweet is the politeness-particle ครับ (“khrap”), which exposes the hacker to be male.

Thai Intelligence News Study Center thinks the hacker is an ultra nationalist

The twitter appears to be an “Ultra-Nationalist” based on the following message he (posted on) Twitter with the Yingluck account.

The hacker also attacked modern business and economics principles

The ultra-nationalist Thais, is a segment of the Thai population that rejects Globalization and progressive development, but prefer isolation and sufficiency oriented development.

Suthichai Yoon reports the initial reactions of netizens

Wow! some real self-criticisms by the PM? Early soul-searching statements? A few of the remarks in the account were about how this government is mishandling the problems of the country.

Soon,the Twitter world was abuzz with questions: “Is the PM's Twitter account hacked?” or “Strange things are happening at the PM's Twitter account” and things along that line.

Within half an hour, the “PM's team” posted an urgent message, declaring that the prime minister's Twitter account has been hacked and that some of the messages posted this morning were fake

Here are some twitter comments from Bangkok

@kaybic PM Yingluck in not herself today - her Twitter account has been hacked!

@TAN_Network ICT Min Anudit says PM's Twitter account was hacked from inside Thailand but he refuses to disclose more info;warned ministers to beware

@sunaibkk PM Yingluck's Twitter account was hacked and filled with critical comments on government policy.

@Hooba_kwan Thai PM's twitter account was hacked. Shame on you,ICT.

@nutrahat Not only the Thai PM's twitter accout is hacked, her brain was hacked too(by her bro) and that was a long long time ago, hooray for Thailand

@IbbyEve Thai PM's twitter account been hacked hahaha sooo funny. Anyway, hacked or not, it's same same full of crap!

@sathornstreet Got the answer…the Clone's tweeter account has been hacked! With a handful of staff @PouYingluck still can't manage her own twitter acct.

@juliechungfso Press reports Yingluck's Twitter account hacked, following FinanceMin & MFA incidents this month. Time for everyone to review cyber security

@ppearxoxo Im totally in love with the person who hacked yingluck's twitter!

@Pie_Eip That bro who hacked Thai PM's twitter ac. I think he's cool ;)

October 03 2011

Puerto Rico: Occupy Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has joined the occupation movement that has spread across the United States, and they are also using Facebook and Twitter to communicate and share information.

USA: Occupy Together

The website Occupy Together offers a wealth of information on the social movements catalyzing in many cities in the United States and in other countries around the world against corporate greed and corruption.

-------------------------

oAnth:

this entry is part of the OccupyWallStreet compilation 2011-09/10, here.

Philippines: Fake Government Photo Spawns Meme

Online furor over a Philippine government agency's posting of a fabricated photo of its officials inspecting a typhoon-struck avenue on its official Facebook page has spawned a meme wherein netizens make their own versions of the officials superimposed on different other locations.

Last September 28, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) uploaded an edited photo showing DPWH officials inspecting the damages brought by Typhoon Nesat. The photo caption reads:

DPWH INSPECTS COLLAPSED SEAWALL AT ROXAS BOULEVARD. DPWH Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo with NCR Director Reynaldo G. Tagudando and South Manila District Engineer Mikunug D. Macud inspect the extent of damaged seawall in Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard caused by Typhoon Pedring.

The DPWH quickly pulled out the controversial photo and issued an apology after irate bloggers criticized the fabrication of the field inspection's documentation to project a good image to the public.

We profusely apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused them and the general public. Rest assured that we shall exert more diligence and prudence in the execution of our mandate to inform the public of our plans, programs, projects and official activities.

Said enhanced photo was not the official photo release of the Department.

But we would like to inform the public that the three officials were actually on site as part of the Department’s Post Disaster Assessment activities.

But the damage has been done with Pierre Albert San Diego of the blog Controlled Chaos exposing the trick:

I re-checked the image and concluded that DPWH fabricated this picture. Why they had to edit it and not just simply compose a photo with all three guys, I do not know. Although my evil mind tells me that the DPWH wants a pogi photo showing their bosses in deep thought while assessing the disaster site, and they didn’t have the opportunity to pose because those guys were probably there for 15 minutes max – so they just lasso tooled the hell out of that pic.

Here are my findings on how lame this photo was ‘shopped.

He adds that the matter only shows the persistence of “utak wangwang” or a culture of impunity and corruption that the Aquino government has repeatedly promised to stamp out from its ranks:

Some say this is a very minor issue, but I see this as a nice sample of DPWH’s lack of integrity. If they can fabricate simple things like this, just imagine what these guys can do to progress billings and acceptance of projects. Also, while relatively mild, isn’t this a classic example of “Utak Wangwang?” While unethical and unnecessary, they thought they could get away with fabricating photos so they tried to.

Netizens have created the Facebook page DPWHERE collecting photoshopped images of the DPWH officials superimposed on different images. The Ayson Chronicles selects a sampling of what he considers an “editor's choice” of the DPWHERE postings:

*Plop* Culture also posts some more funny DPWH photos:

The Indolent Indio has also uploaded what he calls “a fund exploitable” .PNG photo of the three officials and encouraged his readers to join the “DPWH meme.”

Where will our Public Works officials turn up next? Send us your shopped pics at indolentry at indolentindio dot com or onetamad at indolentindio dot com!

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