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February 22 2014

December 17 2013

Le modèle européen

Les « transferts publics » désignent les pensions de retraite financées par des prélèvements publics (cotisation ou impôt). Ils constituent l'essentiel des revenus des retraités en Europe. / Allemagne, Belgique, Canada, États-Unis, Europe, France, Italie, Japon, Royaume-Uni, Démographie, Fiscalité, (...) / Allemagne, Belgique, Canada, États-Unis, Europe, France, Italie, Japon, Royaume-Uni, Démographie, Fiscalité, Protection sociale, Service public, Suède, Retraites - Démographie

December 08 2013

Syria's Desolate Winter Just Got $100,347 Times Warmer

With the help of netizens, the Illinois-based Karam Foundation raised a total of $100,347 from an original goal of $10,000 in its “Shave a Mustache, Keep a Syrian Child Warm” virtual campaign that lasted from November 30 to December 4.

The campaign originally yielded a stunning $56,287 by December 3 and in effect won the Razoo Foundation’s #GivingTuesday competition, hence winning an additional $15,000. The donations amount continues to increase to date.

It involved 27 participants and organizers from 12 teams based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, who competed to raise money by not shaving their movember mustaches.

Photo source: Karam Foundation's fundraiser page

Photo source: Karam Foundation's fundraiser page

Proceeds of the campaign will go to creating $20 winter packages for children inside Syria that include a winter coat, a blanket, and a hat, mitten or scarf in each set.

Kareem Omara, one of the organizers, said he was ecstatic to be part of the campaign, adding that having hope can go a long way:

Every single one of you is a beautiful person that has made a difference whether you donated, advertised, or whatever. I mean I'm just some broke college student that can't donate that much, but I found my way to contribute. Don't lose hope and think you can't make a difference. We can all contribute in our own way, no matter how big or how small.

Another organizer, Kenan Rahmani stressed on the need for united efforts to yield the best results:

We are BETTER when we're TOGETHER. Seriously people. The activist community always likes to go in ten directions at once and we hardly ever come together like we did for this campaign. Maybe I am guilty of this too. I completely understand that everyone has their own ideas and they want others to support them.

Mohannad, too, was quite pleased with what they achieved:

Syrian columnist Robin Yassin-Kassab, who also participated in the campaign, vouched for the integrity of the organizers, adding that:

I know the organizers of this charity and can vouch that they are absolutely honest, that every single penny will go to keeping a Syrian child warm this winter. Please do donate, and please share this page. We just have a few days to raise as much as we possibly can.

Winter Has Come

Three years into unrest, Syria’s winter is far from dead, and spring is nowhere near. If not the shelling – then the rattling cold will keep Syria’s little angels from sleep at night. In December of 2012, Save the Children organization complied testimonies and photos to document the stark reality Syrian families endure during winter. Quoted in the report, 11-year-old Ali said that while help is provided, it is not enough:

“We have one blanket. We don’t have anything else – even clothes. We received one blanket and there are three of us. How is it going to fit us? How is it going to warm us? It is not enough. We are getting sick – i’m getting sick.”

Earlier last month, Istanbul-based photographer John Wreford said that displaced Syrian families not only endure exile but also have winter to fear:

Help is also needed inside Syria, says Homs-based activist Luisa Zangh, who pleaded for humanitarian help:

Every penny counts. You can still donate here.

December 05 2013

Branchés, déglingués et pensifs

En 1993, avec son premier roman, Génération X (Robert Laffont), le Canadien Douglas Coupland créait un hymne, un emblème pour la tranche d'âge qu'il avait dépeinte : la première génération post-soixante-huitarde, celle de la « culture accélérée », pour reprendre son sous-titre (Tales for an Accelerated (...) / Canada, Animal, Culture, Internet, Littérature, Santé, Technologies de l'information, Technologie, Fiction, Environnement - 2013/12

September 23 2013

Social Media Week Discusses Principles for a Collaborative World

#smw13

Follow @socialmediaweek on Twitter or the hashtags for the event: #SMW13 (general), #SMWBerlin#SMWBog (Bogota), #SMWChicago#SMWLDN (London), #SMWLA (Los Angeles), #SMWMumbai#SMWSP (São Paulo), #SMWTo (Toronto).

Social Media Week, a worldwide event which ”brings people, brands and organizations together to explore how we connect and communicate as a society”, starts today, September 23, 2013.

In the second edition of this year's global conference, with the cities of Berlin, Bogotá, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, São Paulo and Toronto as hosts, more than 1,000 events are expected to take place ”exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media”.

The global theme that marks the fifth year of Social Media Week is “Open & Connected: Principles for a collaborative world”.

Related post on Global Voices - Italy: Social Media Week in Milan and Worldwide (2010)

August 30 2013

TERRA 818: Fallen Gardens

FALLEN GARDENS explores the relationship between garden culture and deer populations. Communities on the Sunshine Coast represent many of the interface locations in British Columbia attempting to balance a respectful relationship between wildlife and the human need to develop aesthetically pleasing home environments. Implicit is the ethical question around how wildlife and human populations interrelate in ways that are environmentally honorable. Produced by Mike McKinlay.

August 22 2013

In Nunavut, Harper pledges $100M for geomapping | NunatsiaqOnline

In Nunavut, Harper pledges $100M for geomapping | NunatsiaqOnline
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674in_nunavut_harper_announced_more_support_for_geo-mapping_of_the

While in Rankin Inlet Aug. 22, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced what a government news release called “significant new support for geo-mapping in Canada’s North, which will promote resource exploration in the region”

#mines #cartographie #canada via @visionscarto

August 20 2013

Ottawa testing $620K stealth snowmobile for Arctic - North - CBC News

Ottawa testing $620K stealth snowmobile for Arctic - North - CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/08/18/north-arctic-snowmobile.html

The Canadian military has been secretly test-driving a $620,000 stealth snowmobile in its quest to quietly whisk troops on clandestine operations in the Arctic.

The Canadian Press has learned that soldiers have taken the new hybrid-electric snowmobile prototype on trial runs to evaluate features such as speed, noise level, battery endurance and acceleration.

The Department of National Defence even has a nickname for its cutting-edge, covert tool: “Loki,” after the “mythological Norse shape-shifting god.”

#arctique #canada

August 15 2013

Video: Protests Against the Secret Agency Scandal Held in North America

As protests against the state secret agency's electioneering keep getting bigger, overseas Koreans and Americans of Korean descent have joined the movement. This photo montage on the Youtube shows small rallies held in major U.S, cities, such as Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Arizona and in Canada.

August 05 2013

Canada : « Le Bureau de la sécurité des transports fait de timides appels pour un contrôle accru »…

#Canada : « Le Bureau de la #sécurité des #transports fait de timides appels pour un contrôle accru » des #réseaux et #compagnies_ferroviaires :

Le Bureau de la sécurité des transports du Canada (BST) exhorte Transports Canada – le département fédéral responsable de réglementer le réseau ferroviaire – à faire des changements « urgents » dans la réglementation afin d’améliorer la sécurité ferroviaire suite à la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic au Québec.

[...]

En raison de la déréglementation des procédures d’exploitation de l’industrie des chemins de fer, Transport Canada n’a pas à approuver les pratiques standards des compagnies ferroviaires. Il n’émet pas non plus de recommandations précises concernant le fait de stationner un train sur une voie principale, de le laisser sans surveillance ou sur le nombre de freins à appliquer. Un porte-parole de Transports Canada a dit à la chaîne publique canadienne CBC que Transports Canada « ne valide pas les règles spécifiques d’une compagnie ferroviaire. La compagnie ferroviaire a la responsabilité d’établir ses #règles particulières et de s’assurer qu’elles satisfont aux exigences du Règlement d’exploitation ferroviaire du Canada. »

[...]

Il y a eu une déréglementation constante de la sécurité du transport ferroviaire au Canada sous les gouvernements libéraux et conservateurs depuis les années 1990. Aujourd’hui, les compagnies ferroviaires effectuent elles-mêmes l’inspection de leurs processus, équipements et infrastructures. Cette supposée « autorégulation » équivaut à donner carte blanche aux compagnies pour qu’elles continuent de lésiner sur la #sécurité dans le but d’améliorer leurs #bénéfices.

Dans une entrevue accordée à CBC peu de temps après la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic, le président de MMA, Edward Burkhardt, a expliqué pourquoi les trains étaient laissés sans surveillance. Les coûts supplémentaires que nécessiterait l’embauche de gardes de sécurité, soit 2 pour cent de plus, forceraient la compagnie à hausser ses tarifs d’un même pourcentage, ce qui pourrait entraîner une perte de #clients et une baisse de #profits.

[...]

Le CP [Canadian Pacific railway, seconde compagnie ferroviaire canadienne] fonctionne avec des trains plus longs, moins de #personnel, a fermé des gares de triage et a réduit ses #investissements qui étaient destinés à l’amélioration de son réseau.

[...]

La catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic n’était pas une aberration comme le gouvernement et de nombreux éditorialistes au pays tentent de le faire croire. Le démantèlement des organes de #contrôle, le manque d’#entretien des #infrastructures et des #conditions_de_travail de plus en plus difficiles pour les #cheminots sont le résultat de décennies de #déréglementation et de privatisation par les gouvernements pour offrir les conditions les plus profitables possible aux compagnies ferroviaires.

Source : http://www.wsws.org/fr/articles/2013/aou2013/mega-a05.shtml

July 17 2013

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s, researcher…

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s, researcher says | Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/07/16/hungry_aboriginal_kids_used_unwittingly_in_nutrition_experiments_researcher

Aboriginal children were deliberately starved in the 1940s and ’50s by government researchers in the name of science.
Milk rations were halved for years at residential schools across the country.
Essential vitamins were kept from people who needed them.
Dental services were withheld because gum health was a measuring tool for scientists and dental care would distort research.

#nutrition #recherche #histoire #canada #peuples_premiers #aborigènes #enfants

June 13 2013

Iranians in Canada Cast Symbolic Votes Days Before Election

'I vote'

“I vote”

Iranians in Canada will not be able to vote in Iran's presidential election on June 14, 2103, but thanks to an initiative [fa] by a group of Iranian expatriates they were at least able to cast a symbolic ballot. At four polling stations in different parts of Toronto, Iranians were able to register who they would have voted for. Social media was useful for organizing the activity, but as Arash Kamangir, a Toronto-based blogger and civil society activist says in this interview with Global Voices, the goal was to encourage face to face political conversations between Iranians in the real world.

Global Voices: Who are you and what did you plan to do?

Arash Kamangir: We are a group of Iranians in Toronto and we do not necessarily have the same points of view on all issues related to Iran, but we obviously have many similar perspectives. One of the points on which all of us have an agreement is that change only happens when people request it and participate in the process of delivering it. We believe that boycotting an election is a convenient, and maybe a romantic and idealistic approach, but nevertheless, in order to be able to be a part of the solution individuals must use their right to vote.

We wanted to raise awareness on the importance of participation in the political process and also state our objection to the closure of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa. To our understanding the Iranian government and the Canadian government, both, are responsible for this outcome. Not only this incident has caused many hardships for the Iranian community in Canada, whom need consulate services for passports and other government-related items, but also, and more importantly, the fact that the Islamic Republic has no official presence on Canadian land has resulted in the loss of many opportunities. For example, the Canadian government was able to be a voice to push for respect for rights of individuals in prison and those being prosecuted in the past. When there was a physical consulate, we, the Iranian population of Canada, were able to engage with the Iranian mission. One of our goals in what we did was to remind and protest against the loss of these opportunities.

Symbolic Vote in Canada. Photo shared by Arash Kamangir.

Symbolic Vote in Canada. Photo shared by Arash Kamangir.

How did you use social media and blogs for your purpose?

Everything started with a group message on Facebook, but we soon moved to the physical world, where we had our nightly meetings in a pub. We set up two Facebook pages, one for the organizers and one for the volunteers. We then set up a Facebook event to invite the public. We ended up inviting about 1,500 people to our event, and received 200 accepts. Our team was composed of 20 core people and about 10 volunteers. We communicated among ourselves using the two Facebook groups, Facebook messages, and also our cellphones. We also used Twitter to reach out to the general public of the web and used email to communicate with the media. One blogger in our team also blogged about the event. At the end, we collected about 500 votes in the three-day program.

How did the virtual world and the physical world meet in your initiative?

Well, there was a suggestion that we would set up the polling stations in the virtual world, or that we would at least have an online component. We said no to all of that, because we wanted to get engaged with the public in the physical world. The virtual world was essentially the means of communication and coordination for us. Everything else happened in the physical world. This helped us to reach individuals whom we would have not been able to get in touch with, if we had stayed in the confinement of the virtual world.

We set up our four polling stations in locations where Iranians frequent. We had one close to University of Toronto, another one close to a big Iranian shopping area, and the next in a square in the Iranian quarter of Toronto. This helped us to talk to Iranians from different walks of life, diverse backgrounds, and different political and social views. We gave the attendees a physical ballet and had a conversation with them, sometimes a long one. One of the points that our group had explicit agreement on was that online tools are absolutely necessary in this time and age, but that, nevertheless, human connection happens in the physical realm. We wanted people, not avatars, and thus we went to the physical world.

June 08 2013

VIDEO: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Hurt Internet Users

A new animated video by digital rights group Electric Frontier Foundation warns that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement being negotiated by the United States and ten governments from around the Pacific region, could have alarming consequences for Internet users.

The treaty's negotiations, which include input from corporations, are being kept under wraps, but a leaked draft [PDF] of the treaty from February 2011 and other leaked notes have given many advocates cause for concern over copyright enforcement provisions in the agreement's chapter on intellectual property.

According to the group, the treaty could make the Internet an intimidating place for the people and companies that use it. The agreement could encourage Internet service providers to police the activity of Internet users and block legitimate content with only a private notice from the supposed copyright holder in order to protect themselves from liability.

It could also make it illegal for users to work around technical measures put in place to prevent copyright infringement, such as unlocking a mobile phone in order to connect it to another carrier or modifying the format of an e-book to make it more accessible to those with disabilities.

The video, called “TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of”, is available on YouTube and can be found here:

May 01 2013

TPP: Biggest Threat to Global Internet Since ACTA?

This article was co-authored by Maira Sutton and Katitza Rodriguez of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Its original version can be found here.

The United States and ten governments from around the Pacific region are meeting yet again to hash out the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) on May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA. Since negotiations have been secretive from the beginning of the process, advocates seeking to learn more about the agreement have been relying on a leaked draft [PDF] of the treaty from February 2011. Based on that text, some other leaked notes, and the undemocratic nature of the entire process, we have every reason to be alarmed about the copyright enforcement provisions contained in this multinational trade deal.

The TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of US copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a broad ban on breaking digital locks on devices and creative works (even for legal purposes), a minimum copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the current international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement. Moreover, the TPP is worse than US copyright rules: it does not export the many balances and exceptions under US law that favor the public interest and act as safety valves in limiting rightsholders’ protections.

Adding insult to injury, the TPP's temporary copies provision will likely create chilling effects on how people and companies behave online and their basic ability to use and create on the Web. The stated goal of the TPP is to unite Pacific Rim countries by harmonizing tariffs and trade rules between them, but in reality, it's much more than that. The “intellectual property” chapter in this massive trade agreement will likely force changes to copyright and patent rules in each of the signatory countries. Accepting these new rules will not just re-write national laws, it will also restrict the possibility for countries to introduce more balanced copyright laws in the future.

This strategy may end up harming more proportionate laws in countries such as Chile, where a judicial order is required for ISPs to be held liable for copyright infringement or to take down content. Such systems better protect users and intermediaries from disproportionate or censorship-driven takedowns. If the final TPP text forces countries to adopt a privatized notice-and-takedown regime, this could imply the end of the Chilean system. It would also undermine Canada's notice-and-notice regime.

Film, music and other content industries can and will continue to use their economic and political power to get laws that protects their interests. They did it with SOPA and ACTA, and now it's happening with TPP [es]. It's going to be a challenge to defeat these policies, but users can do it. The TPP is slated for conclusion this October, but our goal is to get the worst of these copyright provisions out of it. The way to fight back is to show that we will not put up with this: to demand an open, transparent process that allows everyone, including experts from civil society, to analyze, question, and probe any initiatives to regulate the Internet. The secrecy must be stopped once and for all.

Digital rights advocacy groups around the world are working to change the TPP process and bring users’ concerns to the table. Users in any country can join a campaign led by Canadian NGO OpenMedia by clicking here. Users in the US can join EFF's campaign, directed at US Congress members, which calls for the immediate release of the text of the TPP and demands that this process become democratic and transparent.

Below is EFF's infographic highlighting the most problematic aspects of TPP. Please spread the word about how this agreement will impact you and your country. Right-click and save the image for the PNG file, or you can download the PDF version below. Remix it, build upon it, and get the word out. Let's protect and defend the Internet from this secret trade deal.

 

April 15 2013

A Message from an Achuar Indigenous Leader

"La sociedad está sufriendo día a día por el impacto ambiental. Toda la presencia de las industrias extractivas tienen una historia negativa."

“Every day, across the globe, society suffers the environmental and social impacts of extractive industries. The history of the extractive industries is filled with negative stories…”

Amazon Watch has uploaded a video with a message from Peruvian Achuar indigenous leader Peas Peas Auyi. In the message, Peas Peas Auyi thanks Canadian allies for their solidarity in the Achuar's struggle against mining in the Peruvian Amazon.
(more…)

February 15 2013

Does Pope Benedict XVI Read Science Fiction?

GV Author Filip Stojanovski, in a post on his Science Fiction Observer blog, highlights the work of Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer, which is somewhat relevant for the recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:

February 06 2013

Surveillance Camp II: Privatized State Surveillance

Surveillance Camp Rio - December 2012This is the second in a series of posts mapping global surveillance challenges discussed at EFF’s Surveillance Camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Several Global Voices Advocacy Members actively participated in the meeting: Here is a summary of what we learned:

 

In December 2012, EFF organized a Surveillance and Human Rights Camp in Brazil that brought together the expertise of a diverse group of people concerned about state electronic surveillance in Latin American and other countries. Among other concerns, participants spotlighted the many ways in which the private sector is increasingly playing a role in state surveillance. Here are a few examples:

 

Voluntary Agreements Between Law Enforcement and Private Companies

Often law enforcement agencies will approach companies asking for voluntary disclosure of information for investigative purposes. Those requests may look and sound more like threats, with a great deal of moral pressure applied on the companies.

This voluntary assistance remains out of the public eye and shrouded in secrecy, as notification of state access is never given to the individual concerned, is not codified in law, and is not clearly disclosed in the company's terms of service or user agreement. Currently there is minimal, if any, oversight over such voluntary cooperation, so the scope of assistance provided is not well-documented.

Canada

Canadian ISPs have jointly decided to provide identifying data about Canadian Internet users to law enforcement in child exploitation investigations. In fact, several Canadian ISPs have developed a formal protocol in conjunction with various law enforcement agencies to be used when those authorities are seeking identification information associated with a given IP address at a specific date and time. Since the adoption of this protocol, some ISPs have expanded their information sharing practices to cover customer identification data in other contexts, such as online harassment cases.

Law Enforcement Approaching Service Providers Without Legally-Required Authorization

A growing concern is the number of law enforcement officers skirting the law by asking service providers to simply fork over information without any sort of search warrant. Even when legal procedures, such as a search warrant, exist, police increasingly request information without obtaining a legal authorization. Nevertheless, they often expect full compliance from service providers.

Chile

In 2008, a Chilean website calledHuelga.cl (“strike” in English) was approached by the Cyber Crime Section of the Chilean Police. The site is an online space for coordinating union actions. The agency demanded that the webmaster hand over data related to pseudonymous user accounts, such as IP addresses, records of previous connections, real names, and physical addresses. The targeted users had left comments on a website about an ongoing strike.

In this case, because police did not have a court order to back up the request for information,Huelga.cl took a stand by resisting police pressure and refusing to hand over the data without a fight. For legal assistance, they turned to Derechos Digitales, a Chilean online human rights nonprofit organization, and managed to resist the request.

In another case, the Regional Director of the Chilean Department of Labor, the agency responsible for ensuring the enforcement of labor laws, senta letter to Huelga.cl simply demanding the removal of “inappropriate content” from their website along with the disclosure of user information, but it was only for administrative purposes as opposed to serious criminal investigations. Huegal.cl again refused to comply and instead, made the director’s demands public.

It is not always the case that service providers can resist extralegal government requests, find legal advice or have enough economic resources to fight against those demands as Huelga.cl did. Huelga.cl should be praised for speaking up and managing to make the request from law enforcement public.

Governments Pressure Private Sector

Governments frequently impose heavy fines for non-compliance with their requests for data access. This form of coercion acts as a mechanism of enforcement over service providers and can raise serious concerns for free expression. The service provider is left with little incentive or option to resist illegitimate requests from the government when they are threatened with heavy fines.

Brazil

In 2012, a judge from northern Brazil froze Google's accounts and imposed a fine on the company for refusing to remove three anonymous blogs or reveal contact details of the bloggers.  The content of the blogs stated the mayor of Varzea Alegre of corruption and embezzlement.

While some companies might be able to withstand governmental pressure, alarms were raised that this won’t be the case for smaller companies that lack resources and influence. This is particularly true in contexts where heavy fines for noncompliance are written into legislation, and companies are not given legal avenues to appeal or fight the fine.

Foreign Governments Access To Individuals’ Data in the Cloud

Governments are increasingly seeking to negotiate access or interceptation capabilities to user data with companies that do not lie within their jurisdictions. This form of access is complicated because it is not always clear which country’s laws apply or to what extent. Because of the complex nature of these requests, governments often look for “easy” solutions that call for voluntary disclosure of information or simply allow full access to the user data.

For example, government officials in India have been pushing  for real time interception capabilities for all BlackBerry services. In response to the demands from the Indian Government, after a number of unsatisfactory proposals, in 2012 RIM set up a NOC in Mumbai, providing security agencies with access to BlackBerry Messenger services, and created a solution for access to Blackberry Internet Services. In addition to asking RIM for real time access to communications, the Government of India had required Service Providers in India to adopt the solution provided by RIM by end of 2012 or risk being shut down.

According to Elonnai Hickok from the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India, the discussions between RIM and the Indian Government is just one example of how governments are trying to negotiate their interests in light of the challenges posed by communications stored in the cloud and in multiple jurisdictions.

While the Internet is technically borderless, in reality, state actors impose their sovereignty onto online environments with increasing frequency. The exercise of sovereignty over shared spaces can subject individuals to the laws of another country without any awareness on their part that this has happened. This in effect transforms the surveillance efforts of one country into privacy risks for all the world’s citizens.

Conclusion

State agencies and law enforcement are increasingly outsourcing investigations to private companies who are not under the same sort of judicial oversight as official law enforcement entities would be. The increasingly close and non-transparent connection between the private sector and law enforcement needs to be addressed, as it poses a risk to the rights and freedoms of the individual.  Of major concern to all Camp participants was the notion that private companies are routinely complying with the requests of law enforcement in the absence of due process. We encourage further research and documentation of this phenomenon. To highlight on this issue, we will be blogging next about the privatization of public security in Latin America.

January 24 2013

Parallels Between Religious and Copyright Wars

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of Pirate Party, reinterprets the wars of religion that devastated Western Europe in the XVI and XVII centuries in terms of the current struggle to control information through overbearing legislation related to copyright and freedom of expression:

The religious wars were never about religion as such. They were about who held the power of interpretation, about who controlled the knowledge and culture available to the masses. It was a war of gatekeepers of information.

January 16 2013

Homophobic Hashtag Makes Waves on Twitter in France

[All links forward to French posts unless otherwise stated.]

The hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay (translation: #IfMySonWereGay) made waves on Twitter on December 22, 2012, in the French twittersphere. The hashtag is basically a homophobic incitement to violence accompanied by some poor taste “humorous” tweets. The alleged jokes consisted of telling other Twitter users the punishment you would give your son if he turned out to be gay. Some posts expressed a disturbing penchant for violence:

@Jow_Breezy_Pgn: #SiMonFilsEstGay je le fais sodomisé par un cheval avec du gros sel !!

@Jow_Breezy_Pgn: #SiMonFilsEstGay I would have him sodomised by a horse with rock salt!

@Trapsneymo#SiMonFilsEstGay soit je l'egorge soit je le jette dans la seine ou soit je l'abandonne dans une gare super loin.

@Trapsneymo#SiMonFilsEstGay I would either slaughter him or throw him in the Seine or abandon him in a train station somewhere far away.

Others, like ‏@Kenny_koms, tweeted the following:

@Kenny_koms: #SiMonFilsEstGay on va a la commune jle change de nom direct.

@Kenny_koms: #SiMonFilsEstGay we'll go to the city hall and get his name changed.

Evidently, the debate on gay marriage that currently divides France has also been mentioned often.

‏@Cardinaurelien, a UMP party militant, states:

@Cardinalaurelien: #simonfilsestgay j'espère qu'il ne pourra pas se marier ! #manifpourtous

@Cardinalaurelien: #simonfilsestgay I hope he will not be able to get married! #manifpourtous

By late afternoon, the homophobic hashtag was at the top of the trending topics in France. Opposing reactions quickly arose, with many Twitter users condemning the homophobic posts:

Screen grab of the Twitter search for the hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay

Screen grab of the Twitter search for the hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay

@matfouf : Les homophobes sur le hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay, c'est pitoyable. Oubliez pas que Twitter est public et que vos tweets sont répréhensibles.


@matfouf: The homophobic hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay is pitiful. Do not forget that Twitter is public and your tweets are just wrong.

@ErwanSands :#SiMonFilsEstGay je serais autant heureux que s'il etait hétero ! La sexualité ne change pas la personne qu'on est ! #NB


@ErwanSands: #SiMonFilsEstGay I would be as happy as if he were straight! Sexuality does not change who a person is! #NB

Many have tried to alert Twitter to have the hashtag censored:

@MOMIETTKM : @twitter est il possible de censurer ce hashtag raciste haineux homophobe svp #SiMonFilsEstGay. La liberté d'expression a des limites !

@MOMIETTKM@twitter can you censor this hateful racist homophobic hashtag #SiMonFilsEstGay please? Freedom of speech has limits!

@thomas_gardize, a philosophy student, has tweeted divergent views in his posts to test reactions. He first stated:

@thomas_gardize#SiMonFilsEstGay TT source de conflit. Je vais donc twitter dans les deux sens pour voir les réactions opposées.

@thomas_gardize#SiMonFilsEstGay a source of conflict. I will tweet arguing for both trends to check the reactions from opposing camps.

He then tweeted:

@thomas_gardize: #SiMonFilsEstGay je le brûle sur un bucher.

@thomas_gardize: #SiMonFilsEstGay I will burn him on a pyre.

He followed this with:

@thomas_gardize#SiMonFilsEstGay Je serais fiers de lui.

@thomas_gardize#SiMonFilsEstGay I will be proud of him.

The phenomenon is reminiscent of a recent wave of anti-Semitism on the same social network regarding the hashtag #UnBonJuif (translation: #AGoodJew) in October, 2012, which also gave rise to aggressive propositions.

Plenty of users made remarks similar to @epelboin's analogy:

@epelboin: #SiMonFilsEstGay is the new #UnBonJuif ? Triste France :(

@epelboin:  Is #SiMonFilsEstGay the new #UnBonJuif? France is pathetic :(

Finally, we need to remember that in France homophobic statements are subject to a fine and even a prison sentence. There is also the issue of inciting violence. This is probably the reason why, at the end of the day, a lot of the tweets that appeared have been deleted by the authors.

This post was proofread in English by Georgi McCarthy.

January 11 2013

2012: A Year of Revolt and Social Change in Francophone Countries: Part 1 of 2

2012 is over, and for Francophone countries a more serene 2013 would be more than welcome.

The year 2012 was marked by armed conflicts in Mali, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in the Central African Republic (CAR). There were elections in Senegal, as well as in Quebec and France. Demonstrations for change took place in Chad as well as Madagascar and Togo. Debate raged on topics such as immigration, the economic crisis and equal marriage rights. All this took place against a backdrop of major changes in the ways of sharing information.

In the first part of our 2012 review, we recap what was an eventful year in Francophone countries with the help of Global Voices contributors:

The future of Mali  (by Marc-André Boisvert

A long chain of events completely devastated the country in 2012 as a Tuareg rebellion was followed by a military coup and the fall of North Mali, which was subsequently captured by Islamist groups. There have been endless political military shake-ups: during this one year, Mali's well-polished international image as a model of democracy and development has been completely shattered, leaving the country destabilised, broken and neglected.

Mali begins Touareg dialogue. Image by Flickr user Magharebia (CC BY 2.0).

Mali begins Touareg dialogue. Image by Flickr user Magharebia (CC BY 2.0)

A year ago in Mali tweets, facebook posts and blogs were mainly personal. At the start of 2012 the only political content was from candidates honing their campaign strategies for the presidential elections (subsequently cancelled) expected to take place that April.

During 2012 Malians took over social networks. More effective than the mainstream media, internet users shared images of amputations committed by Islamists under the hashtag #Mali and exchanged views on the new powers, notably on messaging list Malilink.

The Northern Citizens Collective (COREN) and the Cri de Cœur collective mobilised Malians and their allies to send humanitarian aid to occupied regions. Social networks were no longer simply a tool for sharing people's impotence faced with the atrocities occurring, rather, they were used to organise people, to rise up and refuse to accept the situation.

The people of Mali weren't just waiting around for outside intervention - the internet is proof of that.

Passing crisis of transformation of society? 

The economic crisis was the central theme of the 2012 French election. After nearly four years of the crisis the question was, rather that it being a temporary crisis, were we witnessing a structural transformation of society and the way it functions?

Innovative ideas emerged on the possible ways society could evolve with regard to the current economic context. Stanislas Jourdan enlightened us with ideas exchanged on various approaches which could transform the existing paradigms. The direct democracy team initiative for a guaranteed basic income in Switzerland was part of this:

L'initiative populaire « pour un revenu de base inconditionnel » propose d'inscrire dans la constitution fédérale « l'instauration d'une allocation universelle versée sans conditions » devant «permettre à l'ensemble de la population de mener une existence digne et de participer à la vie publique ». La loi réglerait le financement et fixerait le montant de cette allocation. Le revenu de base est inconditionnel : il n'est subordonné à aucune contre-prestation. [..] Comment le financer? Par l'impôt direct sur le revenu et la fortune, par l'impôt indirect sur la consommation (la TVA), par un impôt sur les transactions financières, et surtout par le transfert des ressources consacrées au financement de l'AVS, de l'AI, de l'aide sociale et des autres revenus de substitution inférieurs au montant du revenu de base.

The grassroots initiative “for an unconditional basic income” proposes that “the establishment of an unconditional universal benefit” be written into the federal constitution which would “allow the entire population to lead a dignified existence and participate in public life”. The law will address financing and set the amount of the benefit.[…] The basic income does not come with any conditions attached: it is not subject to any means testing. […] How will it be financed? Through direct taxation of income and wealth, indirect taxation on consumption (VAT), taxing financial transactions, and most especially through the reallocation of resources currently allotted to financing state pensions and unemployment payouts, social security and other welfare payments lower than the amount of the basic income.

Human reasons to work by freeworldcharter.org via active rain used with permission

The Occupy Movement was started in North America, and among other aims, worked to remove debt from families and students by crowdfunding, similar to the way that governments aided the banks during the subprime mortgage crisis:

[It] would create fiat money in the same way as with Quantitative Easing, but would direct that money to the bank accounts of the public with the requirement that the first use of this money would be to reduce debt. Debtors whose debt exceeded their injection would have their debt reduced but not eliminated, while at the other extreme, recipients with no debt would receive a cash injection…

 

Rebels without a cause?

Whether the M23 rebels in the DRC, the Seleka Coalition in the Central African Republic or Islamist groups in Mali, groups rarely claim a clear political ideology or uniformity of operation between their various factions. These armed groups have strongly expanded their spheres of influence in 2012, establishing a definite lever for negotiations in the stabilisation process in their respective regions. As noted by Julie Owono, the timing of the progression of attacks in the CAR suggests that financial stakes have changed the deal regarding short-term objectives of the Seleka rebels. In the DRC, Anna Gueye detailed the complex historical context of the M23 rebellion and its recent evolution. The financial stakes in the Kivu and Katanga regions are extremely high. The tragic new feature in 2012 was the expansion of the conflict and the humanitarian disaster to areas with high potential for intensification of the violence. The remarkable initiatives of the civilian population did much to protect the health and the social cohesion of populations weakened by these conflicts.

 

The second part of this 2012 review of Francophone countries will follow shortly.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00
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