Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

February 14 2014

Chinese Singletons Snatch Up Cinema Seats to Sabotage Valentine's Day Dates

Every year before Valentine's Day, a mischievous online group known as the “Damn Lovers” has mobilized its members to buy odd-numbered movie tickets in a bid to ruin the romance for couples who want to sit together.

This year, they finally succeeded in occupying every other seat in at least one cinema in Shanghai during the Valentine's Day primetime movie screening.

In China, Valentine's Day is rather special this year as it overlaps with Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Jie, a festival which debuted during the Qin Dynasty around 200 BC during which single people would hung around in the streets under the lantern light with the hope of finding love.

The story about single netizens occupied Valentine's Day theatre prime time show was reported by local newspapers. Image circulated widely online. (via ChinaSMACK)

The story about single netizens occupying alternating seats in a movie theater during a Valentine's Day primetime show was reported by local newspapers. Image circulated widely online. (via ChinaSMACK)

As singles in recent years gained more visibility and power via the Internet and the modern invention Singles Day, a collective of singles called “Damn Lovers” (情侶去死去死團)or “Damn Love” (戀愛去死去死團)emerged among Chinese communities in China and Taiwan in 2005. The group belongs to the Kuso Internet culture, which relishes campy or outrageous content. According to Chinese Wikipedia:

去死去死團號稱「對抗『戀愛資本主義』社會風氣」,以「破壞浪漫氣氛」為目的。許多民眾以為它是社會上的激進運動團體,但去死團的多數活動只是以一種戲謔方式,用KUSO、搞笑和幽默的風格表達單身的孤單,亦有人藉此表示單身也可以很快樂,並且反對「商業化」的慶祝方式。在各種節日,譬如聖誕節或情人節,可提供一種有別於浪漫過節的消遣管道。
參與去死團活動的人被稱為奉行去死去死團精神或死死精神、死死主義。創團宗旨是:「我們獨善其身,為的是要渡化那些誤入歧途的情侶們。」

The Damn Love group claimed that they wanted to resist the culture of ‘love capitalism’ by ruining the ‘romantic atmosphere'. While some may think that it is a radical organization, but most of its activities are just for fun in the [Japanese] Kuso style to give a platform to the lonely feelings of singles. Some members want to broadcast the message that you can be single and happy or that they are against commercial styles of celebration. Thus, they want to create an alternative way of celebrating festivals such as the Valentine's Day and the Christmas. Members who participate in Damn Love activities have to uphold the spirit of ‘to be damned’ or ‘damnism'. The mission of the group is: ‘we are singles and devoted to save those who are trapped in relationships”.

In the past few years, the group usually spread their messages online using darkly humorous cartoons and stories. For example, the song, “Wish all the lovers turned out to be long lost brothers and sisters” by band “Good Sister” was a big hit last year's Valentine's Day:

The song takes reference from a modern Chinese play, “Lei Yu” meaning thunderstorm to curse Valentine's Day. The tragic love story of “Thunderstorm” depicts two lovers who have overcome family pressure to be together but who turn out to be long lost brother and sister. The first half of the song's lyrics goes:

今天是2月14,傳說中的情人節
滿大街的男男女女,都要在今天晚上過節。
平時買的玫瑰花是兩塊錢一朵
今天晚上要翻上十倍,姑娘還是樂歪了嘴
今天是2月14,傳說中的情人節
我打算回家一個人呆著,沒事看書吃泡面
可有個傻B在QQ問我,你怎麼還是一個人
我忍不住地對他喊出這樣親切的慰問
(祝天下所有的情侶都是失散多年的兄妹
祝你今天晚上的電影院和餐館,全都沒座位
祝天下所有的情侶都是失散多年的兄妹
不管是莫泰如家7天漢庭,全都訂不到床位

Today is February 14, the legendary Valentine's Day
Boys and girls in the streets are enjoying the festival
A rose costs about 2 yuan on an ordinary day
Today it is 10 times more expensive, but the girls still wear such a happy smile on their faces.
Today is February 14, the legendary Valentine's Day
My plan is to go home, read and eat instant noodles
But a f**king [instant messaging] QQ user asks me why I am alone
I can't help but send him this warm regard:
I wish all the lovers in the world are long lost brothers and sisters
I wish all the cinemas, restaurants are full tonight
I wish all the lovers in the world are long lost brothers and sisters
And all the beds in [hotels] Mo Tai, Home Inn, 7-days, Han Ting are occupied.

For 2014, single netizens decided to move beyond spoofs into action. So far, they have been successful in occupying one cinema in Shanghai. According to Shanghai Morning Post (via ChinaSMACK), one of the organizers of the occupation said that many of those who participated did so wanting to meet new friends, hoping to turn a “prank” into a “blind date”.

Of course, the lovers are also fighting back. Many are saying that they are happy to share just one seat.

As a Federal State, Yemen Marks the Third Anniversary of Its Revolution

February 11th marked the third anniversary of Yemen's revolution which toppled former President Ali Abdullah's Saleh's 33 year rule. Just a day before, on February 10, Yemen's president Abdu Rabu Mansour, based on the National Dialogue‘s recommendation for the political transition and after deliberating with a Region Defining Committee, approved turning the country into a six-region federation state.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf, an activist, member of the National Dialogue and editor-in-chief of The Yemen Times, tweeted:

The federal system was a solution to counter the failure of the centralized government and to give the south more autonomy while preserving Yemen's unity. Yemen's parties had been divided on whether to split the federation into two or six regions. A north-south divide which was suggested by Southerners was rejected due to fear that it could set the stage for the south to secede. The six agreed regions included four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tihama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadhramaut.

Azal includes the capital Sanaa, which will be a federal city not subject to any regional authority, in addition to the provinces of Dhamar, Amran and Saada. Aden would comprise the capital of the former south, as well as Abyan, Lahej and Daleh. The southeastern Hadhramaut province would include Al-Mahra, Shabwa and the island of Socotra, while Saba comprises Bayda, Marib and Al-Jawf. Janad would include Taez and Ibb, and Tahama also takes in Hudaydah, Rima, Mahwit and Hajja.

Yemen_updates tweeted a link showing the new regions:

There were many reactions among Yemenis and Arabs both for and against this decision.
Yemeni youth activist, Jamal Badr jokingly tweeted a still shot from a scene of a famous Egyptian comic play:

Isn't Yemen fine?? Yes, every region is fine but separate

Farea Almuslimi disapproving the haste in the decision making tweeted:

It took my father and uncles a longer and more thoughtful time to divide the (small) land they inherited from my grandfather then it took to determine the form and number of the regions in Yemen

Egyptian visual artist and film maker, Mahmud Abdel Kader, commented:

Nobody is saying that the UAE is divided because it is federal … because the idea of federalism is to add not divide, what happened in Yemen is a division not an addition

Lebanese Karl Sharro sarcastically tweeted:

Yet there were many questions in people's minds, which Sam Waddah raised on Facebook:

Major question marks remain on dividing power, authority, duties between regions and central state, defining the new system, how local governments will be elected, etc. Tentatively federal system is a good one but it's too early to tell here and by leaving these issues undefined I think Hadi and the regions defining committee are putting the cart before the horse!

Adam Baron also wondered:

Nadia Al-Sakkaf shed some light on the new federal system in her article in The Yemen Times:

The relationship between the regions and the federal government will be written into the constitution. The details will be defined in a Federal Regions Law after the constitution has been approved via a national referendum, expected to take place three months after the creation of the Constitutional Drafting Committee. Each region will have the autonomy to devise its own regional laws to define the relationship among its various states.

Three years after the revolution, on February 11, Yemenis were back on the streets but for various reasons. There were those who went out to celebrate the anniversary of a revolution which awed the world with its power and peacefulness and there were those who went out to protest against the government's corruption and for not realizing the revolution's demands.

Majda Al-Hadad, an activist spearheading the campaign against the government's continuous electricity power cuts tweeted:

It is not necessary for me to list the reasons for me to go out tomorrow, there is nothing positive that would make me hesitate. No rights, no dignity, no law, no justice, and no presence of the government except corruption and injustice.

Journalist Khaled Al-Hammadi tweeted:

The people want to topple corruption“, “the people want the fall of the government“, “a new revolution all over again“, “oh government of corruption, leave the country” chanted protesters across the streets of Sanaa.

(Video posted on YouTube by Ridan Bahran

Akram Alodini also highlighted the political division in his tweet:

In the morning, marches for the republic of Sabeen and the sport stadium, and in the afternoon for the republic of Seteen, and the citizen is helpless

Lawyer Haykal Bafanaa wondered how would corrupt politicians counter corruption:

Researcher, blogger and activist Atiaf Al-Wazir tweeted:

This video by SupportYemen is a reminder of what the revolution was about and what it still needs to achieve:

And as Rooj Al-Wazir, tweeted, some of the revolutionary youth, three years later, were still behind bars:

Journalist Benjamin Wiacek tweeted with disappointment, a bitter sentiment shared by many of the revolutionary youth:

Journalist Iona Craig, who has been living in Yemen since 2011, and as the rest of Yemenis has been suffering from frequent and lengthy electricity cuts tweeted:

Many Yemenis did not feel a change in their daily living conditions – quite the contrary, many were disappointed and frustrated with its deterioration. In a question posed on Facebook by journalist Ahmed Ghurab, “In your opinion what change has occurred in the living conditions of the average citizen in the last three years since the outbreak of the revolution?!!”, the majority complained about the hike in prices, the continuous power outages, the insecurity and instability along with the increase of assassinations, the car explosions and kidnappings and the failure of the government to address or manage these issues.

Nevertheless, there were those who were celebrating the revolution's achievements so far and were still hoping for more. Photos of the marches all over Yemen commemorating the third anniversary of the start of the revolution were posted all over Twitter and Facebook.

Yemen-based journalist Adam Baron tweeted:

A photo from the Friday marches in Sanaa in 2011 demanding the fall of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

A photo from the Friday marches in Sanaa in 2011 demanding the fall of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Activist, photographer and member of the National Dialogue, Nadia Abdullah,posted photos of the marches in Sanaa on facebook.

Marches in Sanaa's Seteen street celebrating the 3rd anniversary of Yemen's revolution (Photo by Nadia Abdullah)

Marches in Sanaa's Seteen street celebrating the 3rd anniversary of Yemen's revolution (Photo by Nadia Abdullah)

On a more positive note, Baraa Shiban, a youth activist and also member of the National Dialogue, tweeted:

He summarized in his Facebook post, what many would undoubtedly agree is the greatest achievement of Yemen's revolution:

Yemen has a new generation of men and women who believe in the principals of democracy and human rights. Yemen's youth now believe in equal citizenship, women's rights and minorities. Yemen's youth today believe in achieving their demands by following the peaceful method.

The revolution continues…

Video: Why Young Nigerians Leave Home

Nigerian netizen Kola Olaosebikan uses YouTube to address, among other topics, the question of why young Nigerians are running from home:

This video addresses moving back to nigeria, why i left nigeria, brain drain in nigeria, and issues impacting youth and progress in nigeria all wrapped up in a nice little bow of love.

February 13 2014

Activists Ask China to Ban Bear Bile Farming

Using social media and other tools, animal rights activists around the world are urging China to prohibit farmers from keeping bears in captivity and harvesting their bile, a digestive juice stored in the gall bladder that is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The nonprofit group Animals Asia has collected more than 83,000 signatures so far on a petition asking Chinese officials to end the “barbaric practice” of bear bile farming. The foundation said more than 10,000 bears in China are kept in cages – sometimes so cramped that the animals can't turn around or stand – for their entire lives, and that the bile is extracted through painful methods.

The conditions on the farms are documented in YouTube videos.

“This is torture,” a YouTube user named “mogtrader8″ posted after watching that video. “There's no doubt about it.”

The cause has resonated on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking platforms with both individuals, including artists and athletes, and groups like Moon Bear Rescue. (The bears typically used in bile farming are Asiatic black bears, commonly known as moon bears because of the cream-colored crescent moon shape on their chest.)

An animal rights activist in Australia tweeted:

An American environmentalist known as Sprat24 called bear bile farming “despicable” and asked, “Have you seen how these bears live? How could you not help?”

Rescuing moon bears from mistreatment 

Animals Asia has been helping moon bears since it was founded in 1998. The foundation has rescued more than 400 animals from bile farms, established bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, and urged government officials to outlaw the practice.

There are no accurate estimates on the global population of Asiatic black bears; they may number in the tens of thousands. Experts believe the moon bear population is declining. They are not considered endangered, but the species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In China, bear bile farming is legal, but only on licensed farms that have at least 50 bears and meet certain standards.

In January 2013, in what became known on Twitter as the #newyearrescue, Animals Asia and China's State Forestry agency rescued six moon bears from an illegal bear bile farm in Sichuan province. The bears, which had injuries and other evidence of mistreatment, were resettled at the foundation's shelter outside Chengdu.

Hong Kong photographer Peter Yuen recently documented the progress that the rescued bears have made:

Peter Yuen documented Animal Asia's moon bear rescue effort. Photo via Animal Asia's campaign page in Facebook.

Peter Yuen documented Animal Asia's moon bear rescue effort. Photo via Animal Asia's campaign page in Facebook.

What a difference a year makes…

One year on from her rescue, Manuka forages in her habitat without a care in the world.

But rescuing bears one at a time isn't enough, Animals Asia says.;

Petitioning China's US ambassador

In its latest campaign against bear bile farming, the group hopes to garner at least 100,000 signatures on a petition asking China to end the practice entirely. Animals Asia plans to present the petition to Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the United States. The petition reads:

On January 9th 2013, six lucky moon bears arrived at Animals Asia's Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu — the only sanctuary in China built to care for bears rescued from the barbaric practice of bile farming. Battered and broken from their time on an illegal bear farm, these bears are already starting to mend under the expert care of Animals Asia's dedicated vet team.

And while the nightmare is over for these six bears, across China more than 10,000 moon bears remain in tiny cages never feeling the sun on their backs or grass under their feet. They can be kept like this for up to 30 years. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of many effective and affordable alternatives.

Animals Asia applauds the Chinese Government for rescuing these six bears and closing the illegal farm, but the suffering of 10,000 must be made a priority and a firm date set when bear farming will end!

Many of the people who signed the petition added comments. “Cruel and disgusting,” wrote a woman from California (signer No. 82,965).

A women from the Netherlands (signer No. 82,526) posted: “Never believe that animals suffer less than humans do. Pain is the same for them that it is for us.”

“Not all traditions are worth continuing!” stated a resident of British Columbia (signer No. 83,014). “This is an archaic practice that needs to stop.”

The use of bear bile is a centuries-old tradition in Southeast Asia. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine use bear bile to treat hemorrhoids, sore throats, sores, bruising, muscle ailments, sprains, epilepsy, fever and other ailments; some men tout it as aphrodisiac or hangover cure.

Bear bile is used in more than 120 Chinese medicine products, from heart medication to eye drops. Because of the demand, the bile can sell for astronomical prices – up to 24,000 US dollars a kilogram, about half the price of gold.

To obtain the bile, farmers insert a metal tube permanently into the belly of each bear; the animal wears an iron vest to hold it in place. The bile then is extracted two to four times a day.

The active ingredient in bear bile is ursodeoxycholic acid. Scientists disagree on whether it has significant health benefits.

Ursodeoxycholic acid can be obtained from many other sources, such as herbs and synthetic processes. Groups such as Animals Asia, the World League for Protection of Animals and Wildlife Worldwide have been urging practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to shift from bear bile to alternative sources.

Celebrities support for moon bears 

Prominent personalities have spoken out against bear bile farming. They include basketball legend Yao Ming, pop singer Han Hong, movie stars Maggie Q, Karen Mok and others.

Prominent personalities have spoken out against bear bile farming. They include basketball legend Yao Ming, movie stars Maggie Q, Karen Mok and etc. Animal Asia Poster.

Prominent personalities have spoken out against bear bile farming. They include basketball legend Yao Ming, movie stars Maggie Q, Karen Mok and others. Animals Asia Poster.

Many Chinese celebrities stepped forward to protest bear bile farming in 2011 and 2012 when the pharmaceutical firm Gui Zhentang, which extracts and sells bile, was applying to be listed as a publicly traded company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

In the face of the public backlash, Gui Zhentang last year withdrew its application to issue an initial public offering. 

Then, last August, animal rights activists scored another victory: As part of Animals Asia's “Healing without Harm” campaign, about 150 Chinese drugstores announced that they would no longer sell bear bile products. 

That prompted an outpouring of support for the pharmacies on social media:

On petition website ForceChange, user Judy Thorpe commented:

Bears have suffered for so many years and I cannot express enough praise in your decision for refusing to stock bear bile on your store's shelves. We are now in the modern era and animal abuse will not be tolerated. You have set a positive example by taking stand against bear bile products. Thank-you so very much.

Besides China, South Korea also allows bear bile farming; nearly 1,600 bears are being raised in that country. Vietnam banned the practice in 2005, but Animals Asia says about 2,400 bears still are being illegally raised on bile farms there.

Animals Asia isn't the first group to start a petition against bear bile farming. In 2011, Wildlife World obtained 15,000 signatures on a petition calling on Hu Jintao, then president of China, to close the country's bear bile farms.

If Animals Asia's petition proves unpersuasive, the group has another tactic to get its story across: an interactive storybook for children.

The foundation teamed up with Microsoft and on January 29 launched a website in both English and Chinese to tell the story of the rescued bear Jasper and his buddies.

Web We Want Contest: Cartoonists Fight Back!

Anti-surveillance comic by Francisco

Anti-surveillance comic by Francisco “Fankiniano” Cardozo via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

This post originally appeared on the World Wide Web Foundation blog.

A week ago, the Web We Want initiative challenged artists everywhere to produce cartoons on the topic of NSA surveillance, in support of #TheDayWeFightBack. We received more than 70 submissions from all over the world, and today we’re announcing the winners, as judged by the Web We Want team.  All submissions can be viewed on our Flickr photo stream here.

In first place, receiving a $1000 prize, is Francisco Javier “Frankiano” Cardozo Baudry. He is just 17 years old, a true digital native from Asunción, Paraguay. His contribution “Do Not Fear, I care about you” (above) shows how surveillance is invading each and every moment in the daily life of a young person these days. The PDF of this multi-frame cartoon can be downloaded here. We will ask him to make editable versions available so activists all over the world can easily translate, adapt and use his amazing material.

Anti-surveillance cartoon by Carlos Latuff via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

Anti-surveillance cartoon by Carlos Latuff via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

Second place goes to cartoonist Carlos Latuff from Brazil, who produced a piece (right) representing a single national leader monitoring the communications of the entire world. Third place goes to American cartoonist Jimmy Margulies, whose work highlighted wiretapping of foreign leaders.

A video (below) submitted by digital rights group Red PaTodos in Colombia deserves an honorary mention and we encourage them to upload it in a collaborative platform such as DotSub, including its script, so others can translate and add subtitles to it. It neatly explains current threats and challenges to online privacy.

The cartoons produced by activists and artists from different countries and contexts show a common pattern: They acknowledge the invasion of their private space, private life and daily activities by those in power. Intelligence agencies are pictured as dark forces by many of the authors and US President Obama is the main character in several submissions. The computer was not shown as the sole method of surveillance – there were also submissions related to telephone surveillance and CCTV cameras, parents spying on children, the military spying on users, physical surveillance and also the role of private corporations that use data collection and consumers habits as business models. One explained in simple terms what the NSA is currently doing, while others show how we interact and watch via our devices.

All the cartoons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 License which will allow each and every activist, journalist, school teacher and creative around the world to use them, adapt them, modify them and remix them, keeping the content open.

The Web We Want promotes and defends the protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private. Expect more soon!

 

Renata Avila is the campaign manager for the Web We Want.

February 12 2014

Opponents of France's School Gender Equality Initiative Wage Misinformation War

13 January 2013 -

13 January 2013 – “We want sex, not gender.” A sign in French at a protest for family values. Photo by Mon_Tours via Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0

[This post was co-authored by Jean-Pierre WetzelsElise Lecamp and Suzanne Lehn. All links forward to French-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

A recent pilot study in France about gender equality in schools has encountered heated opposition from those who view it as an attack on traditional family values and gender roles.

Called “ABCD de l'égalité” (the ABCD of gender equality), the initiative aims to break down gender stereotypes in schools, and French education authorities launched a pilot study in a few select schools over the course of four months to see how new teaching tools and materials would work with children.

But opponents see the initiative as an affront to what they call the natural differences between boys and girls and argue that the state should not be teaching children about private matters. A strong anti-ABCD campaign to stop it has been mounted on blogs and social network platforms and protets were organized in several cities under the moniker “Day of Anger“. Text messages encouraged parents to pull their children from schools on designated “School Boycott Days“.

logo_abcdegalite

Logo for France's ABCD of gender equality initiative

Public debate on the issue has been polluted by “untruths” to such an extent that the French education minister ordered information sessions at schools for parents to combat the rumors. Daily newspaper Le Monde also attempted to debunk some of the misinformation in an article called “Five rumors about the gender theory debate” published on 28 January 2013. The report highlighted several inaccuracies being cited by opponents, including a misquoted statement by French senator Laurence Rossignol that “children do not belong to their parents, they belong to the state”.

The second part of the sentence has proven to be entirely fictional, as shown by the following video posted by the website “Arrêt sur images”

In fact, the whole quote goes as follows:  “Children do not belong to their parents, the school must provide them with tools so that they can make choices for themselves later.”

In an interview, Rossignol explained that she never said the words “children belong to the state” and that she will take to court anyone who claims otherwise:

Another misconception about the gender equality initiative was the notion that teaching gender theory will be made mandatory in schools. Gaëlle Dupont wrote the following about that rumor:

Deuxième intox : l'enseignement de la « théorie du genre » devient obligatoire: Ce climat d'hystérie autour des questions d'égalité hommes-femmes ou de lutte contre l'homophobie débouche sur des phénomènes assez dramatiques, comme cette vague de SMS appelant les parents à retirer leurs enfants des écoles un jour donné pour dénoncer cet « enseignement obligatoire » du « genre ». Derrière ces rumeurs, on trouve l'extrême droite. Plus précisément, des militants proches de l'extrême droite qui ont monté un « jour de retrait de l'école », assurant que « l'Etat, sous couvert de lutter contre l'homophobie, introduit à notre insu la théorie du genre à l'école : homosexualité, bisexualité et transsexualité entrent dans tous les programmes scolaires ».

Rumour number 2: Teaching of  “gender theory” will be mandatory:  The current atmosphere of hysteria surrounding the issues of equality between men and women or the fight against homophobia has given rise to somewhat dramatic phenomena, such as the deluge of text messages inciting parents to withdraw their children from school on a specific day in order to protest this “obligatory teaching of gender”. The far-right wing is again behind these rumors. Or to be more precise, campaigners with far-right sympathies who have initiated this “School Boycott” day. Thet claim that “under the cover of addressing homophobia, the state is introducing gender theory at school without our approval: the notions of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality are being introduced in school curricula”

Armed with this misinformation, opponents invoked the spectors of gender theory and government intrusion on social media and blogs to mobilize those against the initiative.

How Facebook and text messages are used to whitewash the wild rumour about “gender theory”

Spearheading the campaign against the ABCD of gender equality is Farida Belghoul [en], who once was an immigrant rights activist in the early 1980s. She set up several “information meetings” and called on parents to keep their children home as a boycott of the initiative and the supposed teaching of gender theory that the initiative implies.

The website Journée de Retrait de l'Ecole (School Boycott Day) was set up to document and organize the movement, and in just a few weeks, the Facebook page for the website, JRE2014, received 18,000 hits. Created on 19 December 2013, the page now counts 20,000 likes. Comments from parents who received text messages requesting them to remove their children from school are posted on the page. Céline Violette writes on the page [fr] :

Y-a-t-il une PETITION OFFICIELLE pour l'interdiction de l'INTRUSION de la théorie du genre à l'éducation nationale? Afin de permettre de compter tout le monde, père ET mère, et tous les citoyens qui n'ont pas d'enfant et qui sont conscients de ce qui se passe.

Is there an official petition to prevent the introduction of gender theory in school  ? It would allow to determine how many people, mother, father and citizens without children but who are aware of the risk at hand.

Statements from parents’ associations highlighted the links between the organizers of these boycott days and far-right movements and dispelled the rumor that gender theory would be taught at kindergarten level. Still, instructions were being given to parents by the “Boycott School Day” movement that these “Boycott School” days take place in private locations and not on public roads. 

The more irrational the rumor, the more the public seems drawn to it. In an article published on 1 February entitled “Day of anger, night of darkness”, journalist Jean Birenbaum expressed his concerns:

Pour le moment, ce compagnonnage avec un sombre nihilisme condamne les collectifs colériques à l'impuissance politique. Mais c'est aussi lui qui les rend si difficiles à combattre pour les partis traditionnels, de droite comme de gauche. […] Il y a ici un cauchemar pour quiconque demeure attaché à une éthique de la rationalité, qu'elle soit religieuse ou politique.
[…]
Par-delà les slogans politiques, la galaxie de la « colère » représente donc un défi lancé aux pratiques d'enseignement et aux institutions démocratiques. Si ce défi n'était pas relevé, alors le « jour de colère »pourrait bien devenir la nuit pour tous.

At the moment, this affinity for dark nihilism condemns these angry groups to political impotence. But it is also what makes the fight with them so difficult for traditional parties, be they right-or left-wing [...] This is a nightmare for those who remain faithful to an ethic of rationality, be it religious or political.
[…]
Over and above political slogans, this constellation of anger constitutes a challenge to both teaching methods and democratic institutions. If this challenge is not met, then the ‘Day of anger” could quite well become a dark night for us all.

In a somewhat reassuring turn of events, a humoristic page called the “Children's Plea” was created on the parody website Gorafi.fr. The Children's Plea demands that adults put a stop to the rumor fabrication and start acting as, well, adults [fr]:

Les enfants demandent donc que cessent ces rumeurs et fausses informations, qu’on les laisse retourner à l’école. Quant à la théorie du genre, ils estiment qu’elle n’a pas lieu d’être. « Des fois, les filles elles sont fortes comme les garçons, et même que hier Joachim il a perdu toutes ses billes contre Sofia de la classe de madame Dumas, on a bien ri » 

The children ask for an end to the rumors and false information so that they may be allowed to return to school. As for the whole gender theory issue, the children don't think that it means anything: “Sometimes, girls are as strong as boys. Just yesterday Joachim lost all his marbles to Sophia from Mrs. Dumas's class and we all had a good laugh”

Other initiatives have also pushed back against the campaign's rumor-mongering. Seeing how easy it was for rumors to take root in some disenfranchised areas with a large minority population, Kaissa Titous asked her former colleague and now campaign leader Farida Belghoul, who is of Algerian descent, to stop her School Boycott movement movement:

Tu voudrais qu’aujourd’hui nous faisions des alliances avec des forces politiques qui n’ont pas arrêté de prospérer sur la haine de nos quartiers et de ses habitants, qui nous agitent comme repoussoirs à chaque élection, qui nous accusent d’être des envahisseurs, qui arrachent les pains au chocolat et le pain de la bouche des Français de souche

Today you would want us to make alliances with political forces that have thrived on hating our people [minorities] and our neighborhoods. They are pointing at us as the culprits for France's aches at every elections, calling us invaders, who take away chocolate croissants and bread from the mouths of the “real” French people

VIDEO: ‘Nothing to Hide’ — Really? #TheDayWeFightBack

“If you have nothing to hide, why not let someone film in your bedroom and bathroom?” asks Jérémie Zimmermann, from French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, in a song where he partners with La Parisienne Libérée who blogs [fr] on Mediapart.

In this catchy song, the two explain what is at stake for privacy with the global surveillance enforced by NSA from our personal data scooped and transferred by Facebook, Google and other platforms. Zimmerman says:

To tell yourself — oh I have nothing to feel guilty about and therefore I have nothing to hide — is totally disconnected from reality in which generalised surveillance by the NSA works on the principle of three degrees of separation. If you've been in contact with someone, who has been in contact with someone who has a — perhaps long-lost — brother, a guy with a beard who is suspected of terrorist activities, then potentially all your email correspondence, your online presence, your phone calls, your SMS, all that, is spied upon by the NSA.

The video is in French, with English and Spanish subtitles.

 

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

February 11 2014

[Vidéo] Reclaim Our Privacy

Grâce à la générosité des soutiens ayant participé à son financement et de Benoît Musereau, qui l'a bénévolement réalisée, La Quadrature du Net publie aujourd'hui « Reclaim Our Privacy », une courte vidéo abordant les dangers qui menacent notre vie privée, l'importance de protéger ce droit fondamental, et enfin, proposant des outils pour en reprendre le contrôle. Si vous désirez participer à son financement, il est toujours possible de le faire ici. Les fonds collectés au-delà de l'objectif seront partagés équitablement entre Benoît Muserau et La Quadrature du Net. Cette vidéo est publiée sous licence CC BY-SA : partagez-la ou remixez-la librement ! <3

Télécharger

Pour plus d'informations sur ces sujets, vous pouvez visiter :

  • Le dossier de La Quadrature sur la vie privée ;
  • Prism Break : un site listant les outils libres et décentralisés permettant de remplacer des logiciels et des systèmes populaires mais vulnérables à l''écoute et à la surveillance en ligne ;
  • Controle-tes-donnees.net : un site de sensibilisation mis en ligne par des bénévoles de La Quadrature, proposant des guides pour utiliser des outils libres protégeant la vie privée (voir : « Comment reprendre le contrôle ») ;
  • Privacy International [EN] : une ONG défendant le droit au respect de la vie privée dans le monde.

Crédits

Vidéo financée collaborativement par (merci et plein de Datalove pour vous tous ! <3)

Aknok, Anaelita, Arofarn, Azerka, Bamban, Beeaware, Benjamin Piouffle, Benjamin Sonntag, Billecoq, Billux, Bmoc, Bourbaki, Cartron, Cellular, Cerran, Chato, Chopopope, Christian P. MOMON, Cioccu, Coucouf, Crowder, Cryptie, Dalb75, Darathor, Datarmine, David de Beleville, Ddadon, Didier_b-2, Djean, Domaccord, Elessar, Elfabixx, Elizabeth Nicholson, Elpouyou, f.0x2501.org , Fabhuy, Faereth, Fenn, Fflo, Florent_ato, Florent Darrault, Fraanek, Franck-awo, Franckpaul1984, François Tessier, Francoist-2, Galou Gentil, Gastavocats, Gawel, Geodelc, Gllm, Glatteispogo, gty, Gwendanc, Hadelie, Hebus63, Irslo, Ischiros, J4mes, Janval5, Jean-Louis Séré, jeey, Jean-Sébastien, Jeffman78, Jérémy GUEROUT, Jfch_, Jfomhover, Jimi_dave, Julien Fastré, Kadcom, Kaulian, Keplerpondorskell, Klorydryk, Kyriog, Laelaeta, Lcottereau, Le_Coyote, Lesauterhin, Les chats cosmiques, m09, Maillon, mamzelle_S, Martin Bahier, Mathieu HAAGE, Matrium, Milhouse_fr, Morgiou, Mrtino, Mulot, Mutokenji, Myoshi, Natim, Nicolasrtt, Nicorr, Nitot, Number, Olivier Cortès, Oneveu, Osmoze950, Ouroboros75, Outils Conviviaux, Pep1, P Ernewein, Petch, P Moniez, Puilliack, Raphette, Renk, Rikle_s, Rogdham, Rouroux, Saian, Saintraph, Samuel Tardieu, Se7h, Sempiternel, Snifiboy, Spiwit, Steph3187, Sureau, Sylvain Cazaux, Tael67, Taker, Taziden, Tekarihoken, Thd_it, Thomas Moreau, Thorleif_, Tomlefol, Torlus, Txitua, Vehem, Widokristus, Wookie51, Xixo, Yann2192, Ygster, yost3d, Yoya971, Yoygldstn

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

Le jour de notre riposte contre la surveillance et pour la protection de la vie privée

Paris, 11 février 2014 — Depuis un an, le monde entier découvre la surveillance de masse menée par la NSA et ses partenaires, mais aussi par certaines entreprises privées. En réaction, en commémoration de la victoire contre SOPA, PIPA et ACTA il y a déjà deux ans, et en mémoire d'Aaron Swartz, La Quadrature du Net se joint aujourd'hui à la mobilisation « The Day We Fight Back » contre la surveillance de masse, ponctuée d'actions de la société civile à travers le monde. Cette journée est l'occasion idéale pour tous de s'informer et d'agir pour la défense de notre vie privée, contre la surveillance publique et privée. Les actions menées aujourd'hui par La Quadrature et ses soutiens sont listées ci-dessous.

« Ensemble, nous allons agir contre les puissances qui cherchent à observer, enregistrer et analyser chacun de nos faits et gestes en ligne. Ensemble, nous affirmerons que ces comportements sont incompatibles avec la démocratie. Ensemble, si nous persévérons, nous remporterons cette bataille. »

Ce mardi 11 février est le jour d'une mobilisation générale contre la surveillance de masse. À travers le monde, de nombreuses organisations de défense des droits de l'homme sous toutes ses formes, que ce soit la liberté d'expression, la vie privée ou la liberté de la presse, se sont alliées pour agir. Le problème que pose la surveillance, publique ou privée, dépasse largement les divergences entre États. Elle mine les bases de nos systèmes démocratiques, et donc de nos droits de citoyens, par exemple la protection des sources journalistiques ou le secret professionnel. Comme l'énonce la pétition « Nécessaire et proportionnée » signée par plus de 300 ONG, dont La Quadrature du Net, pour être légitime, la surveillance doit être, entre autre, encadrée par la loi, transparente, menée dans un but légitime, nécessaire et proportionnée à son objectif, impliquer des notifications aux personnes concernées, et faire l'objet d'un contrôle public adéquat.

Plusieurs actions, en ligne et hors ligne, sont menées par diverses organisations à travers le monde, et sont listées ici. Depuis le début des révélations de Snowden, La Quadrature du Net appelle à la mise en place de nouvelles règles sur le droit d'asile pour les lanceurs d'alerte signalant de graves violations aux droits fondamentaux. La Quadrature appelle également à la suspension de l'accord Safe Harbour entre l'UE et les États-Unis pour toutes les organisations impliquées dans le programme PRISM – ou n'importe quel autre programme de la NSA – ainsi qu'au renforcement de la législation sur les données personnelles pour lutter contre ce type de contournements des droits fondamentaux, et soutient le développement de logiciels libres et décentralisés, utilisant un chiffrement solide. Aujourd'hui, La Quadrature publie plusieurs projets :

Reclaim Our Privacy

Grâce à la générosité des soutiens ayant participé à son financement et de Benoît Musereau, qui l'a bénévolement réalisée, La Quadrature du Net publie aujourd'hui « Reclaim Our Privacy », une courte vidéo abordant les dangers qui menacent notre vie privée, l'importance de protéger ce droit fondamental, et enfin, proposant des outils pour en reprendre le contrôle. Si vous désirez participer à son financement, il est toujours possible de le faire ici. Les fonds collectés au-delà de l'objectif seront partagés équitablement entre Benoît Muserau et La Quadrature du Net. Cette vidéo est publiée sous licence CC BY-SA : partagez-la ou remixez-la librement ! <3

Le site NSA Observer

Des bénévoles soutenus par La Quadrature du Net ont mis en ligne un site sur « les choses que la NSA ne veut pas que vous sachiez (et pourquoi vous devriez les connaîttre) » : NSA-observer.

Les nombreuses révélations sur la surveillance réalisée par la NSA constituent une grande quantité d'informations, que personne n'a encore présentée dans un format simple d'accès et compréhensible. Les auteurs ont regroupé ces informations sur un site diffusé sous une licence libre, et permettant une récupération simple de sa base de données. De plus, afin d'en rendre le système lisible, le site représente graphiquement les liens entre les différents programmes, vecteurs d'attaque et compartiments. Ce travail est encore en cours de développement, et ses auteurs accueillent donc chaleureusement toute personne souhaitant prendre part à l'ajout et à la mise à jour de ces informations, afin de les rendre plus accessibles au grand public.

« Rien à cacher » de la Parisienne Libérée, avec Jérémie Zimmermann

La Parisienne Libérée est une journaliste chantant l'actualité une fois par semaine pour Médiapart. Elle a invité Jérémie Zimmermann, cofondateur de La Quadrature du Net, pour une chanson dédiée à la vie privée et aux données personnelles.

En ce jour de mobilisation mondiale, La Quadrature invite l'ensemble des citoyens à s'informer et à sensibiliser leur entourage quant à la surveillance de masse et à la nécessité de renforcer la protection, tant juridique que technique, de notre vie privée dans l'ère numérique.
Pour plus d'informations, vous pouvez visiter :

  • Le dossier de La Quadrature sur la vie privée ;
  • Prism Break : un site listant les outils libres et décentralisés permettant de remplacer des logiciels et des systèmes populaires mais vulnérables à l''écoute et à la surveillance en ligne ;
  • Controle-tes-donnees.net : un site de sensibilisation mis en ligne par des bénévoles de La Quadrature, proposant des guides pour utiliser des outils libres protégeant la vie privée (voir : « Comment reprendre le contrôle ») ;
  • Privacy International : une ONG défendant le droit au respect de la vie privée dans le monde.

Soutenez La Quadrature du Net!

[Video] Reclaim Our Privacy

Thanks to the generosity of supporters who helped crowd-fund it, and of Benoît Musereau who volunteered to direct it, La Quadrature du Net publishes ”Reclaim Our Privacy”, a three-minute movie that explains the threat to, the importance of protecting, and the tools to reclaim our privacy online. If you want to contribute to the funding of this movie, it is still possible to do so here. Any funds received above the target amount will be shared between Benoît Musereau and La Quadrature du Net. The movie is released under CC BY-SA, so feel free to share or remix it! <3

Download it!

For further information on these issue:

Movie's credits

Crowd-funded by (thanks, and lots of Datalove to you all! <3)

Aknok, Anaelita, Arofarn, Azerka, Bamban, Beeaware, Benjamin Piouffle, Benjamin Sonntag, Billecoq, Billux, Bmoc, Bourbaki, Cartron, Cellular, Cerran, Chato, Chopopope, Christian P. MOMON, Cioccu, Coucouf, Crowder, Cryptie, Dalb75, Darathor, Datarmine, David de Beleville, Ddadon, Didier_b-2, Djean, Domaccord, Elessar, Elfabixx, Elizabeth Nicholson, Elpouyou, f.0x2501.org , Fabhuy, Faereth, Fenn, Fflo, Florent_ato, Florent Darrault, Fraanek, Franck-awo, Franckpaul1984, François Tessier, Francoist-2, Galou Gentil, Gastavocats, Gawel, Geodelc, Gllm, Glatteispogo, gty, Gwendanc, Hadelie, Hebus63, Irslo, Ischiros, J4mes, Janval5, Jean-Louis Séré, jeey, Jean-Sébastien, Jeffman78, Jérémy GUEROUT, Jfch_, Jfomhover, Jimi_dave, Julien Fastré, Kadcom, Kaulian, Keplerpondorskell, Klorydryk, Kyriog, Laelaeta, Lcottereau, Le_Coyote, Lesauterhin, Les chats cosmiques, m09, Maillon, mamzelle_S, Martin Bahier, Mathieu HAAGE, Matrium, Milhouse_fr, Morgiou, Mrtino, Mulot, Mutokenji, Myoshi, Natim, Nicolasrtt, Nicorr, Nitot, Number, Olivier Cortès, Oneveu, Osmoze950, Ouroboros75, Outils Conviviaux, Pep1, P Ernewein, Petch, P Moniez, Puilliack, Raphette, Renk, Rikle_s, Rogdham, Rouroux, Saian, Saintraph, Samuel Tardieu, Se7h, Sempiternel, Snifiboy, Spiwit, Steph3187, Sureau, Sylvain Cazaux, Tael67, Taker, Taziden, Tekarihoken, Thd_it, Thomas Moreau, Thorleif_, Tomlefol, Torlus, Txitua, Vehem, Widokristus, Wookie51, Xixo, Yann2192, Ygster, yost3d, Yoya971, Yoygldstn

‘Blogging Ghana’ to Establish Country's First Physical Social Media Hub

Blogging Ghana's proposed Social Media Hub. Photo used with permission.

Blogging Ghana's proposed Social Media Hub. Photo used with permission.

Internet penetration in Ghana is about 14 percent and has been on the up and up for the last decade as more Ghanaians, especially young people, have hooked up to the web. As a result, the number of Ghanaians on various social media platforms is also increasing rapidly, and some now see a need for a physical social media hub to facilitate the activities of the many people who use social media or want to learn about it.

Enter Blogging Ghana, the country's largest organization of bloggers and social media enthusiasts with more than 100 members. The group launched a campaign on January 20, 2014 to establish Ghana's first ever social media hub, explaining on their website:

A physical meeting place, a hub, will go a long way to provide a platform for the experienced bloggers in the organisation to train students and professionals on how to use blogging for creating #MoreStories and use social media to advance their agenda as citizens in Ghana.

As part of the campaign, Blogging Ghana hopes to raise 10,000 US dollars through crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo. The hashtag used for the online campaign is #morestories. The organisation also launched a video campaign on YouTube:

Africa on the Blog, a multi-author blog by people of African heritage, which is supported by Babs Saul and Sarah Arrow, explained the history of blogging in Ghana:

The blogging and social media scene in Ghana has improved in the last five years. The West African country has seen the number of bloggers in the country grow from just a handful in 2005 to several hundreds this year. This trend was facilitated by a bold step taken by a Swedish blogger who had moved to Ghana some five years ago. Kajsa Hallberg Adu who is now the Chair of Ghana’s biggest association of bloggers brought all the bloggers who were active online under one roof to discuss their passion. With time, this small group of internet users decided to introduce blogging and the use of social media tools to many other people who may be interested but just didn’t know how. This selfish desire to spread such knowledge lead to what has today become the nation’s biggest blogging and social media event.

Edward Amartey-Tagoe, the director of corporate services at Blogging Ghana, also recounted how things were half a decade ago:

Some five years ago, there were only a handful of bloggers in Ghana, since then, bloggers and Internet enthusiasts have been organised under one umbrella body to build capacity, learn and share ideas from one another. Today, we are an influential organisation with a yearly event and awards ceremony who produce local content online on blogs and on various social media channels. We want to share our skills and create #morestories!

ENews Ghana published the campaign on their website:

Bloggers in Ghana are creating Ghana’s first Social Media hub for bloggers and social media enthusiasts to meet, interact and share more local content from and we think it will make a great feature on GOOD.

Social Media is growing in Ghana and we (Blogging Ghana) has over the past 5 years been a leader in Ghana. In 2012, with funding from USAID, UKAID, EU & DANIDA, we used social media to cover Ghana’s elections; raising awareness of the issues and empowering politicians and citizens. We also in 2013 organised Ghana’s first social media awards which was huge success. The organisation’s work has been featured on Joy FM, Citi FM, Mashable, Aljazeera and BBC.

We want to do more and get more Ghanaians to use social media to tell their stories. We want to overcome the internet and power challenges bloggers face.  We have therefore launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a haven/hub with a co-blogging space to and create the much needed local content.

Spy Ghana, an online news agency, quoted Blogging Ghana Chair Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha):

It makes sense for a social media organization to use our online network and do crowd-sourcing to fulfill our dreams. We think Ghana in ready for a meeting place for social media enthusiasts and we cannot wait to create #morestories about Ghana for the world to read!

Award-winning blogger Macjordan (@Macjordan) expressed his support for the social media hub on his blog:

BloggingGhana is pleased to launch an Indiegogo campaign towards the creation of a Social Media Hub in Ghana for bloggers and citizen journalists to be trained in Social Media and increase local content creation.

BloggingGhana – Ghana’s largest community/network of bloggerscitizen journalists and social media enthusiasts is reaching out to all and sundry to chip-in and support this worthy cause.

I’m very pleased and honored to be a part of this organization and would appreciate your support in any way.

When Algeria's Police Fail to Act, Citizen Journalists Step in

Not long after evidence of police abuse was exposed by citizen journalists there last month, cyber activists in the city of Ghardaïa have once against uncovered failings of Algeria's police forces, this time for not stepping in to protect a man who as killed in public after being kidnapped by a group of local gangsters.

Sectarian tensions in this region situated in the heart of the M'zab valley are high, and cyber activists and citizen journalists are doubling their efforts to expose the violent clashes between the Ibadites minority (a.k.a Mozabites in this region) and the majority made of Muslim Sunni communities, publishing video evidence on YouTube. The publicity generated by the activists’ first videos showing police abuse against Ibadites prompted Algerian authorities to launch an investigation and sanction the officers involved.

The goal of these citizen journalists is clear: share the reality on the ground with the Algerian population, whose awareness of the situation is obscured by the lack of reporting in the mainstream media. In fact, many facts and elements of the situation are not reported. For instance, the media seldom reports on the complicity of security forces with local thugs who vandalize and wreck havoc in the city to increase sectarian conflict between the Ibadites and the Sunni. The photos below taken by Mozabites activists show the reality of the crimes occurring in Ghardaïa right under the nose of police:

Photo gardaia activistes

Photo posted on Facebook by Ghardaia activists showing crime evidence in the city. Used with permission.

Among the crimes exposed by the activists was the case of 21-year-old Mozabite youngster Babaousmail Azzedine. Azzedine was attacked in public after being kidnapped by local gangsters on February 5, 2014. The youngster succumbed shortly after to his injuries, as a result of 20 knife wounds he received.

The crime shook Ghardaïa to its core. Yet Azzedine assassins are still free. Activists retrieved amateurs photos of the murder captured by eyewitnesses and assembled all the video and photographic evidence adding captions as well as geographical and historical annotations. The footage shows Azzedine's aggressors as they assaulted him:

Disseminated via YouTube, citizen journalism website Envoyés Spéciaux Algériens (Algerian Special Envoys) [fr, ar] and independent news site Algérie-Focus [fr], the video went viral and sparked public outcry. It comes at a time when the Interior Minister and the Chief of the Algerian Police were visiting the region in an attempt to appease the situation. Still, local authorities have yet to arrest anyone in the murder, but an investigation was launched by the national armed forces to track down Azzedine's murderers, who can be clearly identified in this video:

In the meantime, numerous online communities are working together to alert Algerian authorities to the situation in the region and to pressure them into acting against against sectarian violence in M'zab. Ghardaïa News [fr] and Ahdath Ghardaïa  (Gharadaia Events) [fr, ar] are two news sites that regularly fight to report on the violence against the Mozabite population.

The tremendous work of these activists was not in vain. The impunity of the criminals was publicly revealed, putting the Algerian authorities in a compromising situation and forcing them into action. Violence hasn't stopped in Ghardaïa, but this a positive step forward for the local population.

Four short links: 11 February 2014

  1. China’s $122BB Boom in Shadow Banking is Happening on Phones (Quartz) — Tencent’s recently launched online money market fund (MMF), Licai Tong, drew in 10 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in just six days in the last week of January.
  2. The Weight of Rain — lovely talk about the thought processes behind coming up with a truly insightful visualisation.
  3. Data on Video Streaming Starting to Emerge (Giga Om) — M-Lab, which gathers broadband performance data and distributes that data to the FCC, has uncovered significant slowdowns in throughput on Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T. Such slowdowns could be indicative of deliberate actions taken at interconnection points by ISPs.
  4. Javascript Puzzlers — how well do you know Javascript?

February 10 2014

The Day We Fight Against Surveillance and in Support of Privacy

Paris, 11 February 2014 — Over the last year the public across the globe was made aware of massive global surveillance conducted by the NSA and its partners or counterparts, but also by private tech companies. In response, and in celebration of the victory against SOPA, PIPA and ACTA two years ago and in memory of one of its key architects, Aaron Swartz, La Quadrature du Net joins this day of mobilisation The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance, which will mark actions by civil rights groups from all over the world. This day is a perfect occasion for all citizens to get informed, and to act to defend our privacy against private and public surveillance. Below are actions carried out by La Quadrature and its supporters today.

“Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.”

This Tuesday 11 February is a global call to arms against surveillance. Many organisations around the world defending human rights in all its forms, such as freedom of speech, privacy, or press freedom, have joined forces for a day of mobilisation against mass surveillance. The global problem is that surveillance, public and private, has gone way beyond embarrassement between countries. It is undermining the basis on which our democratic systems and thus our rights as citizens rely, such as the protection of journalistic sources or confidential communication with a lawyer. As the Necessary and Proportionate petition, signed by La Quadrature du Net and more than 300 other NGOs stated, any legitimate surveillance has to be, amongst other things, established by legal statutes, transparent, have a legitimate aim, be necessary and proportional to the threat, involve user notification and have adequate public oversight.

Several actions, online and offline, are planned by organisations across the globe. Events are listed here. Since the first Snowden revelations, La Quadrature du Net has consistently advocated new asylum rules for whistle-blowers reporting serious violations of fundamental rights, but also the suspension of the Safe Harbour agreement between the EU and the US for all companies listed as participating to PRISM and other NSA programs, reinforcement of the data protection regulation against similar circumvention of fundamental rights and support to decentralized free software applications based on strong cryptography. Today, La Quadrature has coordinated the launch of several projects:

Reclaim Our Privacy

Thanks to the generosity of supporters who helped crowd-fund it, and of Benoît Musereau who volunteered to direct it, La Quadrature du Net publishes ”Reclaim Our Privacy”, a three-minute movie that explains the threat to, the importance of protecting, and the tools to reclaim our privacy online. If you want to contribute to the funding of this movie, it is still possible to do so here. Any funds received above the target amount will be shared between Benoît Musereau and La Quadrature du Net. The movie is released under CC BY-SA, so feel free to share or remix it! <3


Download it!

NSA Observer Website

Volunteers supported by La Quadrature du Net put together a website about “Things the NSA doesn't want you to know (and why you should know about it)”: NSA-observer.

The numerous revelations on NSA surveillance represents a lot of information that no one had presented in a format that was easy to access and understand. The authors gathered the information into a public-domain licensed website and freely-downloadable database. Moreover, in order to comprehend the system, the website provides visuals of the connections between NSA programs, attack vectors and compartments. The website is a work in progress and the authors welcome involvement by others in order to keep the data up to date and make it more accessible to the general public.

“Nothing To Hide” by La Parisienne Libérée and Jérémie Zimmermann

La Parisienne Libérée is a French journalist who sings the news once a week. She invited Jérémie Zimmermann, cofounder of La Quadrature du Net, for a song on personal data and privacy.

On this global day of action, La Quadrature encourages all citizens to get informed and share information about surveillance and the need for better legal and technical protection for privacy in the digital age. For more information, visit:



Support La Quadrature du Net!

INFOGRAPHIC: Pursuit of Happiness in Africa

Happiness Value Index for the African Continent via Afrigraphique CC-NC-2.0

Happiness Value Index for the African Continent via Afrigraphique CC-NC-2.0


The Afrographique blog mapped the happiness index for the African continent. Topping the ranking are Angola and Mauritius who hold the same happiness index as Albania and Russia, respectively. In related news, the Pharell’ single “Happy” has been used by dancers around the world to celebrate the new year 2014. All the videos are compiled at the blog We are Happy from . Below are the videos from Antanannarivo, Madagascar:

and Cotonou, Benin:

In the Information Age, the End of Status Quo for Morrocan Media

Hicham Lasri is a film maker from Casablanca, Morocco. In his second movie called “C'est eux les chiens” (They are the dogs”), Lasri talks about the evolution of media in Morocco [fr] with the expansion of information technology:

Moi j'ai grandi dans un pays où les informations à la télévision expliquent que tout se passe bien, qu'on est géniaux [..]Forcément c'est une information qui ne dérange pas, qui ne crée pas de troubles, qui permet d'anesthésier la nation. Le film raconte deux événements : les émeutes de 1981 et trente plus tard, en 2011, c'est le printemps arabe. La première révolte en 1981 n'a pas marché parce que l'information ne circulait pas. En 2011, il y a une chaîne de solidarité qui s'est créée. Les gens sont interconnectés. Quand on tape sur quelqu'un tout le monde est au courant et l'indignation va gagner en ampleur. C'est la fin du statu quo.

I grew up in a country where tv news told us that everything was OK, that we are doing great [..] It was the type of information that did not bother anyone, did not create any troubles and anesthetized the nation. The film tells the story of two events: the riots of 1981 and 30 years later, in 2011, the Arab Spring. The first revolution in 1981 did not succeed because the information could not be shared. In 2011, a chain of solidarity has been created. Now people are interconnected. When someone is being beat up, everyone knows and outrage will rise. It's the end of the status quo.

Here is an interview of Lasri  talking about the movie [fr]:

February 08 2014

A Video That Made 50 Schools Safe

Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Amit Topno from Torpa Block, Jharkhand talks about making a video that brought about a positive change that had potentially saved the lives of 5000 people across 35 villages in his state. When his video explaining the problem of lightning strikes and the inaction of the authorities was screened to villagers, journalists and local government officials, the rest was easy. They pressurized to secure permissions to install lightning conductors in 50 schools across Torpa Block.

What Do the Streets Sound Like in Spain?

el sonido de las calles

“The sound of the streets”

What do the streets sound like? This questions opens “The sound of the streets” [es], a documentary that portrays the work and life philosophy of five street musicians — Manuel Marcos, El Terraza de Jeréz, Pedro Queque Romero, Little Boy Kike, including two singers, and a group, Los Milchakas, who work outdoors.

Produced by BuenaWille [es] – a space that promotes cultural projects – the documentary was released in May 2013 under a Creative Commons license. As a nonprofit, its goal is to promote street music and expose these musicians’ testimonies to the public. 

“I play for the love of music and because of necessity,” says Abdul Yabbar, singer and guitarist on the streets of Granada, who after losing his job saw no other option but to use his talent to “get by.” The film's protagonists live and offer their art in southern Spain, where the weather is warm and the people are more receptive, according to them. Most of them report the most positive aspects of their work, but also talk about the difficulties that come with this lifestyle, like the indifference of pedestrians, low tolerance from authorities, economic insecurity, and even complaints from neighbors that sometimes go as far as throwing objects and food at them because they consider them annoying, which is what happened to Abdul. 

Here is the complete documentary [es]: 

There are also people who appreciate musicians who try to enliven the streets. A YouTube user posted a video from a group called Milchakas, which appears in the documentary, getting over 7,000 visits. The following comment is in the description: 

This wonderful group in Granada, Spain brings so much joy and happiness to the constant stream of tourists and locals that pass them on the way to Alhambra or perhaps, Sacromonte. Their music is a blend of Spanish, reggae and a few other styles.

These artists are united by their talent and love for music, but most dream of promoting themselves, gaining visibility, and being able to play in bars. The streets are not easy and working in them seems increasingly difficult. This is how it is, for example, in the Spanish capital where the Madrid City Council has restricted their job. Whoever wants to play in the streets of the capital must pass an audition to have a license that authorizes them to work in the Central District. Artistic street activities that have passed the test still face a series of restrictions [es] on schedules, distance between each musician, width of the streets where they are permitted to play, and the level of noise pollution, among others. 

These new measures have generated criticisms, above from the artists. One video in particular in which two musicians criticize the impositions of the city council. Both the media and social networks have embraced the humorous and critical video that already has had over 350,000 views on YouTube [es]:

Here is a snippet of the song starring a group that called itself the Potato Omelette Band: 

Ay mi Madrid, pobre ciudad mía, que quitan artistas para poner policías, tú que eras toda alegría, ahora gris color ceniza, no hay mejor jurado que el de la gorra, a veces no hay nada, a veces te forras …pobre músico que no se ha vendido, esta ciudad no es para artistas.

Oh my Madrid, my poor city that removes artists to be replaced with police, you who used to be all joy now are the color of gray ash, there is no better jury than the one in the cap, sometimes there is nothing, sometimes you make a killing… poor musician that has not sold himself, this city is not for artists. 

February 07 2014

Film Shows How ‘Development’ Turns Tribal People Into Beggars

A new film, ‘There You Go!’, has been launched by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, which takes a satirical look at how tribes are often destroyed in the name of ‘development’. The 2-minute animation shows how ‘development’ can rob self-sufficient tribal people of their land, livelihood and pride and turn them into beggars.

Please watch the film here.

Uruguayan ‘Asado', Much More Than Just a Barbecue

asado4

Photo published by Jorge Alonzo on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

When we think of Uruguayan cuisine, one iconic dish always comes to mind: the ‘asado‘, or barbecue. But this is more than just a traditional dish, it represents the country's whole identity.

This dish is an icon of Uruguayan and Argentine tradition par excellence, acting as a social linchpin, as one of the most strongly rooted customs and as a symbol of friendship. No-one, or nearly no-one, prepares a barbecue for themselves alone. The barbecue is a reason to meet, an excuse for a get-together, to bring together those who are separated for whatever reason.

On Vimeo, Geoff Stellfox shares a brief video of a traditional Uruguayan ‘asado':

The ‘asado’ is also a cause of rivalry between opposite shores of the Río de la Plata. Both Argentines and Uruguayans boast of having the best barbecue in a debate as varied as there are palates in the world.

The daily newspaper El País [es] comments:

Los argentinos dicen que son ellos los que hacen el mejor asado, a veces nos reconocen que tenemos mejor carne (excepto el bife de chorizo que es argentino por unanimidad), nos matamos por la mejor receta del chimichurri, nos reímos de los mexicanos que cocinan a la llama y descalificamos a los porteños que cocinan con carbón.

The Argentines claim that they are the ones who make the best barbecue, they do occasionally admit that we have better meat (except the ‘bife de chorizo’ which is Argentine by definition), we batter each other over the best recipe for ‘chimichurri‘ [a special sauce for the meat], we laugh at the Mexicans who cook in the flame and we dismiss the Porteños who cook using charcoal.

When we speak of the barbecue, we are not necessarily referring to a mere lump of cooked meat, but rather to all the paraphernalia which surrounds it, the different kinds of meat and vegetables so that everybody feels included, whether they are meat-eaters or vegetarian. The fire which brings people together and protects them also has a central role, as it has done since the dawn of humanity.

In the absence of a grill, many households have substituted the typical grilled barbecue [es] for the oven-baked barbecue in their daily cooking. This option is considered a second-best by connoisseurs of the ‘asado', but it is easier to work in to the daily life of Uruguayan families. In order to simplify the dish's preparation still further, the well-known chef Sergio Puglia [es] even suggests a barbecue with salsa criolla [es] made in the microwave on his website.

xczxc

Photo published by Bruno Maestrini on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The role of the barbecuer -'asador’ in Spanish- is fundamental to this social event, transforming them into the architect of the feast and to a certain extent, into a master of ceremonies. The barbecuer is the one who takes the lead in this dish, the one who manages the timing and signals when and how to savour their work. The skill of the barbecuer determines the quality of the barbecue and if they are successful, they will receive praise and applause. However, if they get it wrong they will be the target of taunts and reprimands, until they manage to redeem themselves with another barbecue which meets expectations.

The traditional midday barbecue held on construction sites constitutes another iconic moment in the life of the dish. This is a ritual for construction workers who gather to eat together, regain strength to continue working and strengthen the brotherly bonds which make it easier to work and live together during these tough working days.

xcvzxczx

Photo published by Nae on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Besides the traditions and the friendship, there is also a veil of mystery surrounding a good ‘asado'. Each barbecuer has their secrets and their own particular way of preparing the meat, which gives each barbecue its unique and unrepeatable taste. Even if these secrets were to be revealed, it would still be impossible to repeat as the barbecue is much more than just a dish, it is a magical moment to be shared.

In Uruguay, but above all in Montevideo, the majority of gastronomic venues are specialised barbecues [es] or they have the barbecue as an option on their menu.

The daily newspaper El Observador [es] visited one of these venues to reveal the secrets for making the best Uruguayan ‘asado’ [es]:

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl