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Islamist Somali insurgents voice their message on the Net

Latest update : 2009-06-23

In this edition of our Web review: Islamist Somali insurgents broadcast their propaganda on line; Chinese Net users mobilise following the suspicious death of a chef; and a website lists crimes committed in Boston, USA.


Armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers, Islamist insurgents are launching an attack on Mogadishu, the Somali capital. These images were posted online by the Shebab, a group thought to be close to al Qaeda. Their offensive is currently weakening the Somali government, which has called out to neighbouring countries for assistance. 


These radical Islamists are using the Web as a propaganda tool. Share sites are therefore overflowing with photo montages like this one, in homage to these Islamist fighters.


And on their site, the insurgents pay homage to their martyrs. This young man aged 17 is presented as the kamikaze who last week killed the Somali security Minister in a car bomb attack.


Faced with this wave of violence, this Somali Net user, who lives in The Netherlands, sent in this message to the insurgents. He denounces in particular the brain washing of children enrolled by the group, and asserts that with such practices, their movement will never win in Somalia.


Meanwhile, Somali Net users gathered together on this blog are expressing their hope that peace will be restored quickly to the country, in poems such as this one.


Finally, the fate of civilians is causing concern in the blogosphere. According to the UN, who posted on line these photos of refugee camps, over 125,000 people have fled the combat areas in recent weeks.




The suspicious death of a chef is causing outcry on the Chinese web. After his lifeless body was found in front of a hotel in the city of Shishou, in Hubei province, China, the police concluded that it was a case of suicide. A conclusion contested by local citizens, who clashed with the police this week-end.


The armed forces had to retreat on several occasions, faced with the massive mobilisation by inhabitants in solidarity with the family who suspect murder. These images posted online show police fleeing stones hurled at them by protesters.


An explosive situation that could be followed live on Twitter; in particular the sending in of 30 000 men by the police to disperse the protesters and to collect the body that the crowd were trying to protect. 


Another method set up by local bloggers to keep up to date with developments in the case was this blog, listing information available on the affair. Uncertainty persists as the hotel, which has links to the government, had apparently become a mafia hideout. Furthermore, two women died there in similar circumstances just a few years ago.


While waiting for light to be shed on the death, this net user denounces the attitude of Shishou’s inhabitants. He recalls that to know the causes of the death, an autopsy was necessary. An autopsy that the authorities were not able to carry out, following refusal by the family and the scale of the mobilisation.




Following current crime news in Boston, USA, is now possible. Local police, in collaboration with the web site & Google map has posted on line this map, allowing inhabitants to gain information about crimes committed in the city. Theft, sexual attacks and murders. Both the nature of the crime as well as the place it was committed are mentioned. An online service that is already operational in most states on the east coast as well as in California.


The six videos representing the best of democracy around the world are now available on Youtube. This is the result of an international video competition, Democracy Video Challenge, launched by the UN. The aim of the game was to create a 3 minute long video, completing the phrase ‘democracy is…’. The winners included Poland, Zambia, and the Philippines. The competition mobilised over 900 candidates from 95 countries.


Iran is supposedly one of the largest nations of bloggers. This is the message of this video, which takes a very distinctive look at the role played by the web in the Iranian crisis. Directed the Vancouver School, the video has been creating a buzz since the start of the Presidential elections in Iran and is now a benchmark for illustrating the web’s importance in a country with over 20 million net users. 23



Date created : 2009-06-23