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Asia-pacific

Afghanistan's bloody election campaign alarms the Web

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-08-17

The rise of violence ahead of Afghanistan's presidential election is the main cause for concern among Web users. Also in this edition, US-based far-right groups burgeon on the Net.

Insecurity in Afghanistan
 
In Afghanistan, just a few days away from presidential and provincial elections, there’s a rising climate of insecurity after the suicide bombing in front of the NATO headquarters in Kabul last Saturday. Blamed on the Taliban, this new attack was intended to demonstrate the government's inability to make the capital secure. A very strained climate, which the Web reports on.
 

US troops in Afghanistan have broadcast several videos like this on the army's Facebook page. Filmed by a helicopter with an infra-red camera, we can see rebels placing a homemade bomb on a road in southern Afghanistan, before being attacked by Marines.
 

NATO has broadcast online documentaries designed to show that police in Afghanistan are prepared, and have increased vigilance to ensure that polling stations are secure for polling day, Thursday August 20.
 

But according to this journalist blogger, many voters will not go to the polls for fear of Taliban retaliation. He says that indelible ink will be left on the hands of those who voted, so that they an be easily spotted by rebels.
 

Meanwhile, several presidential candidates are campaigning on the Web. Most notably Ramazan Bashardost, who is using social networks like Facebook to reach voters, because it seems that traditional media is supporting the current President Hamid Karzai, who is favourite to win the election.

Far-right groups in America


Throughout America, especially in the Midwest, paramilitary groups armed to the teeth are training in camps built in the forest. Anti-government militia with racist ideology claim their movement is patriotic and are making increasing calls on the Web to take up arms.

And according to a recent study by an association well-known for its extreme right philosophy in America, these groups have seen their numbers increase at an alarming rate in recent months.
 

A resurgence of the extreme right, explained in part by the election of a black president. Indeed, as is shown by these sites, Barack Obama is the target of extremists, who accuse him of not being born in the United States and of being an accomplice to a plot to create a single global government.
 

And the Web allows them to broadcast their ideas through channels such as this, where the presenter denounces reforms to the health system, defends the right to bear firearms and accuses Mexican immigrants of being bloodthirsty killers.
 

Many recruitment videos such as these, where people are encouraged to buy rifles, have recently appeared on share sites. But there are signs that their point of view is not unanimous; several right-wing group user accounts have been hijacked in recent days to condemn them.
 

Body paint
 

Visit Kim Joon’s site, a South Korean artist who is a fan of body-painting. His recent work creates a world where bodies seem to float in a brightly-coloured virtual space. In these works, the human body becomes a canvas on which the artist, using editing software, freely plays on textures and examines tattoos, a taboo subject in South Korea.

Date created : 2009-08-17

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