In this edition : Saudis express their anger in the wake of floods which hit the country; online mobilisation to mark the King of Thailand’s birthday; and rising American stars speak out against poverty.
In the wake of torrential downpours which caused the death of 106 people in the south of Saudi Arabia in recent days, citizens are feeling anger towards the Saudi authorities. As street protests are forbidden in the country, it is online that people are venting their anger.
Over 26,000 net users have joined this Facebook group, launched five days ago and entitled “Popular Campaign to Save the City of Jeddah”. The country’s second largest city and the most affected by flooding. Members denounce corruption by authorities and the obsolete state of infrastructure, incapable of limiting the storm’s impact.
A problem also emphasised by this blogger. According to him, the catastrophe could have in some way been avoided if the management of the City of Jeddah was more transparent and if inhabitants were consulted.
This net user declares that apart from the damage caused in the city, it is mainly the lack of reactivity from the authorities which is causing anger amongst inhabitants. He recalls that no-one is claiming responsibility for the dilapidation of the infrastructure and that no official excuse has been presented as of yet.
Meanwhile, Saudis continue to post videos online, filmed during the floods. Images illustrating the strength of the storms and the extent of the damage caused.
On Saturday Bhumibol Adulyadej will celebrate his eighty second birthday. Festivities in honour of a highly revered King, who has reigned in Thailand for sixty three years, begin on Wednesday. However, the military parade and speech he was to give for the occasion have been cancelled.
An announcement which, as remarked by this blogger, could spark more rumours about the health of the Sovereign, who has been in hospital for two and a half months. The author criticises the lack of information and feels that this attitude will encourage speculation.
The same opinion is shared by this Thai blogger. He stresses that the efforts to prevent coverage of royal affairs simply leaves Thai people unsatisfied. Criticism of the King or the spreading of rumours concerning Him is considered a crime of lese majesty and is severely punished by law.
Meanwhile, net users are using photo montages to show the immense respect they have for the King, who remains a federative figure in a country which is extremely divided in the political domain.
This video, filmed with a mobile phone, shows rehearsals by a group of children aged five, preparing to celebrate the birthday of their King.
Finally, this video, broadcast on the web, urges Thais around the world to take part in the ‘one coin, one wish’ initiative. People are asked to send a coin with the King’s effigy along with their message to the Sovereign to express their gratitude.
THE ROYAL SOCIETY
The Royal Society, one of the world’s oldest scientific institutions, founded in London in 1660, is to post its most memorable research articles online. A way of inviting net users to celebrate its 350th anniversary. Articles written by Isaac Newton demonstrating that white light is a combination of other colours, or by Benjamin Franklin, explaining bolts of lightening are also available on the site. A gold mine of information, just a click away.
MOBILE FILM FESTIVAL
Budding French film-makers have until January four to take part in the Mobile Film Festival 2010. They are asked to produce and send in a one minute long film recorded on their mobile phone. The screen-play, editing and genre may be chosen at will. A jury presided over by the French film maker, Tonie Marshall will award prizes for the best screen-play, actor and actress, amongst other things. Net users will award the ‘Audience’s Prize’ by voting for their favourite mini-film.
VIDEO DU JOUR
They are stars worshipped by teenagers worldwide. They come from the US series, Gossip Girl or the successful film Twilight, and they mobilise against poverty in this video. A campaign launched by the ‘One’ organisation, co-founded by U2 front man, Bono, who fights against poverty and for disease prevention in Africa in particular.