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Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

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Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

WEB NEWS

WEB NEWS

Latest update : 2010-01-08

World food programme suspends aid to southern Somalia, the web reacts

In this edition: The world food programme suspends aid to southern Somalia, the web reacts; A documentary glorifying the Colombian FARC movement generates strong online reactions; And a photographer creates upside down portraits.

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN SOMALIA

The UN world food programme has suspended aid to southern Somalia. The reason given by the NGO is the multiplication of attacks by armed groups, which are targeting humanitarian operations and preventing the programme from fulfilling its mission. A decision which could affect over one million Somalis.

The suspension of operations has therefore been decided on in a very tense climate. As explained by this blogger, the Al-Chabab Islamic movement, which controls a large part of the country requested that the NGO, amongst others, pay a monthly tax of 20,000 dollars every six months to guarantee the security of its staff.

A decision taken under duress which this net user, who worked as a humanitarian worker in the country understands. He feels that daily working conditions for NGOs are already difficult enough in Somalia, without the added concern of staff safety.

Meanwhile this net users asserts that the pull out by the NGO in the south of the country may backfire against the Al-Chabab Islamists. According to him, the population could hold them responsible for the forthcoming deterioration in the food situation and make them pay for it.

Meanwhile the Al-Chabab movement continues to use the web to transmit its propaganda. Several videos such as these are circulating online to show that its members dispose of a significant military arsenal and that they rule the country.

FARC DOCUMENTARY

These images, broadcast by Youtube, are taken from a trailer for a documentary glorifying the FARC Colombian guerrilla movement. Presented in Argentina, then broadcast on Colombian TV, it should soon be available in Europe.

The guerrilla fighters speak openly in the documentary. Here one of them shows how he is growing maize, declaring that the FARC do not steal from villagers and subsist by their own means. The man does not speak about coca growing, although this is known to be their main source of revenue, through the production of cocaine.

On Twitter, users are sceptical. This Colombian man mocks the passage and remarks with irony that they also make beautiful ropes for strangling hostages.

And the Colombian president has also denounced the film, entitled, ‘FARC, the XXIth century insurrection’. He considers the guerrilla fighters to be liars and assassins. An allusion to the assassination of a Governor in the south of the country in December claimed by the FARC.

Meanwhile, other videos have been posted online by FARC supporters to show the daily lives of guerrilla fighters. We see members of the armed group speaking about government policies in particular. Or folklore camp scenes.

Low quality images clearly used as propaganda according to this blogger, who describes them as misleading.

UPSIDE DOWN PORTRAITS

Why in the photos of people taken by artist, Brandon Voges does everyone look strange and have a startled look on their face? Simply because the photographer took the images while the models were upside down. A wacky idea which offers a rather original result and which can be discovered on site brutonstroube.com .

MODERN FOSSILS

American sculptor, Christopher Locke, creates fake fossils out of cement, mostly of modern objects: a Nintendo 64 joystick, a three point five inch floppy disk, a Gameboy and phones of all kinds. A site which is sure to intrigue archaeology and outdated technology fans.

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Use paper to show the movements of a young acrobat through an urban environment: this is the challenge the creators of this video set themselves. The video of this original animation, requiring many hours of work, is currently circulating on share sites.

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