The Burmese blogosphere gets ready for November’s general election ; Argentine web users comment on the country’s child police program phenomenon ; and an interactive map showing developments in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
BURMESE GENERAL ELECTIONS
Burma is getting ready for the General Election on the 7th November. The prisoner status of Aung San Suu Kyi means that her party has been excluded from the ballot; she is under house arrest but will have the right to vote nonetheless. Here’s a look at some online reactions in the run up to the first elections in the country since 1990.
Young local bloggers who have never voted before are extremely enthusiastic about this ballot. This network of web users that was formed in 2007 to relay the demonstrations organized by Buddhist monks, is broadcasting information on the electoral process online. On voting day, they will try to make up for the absence of foreign observers by providing coverage of the elections on the Internet.
Dissidents living in exile are also doing their part and running their anti-regime campaign online. Political refugees say the democracy is a pretense and have recently sent these video messages calling for the International Community to not recognize the results of the ballot.
And this cartoon, made by two Thailand based opponents is currently circulating on the Burmese blogosphere. It depicts General Than Shwe, in power since 1992, as an unscrupulous Buddhist who wastes no time in killing any protestors who interrupt his prayer time.
According to sites belonging to exiled opposition members, the regime is trying to silence any online criticism. They accuse the ruling military junta of orchestrating a series of cybernetic-attacks on Monday that left these pro-democracy media outlets paralysed for several hours.
ARGENTINA: CHILD POLICE PROGRAM SPURS CONTROVERSY
This video currently circulating on the web in Argentina has sparked controversy in the country. We see children aged from 9 to 14 years old take part in a police training session. These children are all members of a child unit in the police force of Esquel in Patagonia. These images have been widely debated by the local blogosphere.
This is not something new in Argentina. As these numerous online videos illustrate, there are in fact many child police brigades all over the country. The Misiones province alone in the North of the country allegedly has 27 different child programs, with near to 2 000 members.
The aim of these brigades is to educate the younger members of society, teach them self-defense and how to respect figures of authority, which are the police and family. According to this female police officer in charge of one child brigade, without this program many children would sink into delinquency.
But some do not look upon the phenomenon of child police officers favourably. Nora Schulman, a children’s rights activist, says that it is not the police’s role to educate children, and that it is at school that they should learn to respect certain values. She thinks these brigades quite simply breach children’s rights.
Many parents in the country do not share the same point of view. This Facebook group was created to demand that the child police program is maintained in Esquel and already has over 3 500 members. The parents believe this is a healthy activity for their children and hope the brigades will still exist in the future.
ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN THE WEST BANK
American not for profit organization, Americans for Peace Now, APN, has recently posted this interactive map online, on which you can follow the evolution and development , in real time, of the Israeli settlements in the West bank. Each settler’s house is indicated in blue on the map, whilst the settlements that have not been recognized by the government are in red. The aim of the initiative is to show the reality of the land and provide clear and precise information on the situation at the scene.
5 BILLION PHOTOS ON FLICKR
This is the 5 billionth photo uploaded onto the famous photo sharing site Flickr. It is the roof of the Woodward building in Vancouver, Canada. Flickr explains on its blog that in order to reach this astronomical figure of 5 billion photos, the site, which was created in 2004, receives around 3000 new images per minute, that over 4 million per day. 21
VIDEO OF THE DAY
The maker of this short video clip had the original idea of exploring a day in the life of a “creative”. At the centre of the picture, a piece of paper remains desperately blank whilst the designer devotes his time to everything apart from the creative job in hand. The video ends up becoming an ode to procrastination.