A xenophobic advertising campaign has sparked online controversy in Switzerland. The web is in shock following Tyler Clementi’s suicide. And Cervantes Don Quixote read by web users on YouTube.
"RACIST" CAMPAIGN IN SWITZERLAND
The notoriously xenophobic right wing populist Swiss People’s Party, the UDC, is once again at the centre of scandal in Switzerland. Last week, the political movement admitted being behind an advertising campaign that depicts Romanians and Italians as rats devouring a Swiss cheese.
A web site has been especially created by the UDC to relay this campaign on the web. It is called “bala i ratt”, meaning the rats dance, and explains that the canton Ticino, on the border with Italy, is overrun with foreign workers. 45 000 workers cross the border each day and, according to the party, are the main cause of crime in the canton.
And sections of the local blogosphere appear to be happy with this campaign. A Facebook group has been created in support of the UDC’s initiative and already has over 1 400 members.
These two men, who created the original campaign poster, deny any racist intention. They say that they are both Italian and that this campaign never intended to stigmatize foreign workers; it was about highlighting a problem that bothered the population.
This French blogger working in Switzerland does not share the same point of view. He says he is shocked by the campaign that in his opinion has one aim: put the UDC back in the spotlight. He says this is not the first time the Populist Party has tried to do this, and it has already sparked controversy over the past few years with openly racist posters like these ones.
TYLER CLEMENTI’S DEATH
The suicide of 18 year old American student Tyler Clementi on the 22nd of September has shocked the nation. The young man took his own life after a video of his homosexual encounter was posted online by other students. Tributes from web users continue to pour in online.
Some have chosen to do so through music. Sometimes with a piece especially composed for the occasion and sometimes by playing a well-known tune on his favourite instrument, the violin.
But it is above all, a feeling of anger that dominates the blogosphere. Many video bloggers are saying that Tyler Clementi’s act is directly linked to the persecution he faced because of his homosexuality. Many are calling for an immediate collective realization so that this type of tragedy does not happen again.
Because according to this web user the phenomenon is starting to take on worrying proportions. She says this is the fourth time in just a few weeks that a gay teenage boy has committed suicide after being bullied. She says the authorities have to take action.
Meanwhile, numerous organizations are trying to help young gay and lesbians who are being victimized at school because of their sexuality. Via the Make It Better Project run in partnership with YouTube, web users can share difficult experiences and spread a message of support amongst homosexual students.
The Trevor project is focused on preventing suicide amongst these young homosexuals who are bullied at school. This organization is supported by many artists including Daniel Radcliffe the actor who plays Harry Potter.
THE ICTY ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
The International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has joined social networks and has opened accounts on both YouTube and Twitter, so that the general public and the media can follow ongoing trials and court developments, as well as have access to some of their video archives. Clips of guilty pleas, as well as witness testimonies and short documentaries on the Tribunal and its work have already been posted online.
DON QUIXOTE ON YOUTUBE
Rediscover Don Quixote on YouTube! The Spanish language academy has teamed up with the video sharing site to put together a global reading of Cervantes masterpiece. The book has been divided into 2 000 pieces, which have been offered to web users across the globe. Those who wish to read a passage from the book can sign up on YouTube. The only condition is that they have to read in Spanish. It is also a way for the Academy to use the web to promote the Spanish language.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
How can the safety instruction on airplanes be made less off-putting? These air hostesses from Cebu Pacific Air have the answer: through dance! This video has already been viewed over 5 million times.