South Sudan prepares for the referendum on independence. Citizens of the Dominican Republic are asking for more investment in education. And a lip dub paying tribute to the biggest web sensations in recent years.
SOUTH SUDAN REFERENDUM
« I do not want children in my country playing with an AK 47 instead of going to school; this is why I am registering to vote ».
This is why Bona, a South Sudanese immigrant living in Baltimore in the U.S. will be voting for the independence of South Sudan in next year’s January 9th referendum.
The South Sudanese diaspora from 8 different countries are being encouraged to vote and take part in this historic day to decide whether or not South Sudan should gain its independence. As we can see in this photomontage South Sudanese born NBA basketball ball star Luol Deng registered on the Chicago electoral list and will be casting his vote. It is hoped these images will encourage his fellow citizens living abroad to also take part in the referendum.
Maggie Fick, an American journalist based in South Sudan is not surprised by this excitement. She is in the city of Juba and says this is far and away the number one topic of conversation in the country at the moment and the outcome will have international repercussions. She thinks it makes sense that the diaspora is so interested.
At the scene meanwhile, some like Paul Oleyo Longony, fear a resurgence of violence in the run up to the referendum. This activist is working in the region and thinks the situation is alarming. He is also worried about the proliferation of weapons that could lead to violence on voting day.
An extremely tense vote and NGOs and other associations in the country have decided to monitor it via the web. They have set up the site sudanvotemonitor.com to gather reports of possible cases of fraud in the electoral process as well as acts of violence that could break out on the fringes.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION
We want a worthy educational system and for this the government must allocate 4 % of the national budget to education. This is the message put across in this online video by members of the Dominican NGO « Coalicion por una educacion digna » who criticize the quality of education in the country and are demanding the government invests more in the sector. The subject has been largely relayed online.
To prove to the government that the majority of people support this demand, the NGO has been organizing demonstrations every Monday for the past few weeks: the rallies have been named “Yellow Monday” in reference to the colour worn by the protestors and as we see in these images, they have been attended by thousands of people in different towns across the country. They hope to make the government realize that investing in education is investing in the future.
The initiative has been relayed on social networks and on Facebook in particular. Numerous groups have been set up in support of the “4 %” movement, and are being used to circulate posters like these ones to display on profile pages or blogs. The project is also being supported by Dominicans living abroad, as illustrated in these photos taken in Madrid in Spain.
The online news site 7dias.com says the government thinks the criticism is unfounded and the campaign is in fact an attempt by the opposition to destabilize the president Leonel Fernandez.
THE POWER OF MUSIC
The aim of « el poder de la musica », the Power of Music, is to give Lorena a child from the impoverished area of Bogota in Colombia her own cello. The project was launched during the Cartagena International Music festival. A cello has been immersed in the Caribbean Sea and Facebook users can help get it out. Every time the project is mentioned in someone’s status, the watertight box carrying the instrument moves closer to the surface. The operation continues until the 2nd of January.
2010 IN PICTURES
The Boston Globe’s large format photo blog, The Big Picture, has selected the best photos of the year: taking us back to the Vancouver Olympic Games in February and also to tragic events like the earthquake in Haiti on the 13th of January. The 40 pictures provide a good round up of the news in 2010.