- Barack Obama - demonstrations - Facebook - guns - riots - Sarah Palin - suicide - Tunisia - Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
A moment of silence
INTERNATIONAL PAPERS, Tuesday, 11th January 2011: the world’s press leads on memorial events following the Arizona shooting in the United States. President Obama and his wife, Michelle, led the nation in paying their respects to the victims.
Many of the papers, including The International Herald Tribune, are leading with a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama as they observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House for the victims of Saturday’s shooting in Arizona. The International Herald Tribune’s main editorial « Death in Arizona » argues the state should take the lead “in quieting the voices of intolerance and imposing controls on guns”
Another American paper, USA Today, leads with the headline: “Chilling note found: I planned ahead”, a reference to 22-year-old Jared Loughner who is charged with the killing spree. USA Today’s front page article asks: “Have nasty politics gotten out of hand?” Some attention has fallen on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. One of her aides, Rebecca Mansour, speaking to the paper, dismisses criticism in some blogs that Palin’s congressional map of takeover targets for November’s elections had “helped encourage violence”. Sarah Palin’s aide is quoted as saying: “This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy”.
The Guardian International’s Ed Pilkington, meanwhile, has a piece « Death for Sale” which asks “what is it with guns and America?” He reports Loughner bought his gun on the 30th November but a month previously had been suspended from the local community college. The college told him he could “only return if he passed a mental health check that confirmed he was not a danger to himself or others”.
In Tunisia, a wave of riots in several cities against high unemployment has plunged the country into its worst crisis in decades. The pro-government paper Assabah has a photo of car that’s been attacked in the town of Kasserine. It quotes a demonstrator saying he is “against anarchy and in favour of economic and social improvements”.
It is difficult to get information about the events in Tunisia. One website Nawaat is posting videos each day to cover events. The latest video is of a candle light vigil in the town of Nefta in the centre of the country.
Italy, too, is looking at events across the water to Tunisia. La Stampa has an interview with Tunisian opposition leader Moncef Marzouki. His party has called for a campaign of civil disobedience. Marzouki argues Europe is wrong about President Ben Ali who he qualifies as a tyrant. “He has to go,” he says. Marzouki says “asking the opposition to be strong is like asking Cambodians what their position was under Pol Pot”.
And The Guardian in the UK has a piece entitled “Brain Food” by Aditya Chakrabortty which says Facebook “offers a thousand links but no connections”. Facebook is the most visited website in the US but questions arise about how it is reconfiguring relationships. Chakrabortty’s piece starts out with the story of young woman, Simone Back, who announced her suicide on Facebook but of her 1,048 Facebook friends not one checked up on her. The article argues one version of friendship is “taking time to trust and talk” while the Facebook version comes down to “ a couple of clicks, a nice little message and things are kept ticking along”.