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Latest update : 2011-10-19

Debate over prisoner exchange to free Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit freed in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, reactions online. After much online lobbying, Barack Obama deploys troops to Uganda. And an employee quits his job to the sound of a brass band.

Debate over prisoner exchange to free Gilad Shalit

 

The French-Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was freed this Tuesday in exchange for over one thousand Palestinian prisoners. The Israel-Hamas deal has sparked lively debate online.

The thousands of webusers who campaigned for the soldier’s release ever since he was captured in 2006 have been hailing his return to Israel. Parents of terrorist victims have been expressing their support of the operation on this website set up by Gilad Shalit’s family. One of the posts features Galith Steier, whose family was killed in a suicide bombing in a restaurant in Haifa in October 2003.

But this prisoner swap has opened up old wounds for many Israelis. Arnold Roth for example lost his fifteen year old daughter Malka in a terrorist attack in August 2001. He started this online petition calling upon the Israeli government to keep Ahlam Tamimi behind bars; she is a student serving 16 life sentences for her involvement in this attack. The petition has gathered over 8 000 signatures.

But as the site Electronic Intifada says, not all the Palestinian prisoners in Israel are terrorists. Jaime Omar Yassin, is a pro-Palestinian blogger, and in this article he writes about prisoners like Hana’ al-Shalabi. According to sources from a Palestinian NGO she has been in prison for over two years, yet no charges have been made against her.

Child protection organization "Defence for Children International" has expressed disappointment that no minors have been included in the deal, as according to reports, 164 children are currently being held in Israeli jails; most of them were arrested for throwing stones.

 

US troops deployed in Uganda

American president Barack Obama has announced the deployment of around 100 US troops to central Africa, and Uganda in particular, to help regional forces combat the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group which the US has classified as a terrorist organization. The announcement was made in a letter to Members of Congress which has also been posted on the White House website and the decision follows an online lobbying campaign run by Human Rights Watch.

For nearly one year now, the NGO has been appealing to the American Head of State, asking for US intervention in Africa, to put an end to the atrocities committed by the rebel group. And to help get the message across, Human Rights Watch let the victims speak for themselves in the “Dear Obama” campaign, which features men and women sharing accounts of the violence inflicted upon them and asking the US President to take action; poignant appeals for help which include pictures and hand written letters from victims. And it would seem that the campaign has had the desired effect.

Well this is what Andrew Exum believes, he’s a former US Army Officer who goes under the online pseudonym Abu Muqawama. He explains with irony on Twitter that it appears to be NGOs dictating US foreign policy nowadays and that if any soldier want to know where they will be sent next, then they just have to look at articles on the Human Rights Watch website.

Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch has been discussing this active lobbying effort in a number of Twitter posts. He is really pleased with what the NGO has achieved and hopes the deployment of US troops will help bring an end to violence in the region.


Interactive "Drive" map

Here’s something for film enthusiasts: on the American website Movieline.com all the different filming locations for recently released movie Drive have been pinpointed on an interactive map. This fun tool takes you through the streets of Los Angeles and teaches you a little bit about the places the characters in the film go to.

 

Now trending on social networks

Zachary Quinto has been trending heavily on social networks ever since the American actor revealed in an interview with “New York Magazine” that he is gay. The actor, best known for his roles in US series “Heroes” and the film “Star Trek” took to his own personal blog to say that the recent suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer inspired him to come out publicly. The 14 year old gay teen, who features in this online video about homophobic bullying, suffered years of abuse from classmates before taking his own life.

 

Video of the day

This man brought a brass band with him to tell his boss he was quitting. As we can see in this video, after 3 years of hotel work, he decided to hand in his resignation in a memorable fashion. Anyone thinking of moving jobs in the near future; take note!


 

By Electron Libre

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