The child victims of Syria’s brutal repression of the anti-government uprising. Online reports of the sexual assaults on women in Egypt. And a video infographic on the world of social media in 2011.
Syrian crackdown does not spare children
These pictures are available online and are hard to stomach. They were uploaded on the 15th November and according to Syrian cyber activists, show the lifeless body of Salem Ibrahim Shartah, a twelve year old boy, who was killed by security forces in Idlib in north western Syria.
This video was apparently filmed on Monday in the suburbs of Damascus; children and teenagers often join in the anti-government protests taking place across the country.
Young protesters are not spared by forces loyal to Bashar al Assad. Various sources have reported that between 250 and 300 children have been killed by security forces since the uprising began 8 months ago, something which was condemned in a recent report released by the United Nations Human Rights Council, in which Damascus is accused of crimes against humanity.
The Local Coordination Committees of the Syrian Revolution have said on their website that 10 children have been tortured to death whilst in detention. Such was the case for Hamza al-Khatib who has become a symbol of the brutality of the Syrian regime. Back in May, pictures of the 13 year old boy’s mutilated body shocked the entire planet.
And web users are now mourning the death of 9 year old Sari Saoud. According to reports from Syrian cyber activists, this little boy from a Christian family was killed by loyalist forces in Homs. Official State television is challenging this version of events, and is airing this interview with his distraught mother, who declares her son was killed by terrorists.
Sexual harassment in Egypt
There has been a proliferation of accounts from female journalists in recent days saying they have been sexually assaulted as they cover the protests in Egypt against the ruling military. These reports highlight a recurring phenomenon in the streets of Cairo, since the start of the revolution.
The seriousness of the situation is emphasized in a recent statement published on the « Reporters without Borders » web site. The NGO says that women run a greater risk than men when covering events in the country.
But it’s not just female journalists that are vulnerable to sexual harassment. This video was filmed last week, and is said to show female blogger Aliaa Elmahdy assaulted by a group of men as she attempted to leave Tahrir Square. The activist recently published nude photos of herself online, something which shocked many of her fellow citizens and which could have partially motivated the attack.
It would seem sexual assaults have become more prevalent in recent weeks and the site « Harass Map » intends to actively fight this by mapping cases of sexual harassment, from salacious remarks to more violent physical attacks, in the capital and the rest of the country. Women are strongly encouraged to report any incidents of sexual harassment during protests on the interactive map.
The vast majority of aggressors are men taking advantage of the huge crowds of protesters where they can act with impunity. But NGO Amnesty International has reported there have been other accounts of “organized” attacks on women carried out by soldiers from the Egyptian military, which has been ruling the country since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Barack Obama joins Google +
Barack Obama is campaigning for reelection next year, and social networks are playing a vital role. The US president’s people have just opened an account on the recently launched Google + service. Last month, the occupant of the White House joined blogging platform Tumblr and is also present on YouTube and Flickr. Barack Obama has over 24 million fans on Facebook and over 11 million Twitter followers.
Now trending on social networks
This video was posted online on Sunday; it’s called « My Tram Experience » and has since been the subject of lively debate on social networks in the UK. It was filmed by a web user in London, and shows a woman with a child on her lap, hurling racist insults at the other passengers. Her attitude has been widely criticized online with many web users intent on identifying the woman. Their hard work paid off as she was arrested by police on Monday.
Video of the day
This infographic is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites and shows all the latest facts and figures about the world of social media in 2011. It’s packed with all sorts of stats: did you know for example that 11 % of the world population has a Facebook account? that 1736 tweets are sent every second? Or that the majority of the 135 million members of LinkedIn are between 35 and 54 years old?