Concerns for the welfare of a female Syrian blogger following her arrest. Herman Cain suspends his campaign, reactions online. And Wikileaks releases its « spy files ».
Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi arrested
"If anything happens to me, know that the regime does not fear the prisoners but those who do not forget them." This is what cyber activist Razan Ghazzawi had said to her friends and the words have been branded across her blog, ever since her arrest on Sunday.
According to the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, for which she works, the 30 year old was arrested crossing the Syrian-Jordanian border on her way to Amman where she was due to attend a conference on media freedom in the Arab World.
Fellow activists and web users, fearful she will be submitted to torture, have been quick to rally support via social networks, demanding her freedom. She is a prominent blogger who was born in the United States and is one of the few people in Syria posting under their real name.
Razan Ghazzawi has been highly involved ever since the Syrian uprising began over 8 months ago, and has been particularly outspoken on activists’ arrests and the violations of human rights committed by the Bashar al –Assad regime. She recently displayed a photo of film maker and cyber activist Firas Fayyad, who was reportedly arrested at Damascus airport last week, as her Twitter avatar.
As requested by the blogger should she be put in jail, her friends are updating her Twitter thread on a regular basis. She also asked them to deactivate her Facebook account, most probably to protect her contacts from the authorities: it is suspected the regime tortures cyber activists into giving up their passwords, in order to infiltrate their networks. Razan Ghazzawi’s arrest illustrates all too well the dangers faced by Syrian web users campaigning against the regime.
Online reactions to Herman Cain’s campaign suspension
He was for a long time the front runner in the polls to win the Republican nomination for next year’s Presidential Election, but on Saturday, much to everyone’s surprise, Herman Cain suspended his campaign. His decision comes amid numerous claims of infidelity and sexual harassment, and has been met with widespread reaction online.
His critics were quick to comment. On social networks, people have been poking fun of the Conservative candidate’s trials and tribulations under the hashtag #Cain Wreck. Most web users are of the belief that Cain’s credibility had already been dented by his various campaign appearances, and in particular his remarks on foreign policy, and that the only people sorry to see him go are the online comedians who up until now had had a field day with Herman Cain.
But although Cain’s announcement has provoked a lot of online satire and teasing, some have wanted to wish him well, starting with his former competitors in the race for Republican nomination. It’s most probably an effort to win votes from Cain’s supporters but Newt Gingrich and John Huntsman have both posted statements online expressing their friendship and respect for the former presidential hopeful.
And his supporters have also taken to social networks en masse to share their disappointment over what they see as a surprising and unexpected decision. They are sorry he had to abandon the race when the allegations made against him were yet to be proven before a court of law…
Wikileaks releases "spy files"
Whistleblowing company Wikileaks, has just released its “Spy Files”, a list of documents revealing countries that use big brother tactics to monitor web users. It gives it a snapshot of the global web surveillance industry and illustrates the extent to which web users are monitored. Wikileaks has also set up an interactive map with media its partners; it’s available on the site spyfiles.org and in just one click it will show you which countries are spying on their citizens.
Now trending on social networks
#Ballon d’or has been trending heavily on social networks ever since the names of the three finalists were announced on Monday. The award is given to the best football player of the year. Web users have been wondering who out of Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will take home the prestigious prize at the 9th January awards ceremony. And although it looks like the hot favourite is Barcelona’s Argentine striker Lionel Messi, some think the other two finalists could give him a run for his money.
Video of the day
AZO is a man of many talents … as we can see in this video, he can do just about anything: he can juggle all sorts of objects, he can skateboard, he can even solve a Rubik’s cube whilst playing with a yoyo; nothing seems to hold him back…