A Syrian pianist taking a stand against the ongoing repression in his country. Web users react angrily to Megaupload being shut down. And YouTube launches an online short film festival.
Malek Jandali, a pianist standing against Syrian crackdown
The talented 39 year old was born in Germany but grew up in Homs. He is now based in the United States, where he openly expresses his support for the popular uprising which began in Syria over 10 months ago.
Back in July he performed at a rally in support of the Syrian opposition organized in Washington, not far from the White House. And although in the United States, Malek Jandali is sheltered from the repression, he has been targeted by the Assad regime’s repressive apparatus nonetheless.
A few days after his concert in the American capital, his parents, who live in Homs, were allegedly physically assaulted by security forces. Photos which have been posted on the musician’s Facebook page appear to back up this version of events.
But despite the threats, Malek Jandali continue to campaign for a Free Syria by giving concerts, or by taking part in fundraising operations for the people of Syria.
And the pianist will soon be releasing a new album called “Emessa” dedicated to the Syrian revolution and more specifically to his home town and flashpoint city Homs, which has been particularly affected by the ongoing violence across the country.
Web users react to Megaupload being shut down
Megaupload, one of the Internet’s largest file sharing sites, was shut down by officials in the US on Thursday, and several of the sites employees including its founder, Kim Schmitz were arrested. The news has been given a frosty reception by the online community; some web users content themselves with simply voicing their outrage online, whilst others appear intent on fighting to get the platform back online.
This is the most definitely the case for Anonymous. The informal hacker group began a series of cyber-attacks on Friday targeting a hundred or so websites across the globe including those belonging to the US Department of Justice and Universal Music group. This large scale operation has been dubbed "#opmegaupload" and looks set to continue: in a recent Twitter post, members of Anonymous have waged cyber war on anyone they feel is trying to censor the Internet.
But despite all this, it looks like many web users think that Megaupload has now gone for good. Some have already started, albeit it somewhat tongue in cheek, their grieving process. The people behind these photo montages for example are paying their last respects to the website that is no more, and this French singer has composed a rap song expressing his sorrow at no longer being able to access Megaupload.
And if this video is anything to go by then it’s not just web users mourning the loss of one of their favourite web sites. The music clip was made last month, in support of Megaupload, and features the likes of actor Jamie Fox, or rapper Kanye West, saying how much they love the website and the various services it provides. It’s a pretty incredible video given the current situation, and ever since Megaupload was shut down it has become increasingly popular.
YouTube film festival
YouTube has teamed up with "Scott Free Productions", the Production Company owned by brothers Ridley and Tony Scott for an online competition called the “YouTube Film festival” which will run from the 2nd of February to the 31st of March. If you want to enter you just have to send in a short film no more than 15 minutes long, to a dedicated channel on the sharing site. The 10 films which receive the most votes from the online community will be premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The overall winner will be given a half a million dollar production grant to create his or her next film.
Now trending on social networks
"Year of the dragon" has been trending heavily on social networks with communities around the world celebrating Chinese New year on Monday. It’s a family holiday and will be celebrated in various cities across Asia over the next two weeks. It’s the year of the dragon, it follows the year of the rabbit and in Chinese astrology, dragon years bring prosperity and fertility, so with this Lunar Year considered to be the best year for having babies, a baby boom is expected across Asia this year...
Video of the day
It used to be planking which involved posting photos online of you lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location… and now the a new trend sweeping across the web is called "Going Ostrich". Well this is what American comedian Nathan Barnatt is hoping! In this video we see him putting his head in all sorts of things, from a car bonnet to a bin, and also a toilet bowl… he’s striking some pretty amazing poses… this looks like something that will definitely catch on…