Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad launch fresh attacks on the Syrian city of Homs. A photo taken out of context sparks lively debate on social networks. And an American professor documenting his cancer battle in online videos.
Syrian forces bomb city of Homs
Syrian cyber activists have been sending out the distress call "SOS Homs" on the Internet. Security forces have stepped up attacks on the city, dubbed the “capital of the Syrian revolution”. Heavy artillery fire has been rocking Homs for several days now.
According to online accounts, the Baba Amr district has been particularly affected by these bombardments; loyalist troops have been using rockets and mortars. In this video which has been posted on the Internet, a resident shows the damage caused by the attacks, and pleads for help.
One of the neighborhood’s field hospitals has reportedly been hit in the shelling. These pictures are being relayed on the Internet by members of the Syrian opposition; we see a doctor angrily condemning the attack which he says has claimed at least three lives so far.
Cyber activists have been posting a lot of videos online which, although difficult to verify, appear to illustrate how not even children are being spared in this military attack. These youngsters gathered in Homs to denounce the growing number of children being killed or wounded in the regime’s bloody crackdown.
For many regime opponents across Syria, like these protesters in a Damascus suburb, China and Russia are largely to blame for this latest round of bloodshed, as on Saturday, both countries vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on the crisis in Syria.
Fake photo of Israeli soldier stepping on girl goes viral
This photo was posted on Facebook last week by an American web user and sparked lively debate on social networks. It shows a soldier, who is presented as a member of the Israeli military, apparently stepping on a supposed Palestinian little girl. The shot was rapidly relayed all across the web, and was met with widespread condemnation online.
Many web users have slammed the behaviour of the soldier in the photograph, demanding he be punished. But after carrying out some online investigations, a number of web users came to the conclusion that the picture has been taken out of context. This Israeli Facebooker says there are several indications that this is a hoax, the first one being that the soldier is not wearing the uniform nor carrying the rifle used by the Israeli Defense Forces. Arab blogger Omar Dakhane confirmed this observation almost immediately, and has even found the original photograph; a picture that dates back to 2009 and was taken during a street-theatre festival in Bahrain.
This could have been the end of it, but the online community can be a force to be reckoned with; web users have decided to react to what they consider to be anti-Israel propaganda. They have created all sorts of spoofs of the controversial photo using image editing software; the soldier has been replaced by the famous Angry Birds for example, or Chuck Norris, or even one of the characters from the Avatar film… it’s an original way of highlighting, in social network language, the absurdity of these accusations made against the Israeli military.
Now trending on social networks
Alberto Contador has been trending heavily on social networks since the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided on Monday to suspend the Spanish cycling champion from racing for two years and strip him of his 2010 Tour de France title, after he tested positive for clenbuterol. The announcement has generated much online commentary. Most Spanish web users appear to be defending Contador, saying the decision is unacceptable, other social networkers meanwhile are hailing the decision, which they deem to be a more than fair punishment.
USA: professor documents cancer battle in online videos
David Oliver is a professor at the University of Missouri in the US. And when the 69 year old doctor was diagnosed with a form of throat cancer, he made a video, which he posted online, to break the news to colleagues. The clip was then relayed on social networks and ended up reaching a much wider audience; David Oliver has since been documenting his cancer battle and various treatments in online videos. The medical school professor hopes that by sharing his experience he will be able to teach and help others.
Video of the day
The latest sports craze to hit the United States is "Ultimate Tazer ball". As we can see in this video, it’s somewhere between handball and American football. Nothing out of the ordinary in that; except that the eight players are all carrying Tasers and are allowed to use them against their opponents! It’s quite literally electrifying, and most probably pretty dangerous, and will no doubt be popular with thrill seekers…