Syrian activists using humour and satire to challenge the regime. Online reactions to the death of two journalists killed in Homs. Vladimir Putin’s supporters capitalize on the web in the run up to Russia’s presidential election.
Humour: a weapon for Syrian activists
The Syrian government’s ruthless and deadly crackdown continues. And yet despite the extremely tense situation, determination to force Bashar al-Assad from power remains undented. Because although there is nothing funny about what has been happening in Syria over the past year, activists have been using humour and satire to challenge the authorities.
Activists like the team behind this tongue in cheek video made in the province of Idlib, in north western Syria. The actors are openly mocking the regime’s accusations that the United States and Israel are now supplying the Free Syrian Army with weapons. Equipment they claim to be the height of modernity but which actually turns out to be donkeys, pitch forks and shovels.
This is not the only satirical video doing the rounds on the local web, far from it. This other clip for example became hugely popular when the observers from the Arab League Mission were still present in Syria. The comedians play out a scene in which regime forces massacre civilians as observers look on, holding wads of money, saying the situation is under control, and there’s nothing to worry about in Syria.
And this type of satire is also highly prevalent on social networks and Facebook in particular. The creator of this group for example is denouncing the repression in Homs with this page which provides satirical coverage of events in the hotbed of anti-government opposition from the point of view of a tank maintenance facility. The fictitious establishment is urging the regime to leave armored vehicles in the city for example, as withdrawing them would be bad for business.
Now trending on social networks
And Homs has been at the centre of much online discussion following Wednesday’s announcement that American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik had been killed in the western Syrian city. The news has sparked strong response from the online community; tributes have been pouring in for the two journalists who died in a shelling attack on this city, the epicenter of the Syrian revolution. Many web users have emphasized the dangers involved in war reporting and hail the journalists for their unwavering will and determination in keeping the world informed on events in Syria for what has almost been one year now.
Russia: Putin supporters turn to Internet to spread their message
In this campaign clip, posted online by supporters of Vladimir Putin, a psychologist advises a young woman, “if it’s your first time, then do it for love”. The somewhat suggestive video is aimed at young first time voters in the run up to the Presidential election on the 4th March. The current Prime Minister is the favourite, despite a recent drop in popularity.
And this is not the first time his supporters have used pretty ladies to promote his candidacy; even it incurs the wrath of Russia’s feminist groups. One group of activists made this video last summer, encouraging women to demonstrate their support for Vladimir Putin, by taking their clothes off.
The opposition has little or no access to the traditional outlets, and so the web has become its preferred media. And it is with this in mind that Putin’s supporters are now trying to win over the online community, with this site for example, which presents itself as a social network for Putin supporters. Members are asked to display photos of themselves to demonstrate their loyalty to the Russian strong man.
Emails released by the Hacker group Anonymous appear to show Pro-Kremlin groups have been paying web users for campaigning on behalf of Russia’s powers that be. According to these documents, bloggers can receive sums of up to 600 000 roubles, that’s over 15 000 euros, for leaving comments under negative coverage of Vladimir Putin.
It’s a first in the art world: the website Artprice.com is organizing online auctions for artworks. The site works in a similar way to the well know ‘e-bay’ website and is competing with traditional auction houses like Sotheby’s or Christies. Bidding can go on for several days and the buyers remain anonymous. Artprice has only been active since January but is planning to have a major impact on this very exclusive market, with over 40 000 items up for sale in the coming months.
Video of the day
This video is called «Inception Park», it was made by Fernando Lovschitz who decided to turn the city of Buenos Aires into a theme park. He’s incorporated roller coasters and other white knuckle rides into the streets of the Argentine capital, without their habitual surrounding structures, and the result is very pleasing on the eye…