America’s online community in shock following the murder of an Iraqi woman in California. Egypt is busy preparing for May’s presidential election. And a British student is sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist remarks on Twitter.
USA: Iraqi woman’s death sparks online movement
Shaima Alawadi fled her native Iraq in 1993 to go and live in the United States. She died on Saturday aged 32 after being violently assaulted three days earlier at her home in El Cajon in California. One of her daughters, Fatima told a local television channel that she found her mother lying in a pool of blood, with a letter nearby reading “Go back to your country, you terrorist”.
The message clearly indicates that this was a hate crime, and has sparked outrage among America’s online community still reeling over the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old black teen who was shot and killed in February by a neighbourhood watch volunteer. The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear and social networkers have been quick to draw parallels between the two incidents, with the hoodie worn by the teenager being compared to the hijab worn by Shaima Alawadi.
And so web users have taken to Facebook posting photos of themselves wearing a hijab, to draw attention to and condemn the murder of the mother of five; these messages of support for her family have been sent in from across the US, and also the rest of the world.
Rallies are due to take place over the next few days. In this video for example students from Asheville in North Carolina are urging people to join their demonstration wearing either a hooded sweatshirt or a hijab, in tribute to Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi.
Egypt prepares for upcoming presidential election
Egyptians will be heading to the polls on the 23rd and 24th May for the first round of voting in Egypt’s presidential elections, a historic ballot to decide who will succeed ousted president Hosni Mubarak. The candidates are busy drumming up support to win over as many voters as possible, and are putting up campaign posters all over the country.
This particular strategy is very popular with Hazem Salah Abou- Ismaïl, former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and official presidential candidate; he has been putting up pictures of himself wherever possible. As we can see in these amateur photos, the people of Egypt are somewhat swamped by his posters, they are not just found on walls, but also on cars and grocery shop refrigerators.
This frantic bill posting has made the presidential hopeful the butt of numerous jokes from Egypt’s online community. This Twitter user says the future head of state will have three main priorities: combatting poverty, tackling unemployment and removing all of Abou- Ismaïl’s campaign posters which have taken over the urban landscape. This other web user says, with a heavy dose of irony that NASA has found 5,000 of his posters on Mars.
And of course all sorts of parodies of Abou-Ismaïl’s posters have emerged on the web. This site in fact compiles all these contributions from online comedians, there are dozens of reworked photos depicting the candidate in a host of unlikely situations, and as far as the people behind them are concerned; these posters would make fantastic campaign ads.
Now trending on social networks
As Liam Stacey has just found out, posting offensive remarks on Twitter can result in a prison sentence. The British social networker has been jailed for 56 days for posting racist comments about Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba who suffered a heart attack last week. His remarks were met with widespread condemnation and sparked a flurry of tweets from other users of the social networking site. The 21 year old has also been suspended from university and his Twitter account has been permanently deleted.
Tate Modern London launches web platform for live art
London’s Tate Modern has launched an experimental program consisting of a series of artist performances created specifically to be broadcast live on YouTube. The first commission was by French choreographer Jérôme Bel. His piece entitled “Shirtology” was danced by Frédéric Seguette and streamed live on Thursday. All performances will be followed by a question and answer session, and the next one will take place on the 26th April with Argentine artist Pablo Bronstein.
Video of the day
Every year, to celebrate the arrival of Spring thousands of people take part in the Festival of Colours at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Lotus Temple, in Spanish Fork in the US state of Utah. A highly festive affair which sees participants throwing coloured powder into the air, giving the event an even more magical feel. And if you were unable to attend this year’s edition, then this video should give you an idea of what you missed…