Growing concern for a jailed Bahraini activist on hunger strike. Things turn sour for a Twitter campaign that started out with the best of intentions. And a Russian film maker takes us to the heart of the Moscow subway.
Bahrain: fears for life of jailed activist on hunger strike
Bahraini activist, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, has now been on hunger strike for over two months in protest of the life sentence he received for his role in the anti-government unrest that began last year.
And with Bahrain turning down a request to transfer Al-Khawaja, who also holds Danish citizenship, to Denmark, there is growing concern over his health which appears to be deteriorating.
His daughter Zainab was briefly arrested on two occasions last week as she tried to visit him. She eventually managed to speak to him on the telephone, and has posted a message on Twitter claiming her father is now having difficulty breathing, and he says he is being mistreated by security guards and staff at the military hospital where he is receiving care.
Shia opposition activists continue to stage protests against the ruling Sunni royal family, and are also rallying to the cause of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, hundreds of demonstrators waved pictures of him in towns and cities across Bahrain last Friday, calling for his release and demanding political reforms.
Protesters are now lobbying the International Automobile Federation to cancel the Bahrain Grand prix due to be held on the 22nd April. The race, which has always been a source of national pride was cancelled last year due to the uprising and ruthless repression.
#ToMyUnbornChild Twitter campaign sparks homophobic comments
Twitter represents a wonderful tool to get web users from all over the world involved in such and such a cause or campaign, Twitter is a space for expression, but it is not immune to hateful comments. The « #ToMyUnbornChild » Twitter campaign was launched mid -March, to begin with it received messages of love and warmth , but then a handful of web users started using the slogan to post homophobic comments.
The initial idea of the campaign was to get future parents to tweet a message to their unborn child. It all started off very well, with messages of hope, love, devotion pouring in from all over the world.
But the campaign was apparently not to everyone’s liking, and things turned sour when certain micro bloggers decided to post tweets under the « #ToMyUnbornChild » hashtag, expressing hatred towards homosexuals. Offensive messages, in extremely poor taste, for the most part intentionally provocative and which have shocked the majority of the Twittersphere.
Many have posted reactions to the homophobic messages, condemning the outrageous content and calling for greater tolerance. Film maker Charlotte Moore is trying to convey the same message in this film which was posted online last week. She has actors taking on the roles of mums and dads-to-be and has asked them to speak the most hateful of the messages posted on Twitter as if they were talking to their unborn child. The film hopes to highlight just how destructive and violent this hate speech is, comments that some think are harmless as long as they remain virtual…
White House launches "Taxpayer Receipt" website
Last week the White House launched the “Taxpayer receipt” website so that American tax payers can go online, enter in their annual tax payment and see how, and in which service, their federal tax dollars are spent. So for an American whose tax bill comes to around 25 000 dollars; around one quarter of this sum goes towards National Defense, another quarter towards health care and most of the rest goes towards education and combatting unemployment.
Now trending on social networks
In addition to a huge poster campaign in the US and the UK, the marketing team for Skype is also promoting the online telephone service via Twitter, by criticizing the micro blogging site itself, and the lack of feeling or warmth in a tweet. They have been conducting this self-promotion under the hashtag « #itstimeforSkype », a somewhat novel strategy which is going down very well on the web.
Video of the day
A voyage into the heart of the Moscow subway… this video was uploaped by film maker Sasha Aleksandrov. Wonderfully put together, with perfect timing and rhythm, you can now see all the goings-on within the corridors of the Russian capital’s underground system from the comfort of your own home…