Online reports of the recent wave of arrests of cyber activists in Syria. The second installment of the « Kony 2012 » campaign released online. And a German artist depicts Hemingway’s « The Old Man and the Sea » in pictures…
Cyberactivists arrested in Syria
The ruthless and bloody crackdown continues in opposition bastions across Syria, despite Bashar al-Assad’s promises to conform to Kofi Annan’s peace plan, and over the past few days, the Syrian regime has reportedly arrested a number of cyber activists, accused of, amongst other things, actively supporting the opposition. The situation has been widely condemned online, with strong mobilization for their release.
33 year old Rima Dali comes from the port-city of Latakia, and numerous social networkers are saying she was arrested on Sunday after holding a banner in front of the Syrian Parliament in Damascus, calling for an end to the bloodshed across the country. Activists have turned to social media platforms and Twitter in particular, calling for her immediate release. Her individual protest was caught on film and the video footage is now circulating online, illustrating this was clearly a peaceful demonstration and this is an unjustified arrest.
Another government critic who has incurred the wrath of Damascus: Ali Mahmoud Othman. He has been extremely active in providing coverage of the bloody crackdown in the city of Homs, earning him the nickname “the eyes of Baba Amr”. According to the NGO “Reporters without Borders” he has been detained since the 28th March. Othman made a name for himself with the multitude of videos he posted online; videos like these ones, in which he appears with his face uncovered, highlighting the plight of residents in the besieged city. His arrest has been widely condemned online and a Facebook page and e-petition have been set up demanding he be released as soon as possible.
The blogosphere is also concerned about the fate of Noura al-Jiwazi, an activist who collaborates with opposition media on a regular basis. She was arrested in Damascus at the end of March, and has reportedly been tortured by the authorities since. In this video Syrian citizens condemn her detention conditions, and demand she be released at the earliest opportunity.
"Kony 2012" creators release new video
Last month, American NGO « Invisible Children » launched an online campaign against Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, who is accused, amongst other things, of recruiting child soldiers. The campaign revolves around a mini-documentary that struck the hearts of millions of web users. But the film was also highly criticized for over simplifying the situation in Uganda.
The NGO is trying to respond to the criticism in a new video which was posted online last week. The follow up film gives the floor to local officials and decision makers to help paint a more detailed picture of the current context.
The documentary specifies that Joseph Kony is no longer in Uganda, that there are now only a few hundred or so men remaining in his rebel group, The Lord’s Resistance Army, but the attacks continue nonetheless in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The video also highlights what the viral campaign has already achieved; starting with a resolution by the African Union to deploy 5 000 soldiers to track down Joseph Kony.
The sequel does not appear to be enjoying the same level of success as the first film, which was viewed tens of millions of times on the web in just a few days. But “Invisible Children” is planning a day of action on the 20th April to give the campaign a boost. The NGO is hoping to bring the virtual campaigning into the real world and is asking people to put up “Kony 2012” posters around their neighbourhoods.
Now trending on social networks
The United States Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, has been widely praised by Chinese web users over his choice of hotel when he recently attended an economic forum in southern China. The ambassador refused to stay in a 5 star hotel, opting for a cheaper one. And while some believe it’s just a communication ploy, the majority of the Chinese blogosphere is hailing Gary Locke’s attitude, which is in stark contrast to many Communist officials who have to qualms in living the high life.
Texts from Hillary Clinton
"Hey, Hil, whatchu doing?" Hillary Clinton replies to this text from Barack Obama somewhat coldly with « running the world ». This imaginary exchange is the first of many published on the satirical blog “Texts from Hillary Clinton” The creators of the blog have imagined the US Secretary of State sending scathing texts to well-known personalities including Lady Gaga and Sarah Palin. This offbeat website is currently causing a sensation across the United States.
Video of the day
Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea" summed up in a few minutes… through drawings… this is the work of German artist Hagen Reiling and his compatriot, film maker Marcel Schindler. They have used the stop motion technique to make this compelling and poetic video which is proving highly popular on sharing platforms.