A Burmese blogger speaks out against Islamophobia in his country. A Syrian rebel unwittingly becomes an online sensation. And an American spending his vacation helping strangers around the world…
Burmese blogger speaks out against Islamophobia
Nay Phone Latt had been sentenced to twenty years in prison by the Burmese military junta for his links to the “Saffron Revolution” Buddhist monk led protests back in 2007. He was freed, along with hundreds of others at the beginning of the year, as part of a political prisoner amnesty decreed by the government which has recently undertaken a series of reforms.
The 32 year old blogger is now one of the few people in Burma to speak out against Islamophobia, as anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming increasingly prevalent and open following the violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims which broke out two months ago in the north west of the country.
Nay Phone Latt has published an article on his blog warning of “genocide” of the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority that is not officially recognized by Burma as one if its ethnic groups.
The activist’s stance has had a negative impact on his popularity; just a few months ago he was a poster boy for online resistance to the former junta. He has been severely criticized on his Facebook page, with web users reproaching him for supporting the Rohingya, seen by most Burmese people as illegal immigrants.
The UN describes Burma’s Rohingya community as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, and as the NGO Human Rights Watch explains in this video, thousands have tried to flee the violence and seek refuge in Bangladesh in recent months, but since 2010 they have been denied entry.
"Ridiculously photogenic Syrian rebel" meme goes viral
In the space of a few days, a Syrian rebel has unwittingly become the object of all sorts of fantasies … the opponent of the Bashar al-Assad regime was photographed in the region of the city of Idlib on June 15 by Khalil Hamra a journalist for the “Associated Press” news agency. The shot was recently reposted by a member of community site Reddit along with the tagline “Ridiculously photogenic Syrian rebel” the pic soon went viral, catapulting the soldier to online stardom.
Messages from web users, totally won over by the Syrian rebel’s undeniable good looks soon started pouring in online. Saying, for example, women want to be with him and men want to be him. Others compliment his perfect hair and wonder how he managed to stay looking so good with all the fighting going on around him.
And web users have also been posting photomontages paying tribute to the “ridiculously photogenic Syrian rebel”. Hundreds of creations have appeared online, highlighting, some more subtly than others, the young man’s handsome features. The amusing posters often come with a slogan explaining something along the lines of his good looks are the only weapons needed to win the war, or that loyalist troops and snipers are so blown away by his looks that they cannot bring themselves to fire at him.
With the relentless fighting and bloodshed across Syria, some may perceive the frenzy surrounding the solider as inappropriate, but as Cara Parks explains in an article posted on the Foreign Policy website, any excuse to talk about the war in Syria is a good one, and if talking about a good-looking rebel helps bring about change in Syria, then so be it.
Traveling around the world to help strangers
One of Daniel’s family members works for an airline so he gets to travel for next to nothing. But instead of spending his vacation partying or relaxing, he decided to do favours for complete strangers he had met online. And so Daniel spent 11 weeks carrying out all sorts of good deeds from moving someone’s sofa in Denver, to teaching English in Thailand as well as hunting down giant spiders in Australia.
The nicest place on the Internet
The site "Thenicestplaceontheinter.net" offers a somewhat novel service because it gives out virtual hugs. So, if you’ve had a tough day at work, or finding it difficult to get over a failed relationship, you can seek some comfort from perfect strangers. It’s a lovely idea and brings a touch of warmth to this harsh world.
Video of the day
Air travel can sometimes be a little long, but whilst on board a flight during the Australian leg of their tour, Kanye West’s dancers decided to improvise a short show to the music of his hit “Runaway”: a totally unexpected moment of inflight entertainment for other lucky passengers which you can check out in its entirety on sharing sites.