Today on the net, Syrian activists reach across sectarian divide. Opposition to the construction of a huge dam in the Brazilian Amazon is gaining momentum online. And finally, a site is hosting all the presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to today…
Syrian activists reach across sectarian divide
US based activist Farid Ghadry does not think the Syrian conflict can be simply summed up as sectarian civil war between the Sunni majority and the ruling Alawite minority. With the opposition movement against the Damascus regime aggravating religious tensions across the country, rebels are now calling for Syria’s different ethnic communities to unite in the movement against the regime.
The Nabd movement is a good example of this. Founded in Homs its Facebook page now has over 8 000 members. Activists from the network organize rallies, like we see here in the region of Damascus, to bring together protesters from different ethnic groups, aiming to bridge the sectarian divide.
Some of these rebels from religious minorities have been arrested by security forces for their involvement in the revolution, and the group of cyber activists also campaigns for their release. Activists from the Kurdish, Armenian and Druze communities have also joined the ranks of the rebels, putting up posters in the streets, or delivering medical supplies and mobile phones to areas under siege by loyalist forces.
In this online video, a young women who introduces herself as Alawite talks about her recent visit to Latakia in western Syria; she went there to support the rebels, and tries to explain to members of her community that they have nothing to fear and that she believes the opposition movement is fighting a tyrannical regime.
Indigenous opposition to Brazil's Belo Monte dam
Protests have resumed in Brazil, contesting the construction of the Belo Monte dam across the Amazon’s Xingu River. Local fishermen have been occupying an island close to the site since the end of September; they are concerned for their livelihood. The construction work which began back in January 2012 has already had a negative impact on the river’s fish supply.
In August, a federal court ordered the suspension of work on the huge hydroelectric dam, but the decision has since been overturned by the Brazilian Supreme Court, despite strong international mobilization. Numerous e-petitions have been started: the one on the Gota d'àgua website has near to 1.5 million signatures, and the petition started by NGO Avaaz has over 600 000.
Sany Kalapalo is one of the leading figures in the campaign against the construction of the Belo Monte dam … a reputation she built online … Sany Kalapalo began her crusade on social networks. She describes herself as an indigenous activist and ecologist and uses the web to mobilize her people and raise awareness on the impact the project will have both on the environment and her tribe. The dam is expected to flood an area of over 500 square kilometers of forest, and displace some 25 000 indigenous people living along the river.
Sany Kalapalo hopes others will follow her example. The Sao Paulo University student has started her own indigenous movement, encouraging other young indigenous people to use social networks to protect their culture and defend their rights.
“The Living Room Candidate”
On « Livingroomcandidate.org », you can look back over all the presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to today, immerse yourself in past campaigns and see, amongst other things, how the White House hopefuls’ strategies and messages have changed over the years…
“They Might Be Giants” make crowdsourced music video
Over the past few months, the New York band, "They Might Be Giants" have been gathering photos of children via social networks, sent in by web users the world over. The pics were then used to produce the video for their song “Alphabet of nations”. A project run in partnership with the Global Fund for Children, an NGO that helps disadvantaged children across the globe.
Video of the day
A man recreating famous paintings by Dutch masters by adding creases to a sheet… Vermeer’s “Girl with a pearl earring” or Van Gogh’s self-portrait, a short lived work of art erased by an iron… Aan artistic performance? well, no, this is actually a viral campaign for a Dutch home appliance manufacturer to advertise its latest iron, which can apparently get rid of the tiniest of creases… The video is called “The Art of ironing” and is a far cry from the ads we usually see for this type of product.