Web users are shocked by online photos of smiling Israeli soldiers. Online campaigning continues for the release of a jailed Iranian lawyer on hunger strike. And a British artist has been dreaming up zombie versions of famous brand logos.
Online photos of smiling Israeli soldiers shock the web
Photos of beaming soldiers about to go off to war. These shots were posted online by Israeli troops currently fighting Hamas in Gaza. Military service is compulsory in Israel, both for men and women once they reach 18, and these soldiers just like most people around the world their age, share details of their everyday life on social networks, even if that includes being photographed in uniform and carrying a rifle.
But the photos have shocked a large number of web users who say in no way do they reflect the reality of the situation on the ground. The young soldiers in the pictures come across as pretty carefree, the shots are worlds apart from the Israel Defense Forces airstrikes and shelling across Gaza, and the climate of fear in southern Israel, under threat and attack by Hamas rocket launchers.
Numerous Twitter users have been voicing their outrage over the photos which seem to belittle the enormity and the gravity of the conflict. Others however, have said they find it an interesting initiative as it gives a human face to the Israeli military.
Either way, the controversy has led experts to question the role social networks are playing in the military campaign. The IDF has been using the Internet since the start of the offensive, to share details of operations and justify its action. Researcher Michael Koplow finds it’s too aggressive. In an article posted to the website of “Foreign Policy” magazine, he says that by boasting about its military victories online, Israel could end up isolating itself from the rest of the world.
Web users show support for jailed Iranian lawyer
Web users have been campaigning for the release of Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since September 2010, on charges of spreading propaganda against the regime and acting against national security. The movement appears to be gaining momentum online every day, as the winner of the 2012 Sakharov Prize has now been on hunger strike for over a month in protest of her detention, the prison guards’ ill treatment of political prisoners and the authorities’ harassment of her family.
In this message posted to Facebook, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband reports that she has only been allowed to see her children once in the past four months. He also says his wife has lost a lot of weight and fears are growing for her health.
Many web users are saying the jailed lawyer’s situation is unacceptable and have taken to the web to voice their support. An online campaign in underway urging social networkers to replace their profile photo with this flower, a symbol of Sotoudeh’s fight for freedom.
Concerned web users have also been posting photo montages and other videos like these ones online, slamming the detention conditions of the human rights activist and demanding her immediate release.
And although the Internet remains their preferred means of expression, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s supporters have also organized and attended rallies, as we can see in these pieces of footage from New York, Dublin and also Oslo… all manner of initiatives which they hope will help them achieve their aim and result in the lawyer’s release.
Bayt al-Ahmar in Yemen and the village of Tappi in Pakistan: these two places have one thing in common; they were both recently targeted by US drone strikes. These satellite images, compiled by British artist James Bridle on the site Dronestagram, show the two sites before they were hit by the air strikes. The so called “surgical and precision” strikes on terrorist targets have claimed the lives of countless civilians. Something Bridle is seeking to highlight through his work.
Zombie versions of famous brand logos
British graphic designer Ben Fellowes has imagined what famous brand logos might look like if they had been designed by … the living dead. His highly original creations are enjoying great success online, and will no doubt be a hit with zombie enthusiasts everywhere.
Video of the day
At first glance this video could be mistaken for an animated Vincent Van Gogh painting, yet it’s nothing of the sort… The clip has in fact been posted online by NASA to illustrate the movement of different particles like sand, sea salt and also sulphate and to better understand how they travel in the atmosphere and influence weather and climate. Astonishing and informative, it almost turns scientific data into art…