An American filmmaker joins rebels on the Syrian front line. A look at the protests held around the world in support of the people of Gaza. And France’s Encyclopaedia Universalis goes digital.
American citizen fights alongside rebels in Syria
American filmmaker Matthew VanDyke arrived in Syria without a visa mid-October. In this interview for online news site Mashable, he had spoken of his intention to film a documentary alongside Syrian rebels, with a view to encouraging the international community to support the uprising against the Bashar al-Assad regime by supplying money and weapons.
This is not the first time he has been on the front line. He fought alongside rebels against Gaddafi’s troops during the Libyan revolution. But he had no military experience and was soon captured by loyalist forces; detained in a Tripoli prison for six months he managed to escape, during the last hours of Gaddafi’s regime.
So far Matthew VanDyke has said he wants to concentrate on his documentary so he won’t be taking up arms in Syria, but according to his Facebook posts, he does wear a Free Syrian army uniform every day, so no-one thinks he’s a journalist. He says he is an activist above all, and is asking, for example, for online donations in order to buy a new ambulance for a hospital in Aleppo.
His involvement has not gone unnoticed by the Syrian authorities. In his most recent blog posts, the American says there have been a number of pieces about him in official media, in which he is described as a terrorist. Although Matthew VanDyke says he is now in a very perilous situation he regularly reaffirms his commitment to seeing his project though.
Protests around the world over Gaza attacks
Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continues, and a growing number of people around the world are calling on the Israeli government to stop its military offensive. Here’s a look at some of the rallies in support of the Palestinian people staged across the globe in recent days.
A number of demonstrations were held in the Americas over the weekend, to protest against the IDF’s attacks on the occupied Palestinian territories and to condemn the high civilian death toll in this new conflict. As we can see in these amateur documents, thousands of people took to the streets of Montreal in Canada, New York City in the US and also Santiago in Chili, chanting slogans urging the Israeli authorities to withdraw troops from the Gaza strip at the earliest possible opportunity.
And Europe has also seen a high number of solidarity demonstrations with the people of Gaza. As this footage filmed over the weekend shows, masses of protesters gathered in Berlin and London for example demanding Israel end the onslaught immediately and calling for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Although to a lesser extent, rallies were also held in Africa and Asia. In Mauritania for example, and also Hong Kong; where hundreds of demonstrators voiced their opposition to the latest Israeli assault.
And parts of Israel have even joined the global protest movement against the IDF offensive. A rally took place in Tel Aviv on Saturday to condemn what protesters say is a pointless war. The stated aim: show the world that not all Israelis are blindly supporting the military operation currently underway.
Now trending on social networks
9 year old Jens Pascal from Germany died from a brain tumour back in May, and had asked for his gravestone to be adorned with the logo of his favourite football team Borussia Dortmund. But officials at the church where he has been laid to rest refused his last wish, much to the outrage of thousands of web users who took to Facebook to help get the boy what he had wanted. The campaign received a great deal of coverage from local media, and it worked with church leaders agreeing to a compromise: and there is now a soccer ball statue next to the little boy’s gravestone.
France’s Encyclopaedia Universalis goes digital
44 years on from its first edition, the thick volumes of France’s Encyclopaedia Universalis will no longer be printed and will exist only in digital format due to competition from the likes of Wikipedia… 999 copies of the ultimate version of the work will be published however before the printed edition chapter in the encyclopedia’s history is closed forever.
Video of the day
The creator of this video, who goes under the online pseudonym Final Cut King has transformed his computers and other tablets into a video game world, where Link, the hero from The Legend of Zelda is faced with a whole host of new digital challenges and enemies. The video is called “The adventures of digital Zelda” and you can check it out in its entirety on all good video sharing platforms.