Activists in Brazil protest against forced evictions. Women in Sweden take a stand against cyber bullying. And strangers across the world drawing each other’s Facebook profile pics…
Brazilian activists protest against forced evictions
Francesca lost everything when bulldozers demolished her home and the family carpentry business on the 17th December 2010. 153 families living in the Restinga favela were forcibly evicted by Rio de Janeiro’s authorities that day so that one of the roads in the community could be extended. Francesca received very little financial compensation for the loss of her home and has shared her story in this video published online early February by the NGO Witness.
With Rio set to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, an estimated 30,000 people will have to leave their home. Forced evictions which are facing growing opposition on the web. The blog “Copa publica” is documenting the demolition of entire neighbourhoods, like the Morro da Providência hill where residents were required to make way for a cable car.
But people living in Vila Autodromo have gone on the offensive and have been fighting against attempts to expropriate them for months. Their favela is very close to the future Olympic village and the authorities are planning to build a connecting highway which would cut right through the village. Locals have submitted an alternative plan via the web; their proposal would be less costly and would mean they wouldn’t have to leave their homes.
Swedish women take a stand against cyberbullying
The Swedish women featured in this online video are journalists, bloggers and authors. Speaking directly to the camera, the lines they are reading are pretty graphic, crude and violent; sentences like “I’m going to come and kill you when you least expect it” or “I’m going to fry your breasts in butter” : the women say they received these messages by email or via social networks and they illustrate the sadly growing phenomenon of cyber bullying of women in Sweden.
The campaign was launched after the airing of a television documentary in which a young women said she had received a tirade of abusive messages and threats online, when all she did was criticize an Internet campaign run by a clothing company that wanted to sell t-shirts with the picture of late rapper Tupac, despite the fact a court had found him guilty of sexually abusing a woman. The stream of sickening comments that followed prompted the women to lodge a complaint but her local police didn’t even open an enquiry.
And so in view of the authorities’ inaction, women’s rights campaigners took to the web to raise public awareness about the escalating problem of cyber bullying. And campaigning is clearly going well, the video has been viewed over 329,000 times since being posted to social networks and the hashtag "näthat" which means ‘hate online’ has been trending heavily, illustrating just how topical the issue has become in Sweden.
Now trending on social networks
6-year-old Zach Tahir suffers from Pica disorder, a very rare eating disorder which means he eats anything and everything. The British boy even ate the wall paper, carpet and curtains in his bedroom. And so his mum Rachel launched an appeal via social networks, asking for donations to help pay for some home improvements. She raised 10 000 pounds and was able to renovate Zach’s bedroom using materials he can’t tear down to eat.
The site « Selfless portraits » was set up by Ivan Cash and Jeff Greenspan to get Facebook users across the world to draw each other’s Facebook pics: pictures of strangers, chosen randomly. The aim of the project is to facilitate dialogue between artists on the web and bridge the gap between technology and humanity. And as we can see from the pictures gallery, the project is already enjoying great success.
Video of the day
Here’s the latest offering from Devin Graham, who regularly posts extreme sports video to YouTube under the pseudonym Devin Supertramp. He spent the day with some rope swinging enthusiasts - it involves jumping off a cliff, attached to a rope, and swinging in midair. It’s truly spectacular stuff and you can check out it out more closely in this adrenaline packed video clip.