Wednesday, January 31, 2007

American Road Trip Through Arab Eyes

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Here's a very interesting piece from the NY Times. [link]

“On the Road in America” looks, on first viewing, like the sort of television show that Al Jazeera and MTV might produce if they could be coaxed together in front of an editing terminal. A 12-part reality series, currently being broadcast throughout the Middle East, “On the Road” features a caravan of young, good-looking Arabs crisscrossing America on a mission to educate themselves and the people they encounter along the way.

In the first episode — set in Washington and broadcast on MBC on Jan. 18 — Ali Amr, 22, an Egyptian accounting student, discusses his initial impressions of the American people. “You will tell me they are not responsible for Bush’s policies,” he says, “and I will tell you that they are the ones who elected Bush, correct or not?” … Far more bracing than the participants’ occasional comments about the current president, though, is the frank discussion throughout the series’s first two episodes — the second takes the participants from Washington to New York City — about the long-frayed relations between Israel and many of its Arab neighbors.

State of Iraq

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Here's Washington Post national security reporter/blogger William Arkin's screed against NBC's report, which quoted troops who want Americans to support their mission.

Iraqi blogger Nabil writes about yet another terrifying day in his neighbourhood.“Me and several people ran to the roof of the house, and there was my neighbour lying on the floor with his legs got cut due to the explosion and he was severly bleeding and there was blood stains all of him.I was completely shocked, scared and terrified, I stood there and didn’t know what to do.A man who was standing next to me shouted on me “come on!, grap him with me, lets take him to the hospital”, I ran to him and carried my neighbour with him,” he wrote.

Iraqi blogger Imad Khadduri reports a massacare in Najaf, which left about 260 people dead.

Egyptian blogger Zeinobia is in stitches that the Israeli Ambassador to her country has left his residence in Maadi Suburb because of the Maadi Slayer.“Oh yes the Israeli Ambassador and his family pack their bags to stay in the Embassy in Giza area near the Zoo because of the Maadi slayer. (It) was announced that the man couldn’t stand the security measures taken now in Maadi !!” she wrote.According to Zeinobia the slayer is said to have attacked six victims so far, injuring but not killing them. I have found no reference to him in official media sources.

Racism at the Beach

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(Global Voices - Juan Arellano ) They say that to work is no offence, that there is no job that one should be ashamed of. It sounds logical, but not everyone seems to think that way. Many Peruvians, some think too many, leave their motherland to look for a better job opportunity abroad, where they often end up working jobs that not even in their worse nightmares had they done here. Perhaps the fact that no one they know is witness to their suffering lessens the embarrassment and loss of self-esteem that comes from working a job below someone’s abilities. But it is not necessary to leave the country to work in discriminatory and marginalized conditions.

In Lima and the nearby beach resorts it is summer. Many years ago, up until the Sixties, the fashionable beaches were those of Miraflores, Barranco and Chorrillos as well as the more distant beaches of Ancón. Today, for what has already been a good number of summers, the hotspot beaches are to the south. Among the great many beaches along the coast to the south of the capital, the favorite of wealthy Limeans is called “Asia,” and is often pronounced in English by those who spend their summers there. This resort has been made famous for offering the very best to its exclusive clientele. In fact, the beach has transformed into a small city with all the offerings of modernity and globalization, out of sight from the town that also used to spend the summer there.

But recently, Asia has also become well-known for its discriminatory and marginalizing treatment towards the “domestic employees” or “household employees” as they are generally called among the families who employ them. These workers, for example, are effectively prohibited from entering the beach during the day. Only after 6 p.m. are they allowed to enter these areas. Obviously many consider this unjust and that it boils down to an undeniable issue of racism.

El domingo 28 se realizará el operativo “Empleada Audaz” en el cual una multitud de personas uniformadas como uniformadas como trabajadoras del hogar ingresarán en la playa de uno de los balnearios más exclusivos del balneario de Asia, al sur de Lima. La acción está impulsada por la Mesa contra el Racismo de la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos y según manifiestan “se ha diseñado como una protesta lúdica y pacífica que servirá para llamar la atención pública y promover la reflexión sobre la discriminación en el Perú, impulsando la construcción de un sociedad más justa y equitativa”. Además, sostienen en su comunicado que “es de conocimiento público que en varios de los exclusivos balnearios de Asia las trabajadoras del hogar y el resto del \"personal de servicio\" tienen prohibido bañarse en el mar hasta las 7 de la tarde ( cuando ya se ha puesto el sol). Además, pese a que por ley las playas son de todas las peruanas y peruanos, las personas que no son socias de los clubes no pueden ingresar a bañarse. Estas y otras prácticas convierten a los balnearios de Asia en los bastiones de la discriminación étnica, social y cultural imperantes en el Perú”.

Esta noticia que viene tratándose en los medios me motivó a diseñar este cartel. Y es que esa política de exclusión podría estar sucediendo en playas privadas de nuestro país. Y digo “podría” porque si bien he escuchado o leído sobre este tema, no me consta que sea práctica común (si lo fuera, los organizadores y medios deberían publicar una lista de los clubes o condominios que lo practican o alguna información más concreta al respecto). Tal vez también porque en el fondo me niego a creer que una prohibición tan absurda sea común. Por eso me pregunto ¿puede el afán de exclusividad llevar a considerar a otros seres humanos como “indeseables”? ¿Pueden personas que tienen acceso a la cultura y educación no darse cuenta de políticas tan retrógradas (mismo apartheid)? Y lo mas lamentable es que las respuestas podrían ser positivas.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Plagiarism, CBS style

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Michelle Malkin caught Lara Logan of CBS helping herself to al-Qaeda video without crediting the terrorist organization.
"First, read this heart-rending appeal from Lara Logan complaining about CBS News refusing to air one of her Haifa Street reports, which highlighted a masked "Haifa Street resident" who "blamed the fighting on the U.S."
Logan's report is first (runs just over two minutes). Grabs from the Al-Qaeda video follow and are provided by Rusty. If you want to download it and view, you can do so here (Real Player, 43mb, 8mins).

Nibras Kazimi took a closer look at the evidence:
"this is the most damning indication of journalistic incompetence, Logan makes no mention about the affiliation of these insurgents fighting on Haifa Street. Not even the slightest mention is made that Al-Qaeda is taking credit for the fighting there. On the contrary, the audience is treated to a blanket accusation by an anonymous civilian (wearing a headdress in the insurgent manner) denouncing the Americans and the destruction they’ve brought to bear on Haifa Street. Hey Logan, how about tempering your report with something about insurgent activity? The report sounded as if the American and Iraqi forces were pounding Haifa Street for the fun of it.

It would seem that the Al-Furqan propagandists exhibited more journalistic accuracy than CBS News on this count."


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Here's a crawly tale: worried that rats might bite her baby, a woman in New York City takes her baby into her bed then accidentally smothers the child:
"...the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has cited the 27-unit, five-story building for 378 open violations, including 20 for mice and rodent infestation.

Robles' neighbors came to her defense, saying leaving a baby alone in a crib was too risky.

"I can't blame her," said Analys Cedeno. "She didn't want the boy to get bit."

Another neighbor, Migdalia Contreras said she sleeps with her 1-year-old son to protect him from rats.

"They would crawl into the crib," she told the News. "At night, I'm up fighting with the rats, grabbing them. In the morning they're right up next to me."

Blog Tales

Tags: Ideas, Middle East & North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Weblog, Cyber-Activism, Economics, Education, Humor, Literature, Protest, Politics
(Global Voices - Amira Al Hussaini) Like in Egyptian movies, there is a thin line between imagination and reality in Egypt, where two politically active bloggers get close to each other at an anti-government rally, then fall in love and finally get married.

Blogger Albara Ashraf reports this happy story, without failing to conjure some of the feelings of insecurity many Egyptian bloggers feel.

حين أخبرت “رضوى” – العروسة - عن قلقي من أن تكون عربات الأمن المركزي الخضراء في انتظارنا على أبواب الجنينة.. خرجت منها ضحكة صادقة، تناسب فتاة مصرية شابة ليلة خدرها.. وقالت: “تصدق.. أنا كمان كنت خايفة”!
لعنت الأمن المركزي في سري، وتذكرت لقاءاتي الأولى مع العريس وعروسه، “عمرو عزت” صاحب مدونة “ما بدا لي”، و”رضوى أسامة” صاحبة مدونة “هكذا أنا”.. اللقاء كان في المكان الطبيعي لتواجد المدونين.. ولتواجد عربات الأمن الخضراء.. مظاهرات وسط البلد ضد تمديد فترة رئاسة مبارك..
بعدها فترة طويلة من المعرفة الانسانية عبر المدونات، ولقاءات متقطعة في فعاليات للمعارضة على طول العام الماضي
ثم.. “عمرو” و”رضوى” سيتزوجان قريبا..
“When I informed Radhwa, the bride, that I was concerned that the green public security cars outside were waiting for us, she gave out a genuine laugh, which quite suited an Egyptian girl on her wedding night. She said: Believe it or not..I was afraid too. In my heart, I cursed the Public Security and remembered my first meeting with the bride and groom..Amr Ezzat from What Seems to Me and Radhwa Osama from This is Me. Our meeting was in the natural place bloggers meet, where the green security cars are present and during the down town protests against extending Mubarak’s term.
“Following this, they met online through the blogs, then during the protests throughout last year and finally we heard that they were getting married.”


“This post inaugurates a new category - On the bus - an occasional series of anecdotes from travels on the city buses.” Buenos Aires-based Jeffy Barry starts the new series with tales from bus #17.

Xeni Jardin, best known for her writing at BoingBoing, has also been blogging her recent travels in Guatemala including a five-part series for NPR called ‘Guatemala: Unearthing the Future.’ Patrick of the Guatemalan Solidarity Network expands on Jardin’s first piece titled, “Group Works to Identify Remains in Guatemala.”

Racism on TV

For some unknown reason, I've become addicted to watching "Seinfeld" re-runs which air 7-8pm on one of the Albany TV stations. More bad news: I've found the Albany Public Library has the complete Seinfeld DVD collection. Funny how we get "hooked" on TV shows...

Many people (not me) became addicted to "Survivor" and "Big Brother." A version of "Celebrity Big Brother" has been making waves across the pond... blogger Sonia Faleiro has penned an op-ed piece for the newspaper Tehelka:
"Channel 4’s decision not to intervene is also unforgivable. Under the terms of the Race Relations Amendment Act, it is expected to promote racial equality, or at the least stop discrimination before it entrenches itself on one of its shows. The suggestion that the behaviour was “girlie bullying” is ridiculous, because racism is a form of bullying. The conflict, which included references to Shetty as “Shilpa Poppadom,” attracted a viewership of nine million for Jade Goody’s eviction interview. For Channel 4 to intervene was illogical given the numbers, yes. Nevertheless, their statement that Shetty had withdrawn her charge of racism, implying they were under no compulsion to intervene, reveals a moral hole in their decision-making. It’s like saying that because a rape victim refuses to admit she has been raped the crime did not occur. Few people admit to being discriminated against — it goes against our instinct of pride and self-preservation, and we fear being stigmatised."

Read the entire piece here.

Hyde Park site kicks off a special remembrance of FDR’s legacy

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One of the greatest US Presidents is being remembered today. What if there were a "World War III," do we have anyone who could lead the nation thru such a crisis?

(Poughkeepsie Journal) HYDE PARK — The leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression and in waging World War II account for the high regard he is held 125 years after his birth in Hyde Park. More
» Multimedia: Roosevelt Historic Site Virtual Tour

Monday, January 29, 2007

Herrrrre's Joni!

Certain stars have "staying power." Among them, 63-year old Joni Mitchell.

The legendary musician accepted a trophy from the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame with humour and warmth at a glitzy gala, laughing and wondering aloud what she should say as she took the stage in front of a standing ovation.

Her first song was written at about age 21, Mitchell recalled, "and as you know, I wrote a lot of them," she said to laughter.

"Song To A Seagull" (circa 1968) is still a very listenable album! No simple description can do justice to a multilayered work of art.


The New York Times. So formal! Even when writing about our favorite District Attorney, Albany County's own "P" David Soares.
(Move over "P" Diddy!).

It's A Beautiful Day

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You know how people always say “someone will have to die before they do something about this.” Well, it’s happened again, this time on the Northway, where a couple driving from Montreal to New York City met with tragedy, attracting the attention of blogger Shlomah Shamos:

Thousands of our readers have read with great sadness here on VOS IZ NEIAS about the tragic accident that happened last Friday on the NY State Thruway. Unfortunately, we are also aware of the terrible fact that that this could have been prevented. Due to inadequate cell phone coverage in the area, it was impossible for the victims to contact emergency services, and receive the lifesaving help they needed.
As comments continue to pile up, Shamos posts a list of officials for readers to contact.

Israeli blogger Judy, at Adloyada, is confused with the responses by Palestinian groups to the latest suicide bombing in Eilat, which has so far claimed three dead.Getting mixed reactions, she wants to know who should be the real spokesman for the Palestinians.

Think Globally: Two North Country school districts want to offer their high school students Mandarin Chinese, a new foreign language course to start next fall. School leaders at Lake George and Queensbury will share an instructor who will split time between the schools. They hope the language will give their students an edge over others in the global economy. More people speak Mandarin Chinese than any other language in the world. [link]

Lebanese blogger Mustafa says using Photoshop is the best way to discredit any political opponents.He welcomes con artists to “express your talents here in The Beirut Spring. Forgery is serious matter in the real-world.”

Remember Efrain Gonzalez, the Albany politician who funneled children's-charity funds into vacation houses and custom cigars? Turns out Gonzalez is, at least, as cruel to his own children as to others': he has "virtually abandoned" his disabled son, so his ex-wife says.

Speaking of cigars, at least a few Colombians are praying for Castro’s health, as demonstrated by the photo of this poster — uploaded today by Flickr user Julián Ortega Martínez — advertising a “Mass for Fidel’s Health” that was held at Bogotá’s cathedral on January 28.

For over a decade, Maria Bartiromo has been a primary anchor and public face of CNBC. In the late 1990s, when the Net was helping Wall Street become more accessible to millions, Ms. Bartiromo helped to usher in a new era of TV business journalism, bringing glitz and celebrity to what had been a staid genre. CNBC is defending its star anchor amid increasing questions about her relationship with a former top Citigroup executive.

On top of all that, XiaXue is running into a little trouble with that new nose...

There's Always A Solution

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I recall a very hot Summer day a year or two back, three Muslim women were at The Great Escape up in Lake George, covered head to toe in black. What do you do if you're a religious Muslim woman and you'd like to go for a swim? Zeena Altalib has the solution... Primo Moda.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In the Media & Around the Blogosphere 28.1.07

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The Super [Teen] Bowl (according to MediaWeek, "About 39.4 million kids 18 years old and younger are planning to watch this year’s Super Bowl game telecast on Feb. 4 on CBS.")

Leon Robinson offers two posts that go hand-in-hand: My thoughts on..."bleaching" takes a look at the dangerous (odd) practice of skin-bleaching, while in My thoughts on...Michael Jackson's return, Leon blogs "'s favourite child molester is back on the prowl, and ready to share his unique brand of 'love' with the children..."

Wired Magazine's story on MTV's virtual "Laguna Beach" and virtual "Hills" will be online January 29.

PBS is trying to reach teens via YouTube (essay from a teen correspondent who sat in on a recent PBS editorial meeting...Maybe they should start with this documentary about images of masculinity in hip hop) (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

Janette Toral congratulates the organizers of the latest Blogger’s event in Philippines:

My sincerest congratulations to the organizers of the Blog Parteeh (), especially to Abraham, for a successful event. Cheers to AJ for bagging the major prize. You are so lucky dude!Special thanks to all the sponsors who provided the resources to make the event happen. Sorry guys if we were not able to listen to you well during your presentations as most of us hardly catched up with each other lately and there are a lot of matters to discuss. I'm so glad to meet the very thoughtful Pierre.
Dan Gillmor (Center for Citizen Media Blog) writes about a new site, Defend the Press, taking up the case of Sarah Olson ... in another post entitled Swampland, Indeed, Dan blogs about errors in this posting on a new Time Magazine blog.

Evans Wafula, who blogs at Africa News, analyzes the conflict in Somalia in a thought provoking post title, “The Spread of transnational Islam and the future of nation states in the Horn of Africa.”

Finally, after spending the past seven months on life support, Caribbean Free Photo is showing signs of life once more. . .

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Candle of Life

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Elik Elhanan and Sulaiman Al Hamri, who helped co-found Combatants for Peace two years ago, recently visited the Capital District. I was with Elik when he received a cellphone call from Israel. "Bad news," he said. "The daughter of one of our founders is dead. Ten years old. Just another Palestinian child killed for nothing."
Even after the death of his 10 year old daughter from an Israeli rubber bullet, Bassam Aramin continues to work with the Combatants for Peace, a joint peace initiative of former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian fighters.

Father of Dead West Bank Girl Seeks Peace With Israelis

Palestinians attended the funeral of Abir Aramin after she was killed by Israeli soldiers in Anata refugee camp near Jerusalem, 19 January 2007. (MaanImages/Moamar Awad)

Let our children live
by Nurit Peled-Elhanan writing from Israel [Source: EI]

Israel Vs Palestine?

A single state in Israel/Palestine?

Jimmy and the Jews

El Estado de Israel

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Tel Avivian blogger Yohay Elam attended a jamming session to make noise against forced prostitution.“Hundreds of women are held against their will in central cities in Israel, and “employed” as prostitutes. The authorities know where they are, and don’t act to release them. The media usually ignores these cases...”

The New York Times has a tool which you can search President Bush’s SOTU speeches for any word or phrase and visualize how many times it was said since 2001 until 2007.

On the eve of Vista

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(Mouseover and click on the cartoon for a full-screen image.)

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday, January 29, the eve of Microsoft's Windows Vista launch. Knowing how good Stewart is with guests, in terms of bringing out their own humility on a level that allows them to laugh at themselves without feeling embarrassed and knowing how big of a geek Gates is, this should be interesting.

I wonder if Bill knows that Jon Stewart is a Mac fanboy. (Not that Jon Stewart knows anything about technology.)

I hope this will be as funny as the time Bill couldn't get Windows Media Center to work... he was onstage with Conan, trying to display a photo slide show but never got the thing to work. Conan kept cracking jokes. If you haven't see it here's the link..

I can only wish I had purchased stock in MS when they were a garage operation. Hindsight is 20/20.

Third World: Media.Interet.Weblogs

Tags: , , , Weblog, Governance, Internet & Telecoms, Media

The 3rd World View on the globalization of the internet. “Now Bangladesh is under a state of emergency with limited rights (writing against the govt. is prosecutable) but we can see bloggers using irony and satire or even bold languages to say things about the government.”

According to Zanestan 3 female journalists and activits for women’s rights were arrested today in Iran while they wanted to take a trip to India to participate in a workshop [Fa].Talat Taghinia,Farnaz Seyfi and Mansoureh Shojai were arrested in airport and were sent to Evin prison.

(Global Voices - Luis Carlos Diaz ) Hugo Chavez, shortly after his re-election in December for a term of 6 more years of governance, announced that the license of a television channel, whose editorial line tends toward opposition, will not be renewed. Channel RCTV, with 52 years of operation, will have its transmission limited and it will no longer be able to broadcast over public spectrum, which puts its sustainability at risk. For that reason before the expression “closure of channel” and “no renovation of licensing” is a difference in what can be considered legitimate state procedure.

In the Venezuelan blogosphere, reflecting the current political division, opinions are split on one side or the other. Within the Venezuelan context, political debate circles around the emotional sensibility of each faction, which is why the arguments of both sides seem to be subject to the same reflections made by politicians.

On the one hand, the reasons of the Government to not renew the broadcasting license are based on the participation of the television station in the attempted coup d’etat of 2002 and oil sabotage of that same year. Also, the channel has maintained a critical and propagandistic editorial line against the government of Hugo Chavez. The president alleges that some constitutional laws and media-based legislation have been violated, although, up until now, no cases have been filed. (more…)

A citizen journalist at Groundviews on the death of a priest. “The manner in which it which it was reported in the Sinhala media, and the occurrence of similar killings elsewhere in the country, I argue is indicative of the dire peril we are facing with regard to human rights and human dignity in Sri Lanka.”

Ahfook in Malaysia is maintaining a list of blog posts in support of the two bloggers who are being sued by a newspaper. The newspaper claims that the two bloggers have defamed the newspaper and its employees in their posts.

WSF World Social Forum: But Has Anything Changed?

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This week the World Social Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya. It was the 7th such forum, the first major one in Africa, regarded as an important step towards integrating African movements and NGOs into the transnational network against neoliberalism, imperialism, fundamentalism, war and other anti-human elements of the present world order. The WSF is a space where diverse groups are able to gather together and analyze the current world order, discuss themes like privatisation, militarisation and human rights. It is unique in its celebration of a combination of critical opposition to the contemporary world order and the heterogeneity of groups and diversity of tactics. Approx. 50,000 participants organized about 1,000 workshops and various other meetings and assemblies in order to develop common understandings, co-operation and strategies. Taryn Montgomery attended the closing ceremonies.

After seven gatherings, has the WSF made a difference? I would answer "yes," because certainly all of those who participated left the event with a firmer sense of self andf purpose. To be truly enlightened, one must shed all pre-judgments, all prejudices.

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem blogs:

This dependence on foreigners, both financially and ideologically, is so pervasive that it cannot be ignored anymore. There are signs that an increasing number of Africans are not only outraged by it but becoming ashamed by it, and are looking for ways and means of freeing our activism from the clutches of donor funding and donor-driven agendas. These issues were frankly and honestly discussed at many forums before and during the summit
and asks:

How many of our busy-body, noise-making NGOs qualify in this sense? It is similar to our governments being dependent on the aid of outsiders, and we demanding that they should be accountable to us. We do not pay taxes but demand representation and wonder why the leaders are more responsive to any noise that comes from outsiders?
Black Looks blogger SOKARI attended the WSF:

Posted by Sokari: on January 25, 2007 - Amazing wi-fi in the hotel this morning so I have put up some photos on Flickr - a mixed bunch and even here I never seemed to have enough time. It took me about 3 days to move beyond gates 1-12 and see what else was happening. Talking with other participants we are all very tired, haven’t been able to achieve as much as we had hoped but at the same time we have all achieved a great deal. The launch of Fahamu’s two books “Grace, tenacity and eloquence: the struggle for women’s rights in Africa” and “African Perspectives on China in Africa ” were both a huge success with packed venues (I have a chapter on blogging the former which I wasn’t aware of until just now!) Both books are worth buying and for those interested in China’s agenda in Africa the China book has an excellent set of essays. Other than that I feel those who attended the workshops on Sexual Rights, Reproductive Rights and the Feminist Dialogues all came away with something positive and uplifting -whether activists can build on what was achieved remains to be seen but certainly there were some dynamic speakers and ideas coming out of these forums. Unfortunately there were so many workshops I wanted to attend and report on but was unable to - time wasted waiting for internet connections mostly and just too much.
World Social Forum Live
Additional text & Pictures
Nairobi WSF: First Impressions
WSF in Afrika erfolgreich
WSF và WEF: sự lựa chọn của Việt Nam
Violence Against Women Endangers Health
WSF: Calls for social equity

Original Presser By Joyce Mulama (Source: Inter Press Service News Agency)

January 23, 2007: (IPS) - Even with tens of thousands of activists at the World Social Forum (WSF) denouncing injustices of all kinds, the issue of discrimination against homosexuals is making its voice heard amidst the din.

At the five-day forum, which opened Jan. 20 here in Kenya's capital, lesbians and gays from across Africa have come out to express how they have been ill-treated by society.

In most African countries, homosexuality is taboo. It is regarded by some as satanic and un-African.

However, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), an umbrella body of gay and lesbian groups, and which has brought together colleagues from across the continent to share experiences, is hopeful that after the WSF, this perception will have changed.

Friday, January 26, 2007

No Blogging @ 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio?

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Depending on what you read, there will or will not be blogging taking place at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio. Community online blogger Maki Papadopoulos:

Today I got some great news from the Canadian Olympic Committee! has
been granted a total of five (5) media accreditations for the coverage of
the 2007
Pan American Games
in Rio de Janeiro (July 13-29).

Jose Murilo Junior writes on Global Voices: The Brazilian blogosphere is becoming one of the main fronts in the battle against Internet censorship. The reason for that can be the growing audience created by the amount of time local internauts devote to web surfing, which was once again rated as the highest in the world. But it can also derive from the silliness displayed by local authorities on decisions that directly meddle with the very core of what has come to be accepted as Internet freedom. The attack this time centers around the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio and takes the form of a policy that prohibits the participating athletes from maintaining blogs, flogs, video logs or personal websites during the Games. And — if that wasn’t enough — Internet media won’t be allowed to present any story or news featuring audiovisual content of the competition, not even trainings in public locations.

More Ripples In The Blogosphere:
I Yee explains why he doesn’t like Chinese blogsphere. He will leave the Chinese blogsphere and try on English from now on.

Leila reports on the first blogger to go on trial for blogging in Kazakhstan.

White African announces that South Africa’s Mail & Guardian goes mobile, “Last week South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper went mobile (actually, they had a closed subscription-based service prior, but this is open to everyone). You can find the mobile version at What was particularly interesting about this was how simple of an interface they came up with, which made it possible to develop in a day and test for one week!"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Around the Blogosphere 25.Jan.07

Tags: , , , , Tunisia, Middle East & North Africa, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Weblog, Freedom of Speech, Cyber-Activism, Gender, Law, Protest, Religion, Travel, War & Conflict, Politics

Bronx-based video artists Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam are at the Sundance Film Festival, exploring Park City in a daily series of funny shorts called

Richard Handler is a producer with the CBC Radio program Ideas. He’s typed a clever piece entitled ""The joy of half-thinking."

Who but the most scrupulous among us doesn't like the grand, sweeping statement?

Americans are cowboys. Canadians love peace, order and good government. The meek will inherit the earth.

Grand sweeping statements not only swamp op-ed pages and bathe the web. They help start religions and fuel dinner parties - not to mention filling panels on hungry talk shows.
Bambi Francisco blogs about Google moving into Yahoo territory.

The Middle-Eastern answer to the Barbie doll, Fulla, is once again being blogged about. Egyptian weblogger Ahmed Shokeir registers his disgust against Tunisian authorities who aren’t happy with the doll and are conducting a witch hunt and confiscating it from stores.

فـُلـّّة هي دمية عربية نشأت منذ سنوات تحاكي الدمية باربي الشهيرة وطبيعي عندما تظهر دمية عربية أو بمعنى أدق خليجية أن تتشابه مع الشكل والتقاليد العربية وبالتالي ظهرت الدمية بأشكال لطيفة وترتدي بالطبع العباءة هذا الزي الخليجي المتعارف عليه ، وقد حرص المصنعون أن يكون الشكل يحاكي الواقع فظهرت بغطاء الرأس المرافق للعباءة دون نقابولكن تونس وماأدراك ماتونس ، قامت حملة تفتيشية نشطة على كل المحلات وصادرت جميع الأدوات الدراسية التي تحمل صورها بزعم أنها تحمل دعوة للباس الطائفي ، ويعلق أحد الصحفيين أن الشنط المدرسية تحمل صور فلة وبالتالي الخوف على الأطفال الصغار أن يتعرضوا للتحقيق والإستجواب من جراء حملهم للشنط
“Fulla is an Arab doll, developed a few years ago as an adaptation from the famous Barbie doll. It is only natural that she appears Arab or more specifically Gulf Arab, wearing the attire people in this part of the world are used to. Its manufacturers made sure that she wears the head scarf and its accompanying cloak without a veil, which covers the face. But Tunisia and you don’t know what Tunisia is, is conducting a clampdown and confiscating the doll and all other items which have Fulla’s image (such are stationery and school bags) on the grounds that the clothes she is wearing spread sectarianism. One of the journalists wrote that school bags carry Fulla’s pictures and he was worried that young children will be arrested and questioned for carrying the bags.”

Bahrain’s top CID chief Farooq Al Maawda issued a warning against an Asian woman thought to be inflicted with Aids who may have snuck back into the kingdom, according to Mahmood Al Yousif... The beatroot writes about the politics surrounding the case of an African refugee infecting women with HIV: “This time it’s not AIDS and gays, however, it’s AIDS and Africans.”

Kamla Bhatt, a resident of Bangalore, is intrigued by Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer who calls the Indian tech metropolis a “role model for Latin America.” Boli-Nica, who usually writes in English, this time addressed [ES] his Spanish-speaking readers with a comparison of Oppenheimer’s pro-market stance and Hugo Chavez’s recent rhetoric in favor of nationalization.

Robert Amsterdam scans and posts a 14-page New Yorker article about Russia, currently not available online (”Kremlin, Inc.: Why are Vladimir Putin’s Opponents Dying?“).

WaPo + Blog = ?

AS THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION cycle kicks off, has partnered with politics blog for a daily feed of opinion, commentary, polls and analysis from around the Web.
"As we were adding all this new political content, we thought we'd really like to embrace the bigger audience out there that's interested in really good political writing," said Russ Walker, assistant managing editor for the site., which last week unveiled a revamped politics home page, will work with the staff for special election coverage within the next few months, Walker said.

The Post also will incorporate blogging into its election coverage, both for breaking news and color about about candidates' travels. "Once the campaign really picks up in earnest, we're hoping to have the reporters file to us every chance they get when they stop, even if it's just a quick little scene piece," Walker said. isn't alone in aiming to capture political junkies this election cycle. Allbritton Communications Wednesday launched, a politics-focused Web site that snagged two veteran Washington Post reporters late last year. Also on Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee unveiled a California local politics-focused site, Capital Alert, which charges a subscription fee of $499 per year.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

If There's A Way To Make A Dollar... We'll Find It!

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It had to happen sooner or later: corporate America would find a new audience to tap into: Muslim Girl Magazine is now on newsstands: (from the official press release) "Challenging stereotypes about Muslim girls in America, Muslim Girl Magazine re-defines the face of Muslim youth in America. Its innovative content showcases teen girls who are equally proud of their identity as Americans and Muslims, while not shying away from the conflict inherent in being both. It also shakes up the complacency of Muslims themselves by emphasizing the diversity of practice within American Muslim communities, typically a no-go area.

The premiere issue of the magazine features girls who have joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Indonesia. Advice columns tackle everything from boyfriends to divorced parents to anti-Muslim discrimination. Regular departments range from Qur’an Notes to Hot List reviews of TV shows like The CW Television Network’s “Gilmore Girls.” ... Muslim Girl Magazine launched with a planned circulation of 50,000 copies per issue in the first year and expects to grow to 100,000 within two years."

Teen magazine strikes a pose with Muslims

Michael Conlon (Reuters via Washington Times)

A new magazine is offering the 400,000 teenage Muslim girls in the United States a chance to be a cover girl.

“The girls are eager to have their stories told,” said Ausma Khan, editor of Muslim Girl Magazine, which is out with a 25,000-copy premiere issue and expects its circulation to be four times that in two years.

It is an underserved market for both readers and advertisers, Miss Khan said.

The first cover girl is Wardah Chaudhary, 16, of Tulsa, Okla., where there is a relatively small but vibrant Muslim community.
Amal asks on his blog Austrolabe, Does being different mean more of the same?

The 13-year-old founder, editor and publisher of MG Magazine, Yasmine El-Safy, has competition now. Muslim Girl Magazine is threatening to upstage her modest attempt with its glossy, Americana covers.

The editor-in-chief is Ausma Khan, who believes the magazine challenges negative media perceptions “by telling the stories of Muslim teens who are proud to be American and who contribute to American society in so many positive ways”. It’s not exactly clear who writes the content, but the producers of the publication don’t appear to be Muslim, and there isn’t much information about it.

The idea is to portray the normality of Muslim girls in the US (the usual “I’m just as American as you” line). Which is fine, but the fact that such a magazine exists to cater for a specific section of the community would suggest they are different to their peers in some pretty crucial ways. And this makes me wonder what is so wrong with being different.

Then again, the webpage leaves little hope that the magazine departs too heavily from the teen glossy standard. Stories featured in the issue relate to TV show 24 and its main protagonist, Jack Bauer; there’s the “hot list” for the latest on music, film and TV; and the obligatory glossy category “Relationship reality check”.

Speaking of "24," American Muslims have many complaints about that show. The portrayal of suburban teen terrorist Ahmed (or as he explained to a white friend, it's pronounced Ach Med, the emphasis being on the "ch" sound you make with the back of your throat) doesn't do much for young people who may already have stereotypical views and fears about Arab American peers.

Egypt’s leading blogger Sandmonkey has decided to investigate 24 as he heard it was “insane, and according to some people superly racist against Muslims and Arabs”!

Syrian blogger Yazan thinks Arabs suffer from an identity crisis dictated by a ’superior’ past which is crushed by an ‘inferior’ present.“A superiority, that soon begins a never-ending fight with another complex. A complex of inferiority, towards a winner West a brutally developed and civilized West,” he explains.

Last, but not least, this Farsitube video clip is part of an Iranian TV documentary showing Iran's nuclear facilities.

Free mp3 Sharing

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Sickbay - The Diesel Compilation
For more album cover art, check out Weekly Hip Hop Albums, a new releases blog or sign up for a free weekly newsletter delivered every Monday with Tuesday's releases.

Aaliyah - "One In A Million (Promise Remix)"

Iceland's Benni Hemm Hemm is "a little big band with little big songs".

from Benni Hemm Hemm (2005):
Labbi [2.0MB, 160kbps, MP3]
I Can Love You in a Wheelchair Baby [2.2MB, 128kbps, MP3]

from SummerPlate (2003):
Skvavars [2.3MB, 160kbps, MP3]
Lovely [3.1MB, 160kbps, MP3]

Jerry Butler Never Gonna Give You Up (mp3)

Revisited Gone [MP3, 2.6MB, 128kbps]

Rickie Lee Jones Elvis Cadillac [MP3, 3.6MB, 128kbps]

Soulwax - "NY Lipps" MP3: YSI | zshare stream/download - "Funky Town"

If you've been contributing: All links on Wikipedia now automatically use the "nofollow" attribute, which means that when Google crawls the site, none of the links it comes across get any PageRank from appearing on Wikipedia.

Now I would think this might be dangerous, and I wouldn't try it:
Chef foraged for the mushrooms in a thicket near the Tappan Zee

State of the Union: Aftermath

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Michelle Malkin checks in with a lengthy piece (here) one blogger refers to as "Everything you need to know about the State of the Union."

Pelosi eyeblinks clocked at 25-30 per minute...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Tags: , , , Weblog, Gender, History, Human Rights, Internet & Telecoms, China, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, South Asia, India, Podcasts, Americas, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Freedom of Speech, Arts & Culture, Education, Gender, Humor, Music, Protest, Youth

Should chatting while at work being banned at a Christian radio station in Malawi? In a post titled, Debate over VOIP-Yahoo Messenger at the office, Ndagha writes,

With the presence of internet at the Trans World Radio studios and offices in Lilongwe, staff are excited that they can access electronic mail and keep in touch with friends and relatives all over the world within seconds. This had never been the case before this. More exciting is the fact that there is internet free of charge to staff and available 24 hours seven days each week. Of course this internet has its own advanatages and demands/challenges.

Just like what happens in many workplaces, there are rules governing use of computers and internet. If one wants to install a new software, they have to seek permission from those those managing the local area network or simply those incharge of the computers. At this radio station, there are many digital work stations with software for audio ediiting and of course with various capacities.

To enchance maximum use of time/and ensure smooth performance of computers, staff were advised not to install software like yahoo voice messenger for chats and talks. Some staff had already installed some of these without persmission on the specific digital work stations but later they were warned that the administrator would uninstall such voip's. I sensed disatisfaction among staff and anger.

The debate continues as management felt/feel some staff spend quality productive time chatting which also affects affects the computer's performance.
Staff feel this is unfair as the internet availability with voip's helps them connect with other people.

Given the temptation unguided and unobjective chats and voip calls have, I personally sympathise with management while at the same time wishing staff could probably broaden understanding of their use of the facilities. I know such chats can be used professionallyl for the programming assignments especially being a radio station but how soon that view could be gained is something I am battling with too.

Zambian blogger / journalist, Brenda Zulu, posts about the intersection of information and communication technologies and gender based violence. She blogs about relevant incidents:

Ellen Musunga is a trainee journalist who is attached to the public broadcasting station. Her boy friend Chiti Mutale had been coming to pick her up from the news room every knock off time and this time it so happened that when he walked into the newsroom, Ellen was reading an e-mail from her another aspiring candidate who had sent her an e-mail expressing how he felt for her. Realising that Chiti had just walked in the newsroom Ellen just clicked X to log out and this made Chiti suspicious and he demanded to have her password.

Ellen resisted at first and later gave in because already the situation was becoming ugly and she was just a trainee broadcaster at the place of work. When Chiti got the password he quickly drove with her to an internet café to check what Ellen’s e-mails. Is it in order to give partners e-mail passwords? I believe that cyber space is just like walking in the streets or community especially when it comes to places like d-groups.

One thing I have noticed is that people in cyber space are freer to express themselves than in a face to face situation. Cyber space is slowly changing the way people behave in that people simply say anything.

On yahoo messenger or skype or any of these chat facilities when men notice that the other person is a woman they always want to express their love. There is actually a lot of cyber harassment going on for women in cyber space. For Africans it is very expensive to be access the internet and so many cyber hustlers of late have been people from out side Africa who are always online surfing and just bored with nothing much to do but hurtle women who are busy doing something constructive online.
Turns out some Eurovision contenders are worse than others: according to TOL’s Belarus Blog, British music critics think Belarusian entries are “dreadful.”

Episode 4 of The Global Voices Show has landed! This edition features excerpts from the following podcasts:
- The IndiCast (India) - Pambazuka News (Zimbabwe)- Palabras Libres (Bolivia) - Arté Radio (Senegal)- ChinesePod (China)
Also featured on this show are the following music tracks:
Various remixes of “Aven le Roma” from the Nomada - Tilos Rádió remix CD, “Kadar”, by Mariano Steimberg, from the Música Lliure 2 CD, and “SambiraBossubhe”, remixed by Richard III, from ccMixter South Africa.
This episode of The Global Voices Show is available in the following formats:- MP3 (15:12 min; 10.5MB)- Enhanced AAC (15:12 min; 7.7MB) - with embedded images and links. For iTunes and owners of later model iPods.- Mono MP3 (15:12 min; 3.5MB) - smaller file suitable for low-bandwidth users

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