Posts tagged ‘Tunisia’

January 21, 2012

The Incredibly Awesome Masterbeat 2012 Countown.

Masterbeat’s mixdown/mashup in music and video of the best songs and major entertainment,  pop culture, political and LGBT events of 2011.I was waiting forever for them to upload this year’s video and notice that I must have missed when they uploaded it two weeks ago.

As it stirs memories expect to feel  elation, sadness, and everything in between. Enjoy!

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November 20, 2011

Mista Majah P shows that some Jamaicans stand up for their rights.

Thanks to his comment on my blog I can post the Mista Majah response to  Bruce Golding’s  homophobic remarks about LGBT people.

 

April 3, 2011

Maher Zain – Freedom

Maher Zain, a Swedish singer of Lebanese origin sings about the recent  struggles in the Arab world. Clips from his performances in Malaysia at the Malawati Stadium in February 2011.

More on Maher Zain here.

Via http://musesephere.blogspot.com

February 14, 2011

The unrest continues in the Arab World.

The frustration of citizens that caused major changes in Tunisia and Egypt continues to be heard across the Middle East  with protests in Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain and Iran. Each nation is unique and each state will undoubtedly employ whatever weapons of oppression it may have in order to quell the voices of the people.

Riot police in Bahrain used tear gas and runner bullets on protesters today and  government supporters in  Yemen hurled broken bottles and rocks at protesters there. It is uncertain if the protest movement has reached the critical mass required to cause change in these two places. Algeria has also seen its share of  unrest which saw a massive turnout of security forces to prevent a few thousand people from protesting.

By most accounts the theocracy of Iran is the most brutal in treating with the concerns of  those who object to the conduct of the government.  Today the PBS.org blog noted that the turnout of protesters was large:

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

10:30 p.m. From a Tehran Bureau correspondent: It was amazing today. About 350,000 people showed up. The crowds came from the sidewalks. There was no chanting on the main avenue. The security forces would try to disperse the crowd once in a while by firing tear gas. People would move to the side streets and start bonfires.

It was beyond anything we had expected. They didn’t shut off the mobile phones so word spread quickly [that they were not cracking down hard] before they shut them off around 4 p.m.

It seemed like the Basij were ordered not to act until ordered. They just stood around looking bewildered. When the riot police would drive by on their bikes, they just put the fires out.

Rarely did they arrest. I saw 10 people arrested; this means probably up to 1000 were arrested.

I was all over on foot and on the rapid transit buses. The crowds were EVERYWHERE. They were remarkable for their peacefulness. They filled a radius of about half a kilometer to 400 meters on both sides of Enghelab Avenue. It looks like for the first time people from working class areas were involved too.

Read more here.

Unfortunately, unlike Egypt, Iran is largely closed to outside media and it is unlikely we will see these protests play out live on our TV screen.

Those unfamiliar with the situation in Iran and its history of oppression might do well to have a look at the excellent 2009 short documentary Iran, Gay and Seeking Asylum by filmmaker Glen Milner .  The film has been shown worldwide and has received awards including Best Short Documentary Film at the Phoenix Film Festival.

February 2, 2011

They’re at the gate and you can’t ignore them.

The events in Cairo have been unsettling today to put it mildly. Anyone who has the slightest belief that all people have a right to be heard by their government  and to have their fundamental rights protected cannot fail to be horrified. After over a week of relatively peaceful protest so-called pro-Mubarak rental mobs have suddenly appeared on the scene inciting violence. A situation that an Al Jazeera anchor has described as the Egyptian Government  exploring the Nero option.

I don’t have many connections with Egypt, but like many around the world who believe in human rights and the rights of people to have decent governments I am gripped by developments.  To see a leader so enamored with power after thirty years that he will cut off  the internet and set the police on his own people  speaks volumes about the depth of his own evil.

To me it is analogous  to numerous other  struggles going on within countries by groups of people who demand the right to be heard.  In the US and worldwide LGBT people are engaged in a battle for their own rights – often in countries where doing so puts their own lives in peril.  Just as  the poor and dispossessed around the world are also demanding that their governments provide a path to economic and social improvement. There is something about the human spirit that forces us to eventually reach the end of our leash and demand our rights. The threshold may take years to reach or sometimes it only comes when some other factor like technology allows for empowerment and organization.

Facebook and Twitter may have been accelerants for the  initial protests in Egypt and Tunisia but they just made things more convenient for activists. History will tell us that Russia, the USA and France didn’t need  modern social networking to have real change and neither do Tunisia or Egypt.  Successful activists of all sorts will make use of any tools available. In this case they were also able to use emergency tools provided by tech giants like Google and ISPs in other countries that reached out to countermand Mubarak’s censorship of  free communication.

Mubarak must come to terms that the Barbarians may well be at the gate – but he’s in their house.

January 28, 2011

Social Networking – The New Human Rights Weapon

The last few days have seen an extraordinary thing happen in the Arab world. People in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and now Egypt are flexing their power and making demands for change. Such has always been the case in the world when despots drive their people to the end of their patience – but these are developments with a difference. For the first time an unhappy population doesn’t have to resort to furtive meetings in dark rooms or flyers pasted on walls in the dead of night. Activists now have the most powerful communication tool on the planet that we call social networking.

A few years ago Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist but now they are a powerful tool for groups looking to coordinate activist events or for rallying people of similar mind to support a cause. The LGBT community has embraced the possibilities better than most and organizations  such as the Trevor Project are  using the internet to great effect  to stop the scourge of bullying. Social networking, without intending it, became the  magic tool for organizing large numbers of people seeking to make a difference. Like the old shampoo advert says ” you tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on.”

Even in the developing world once one person has a smart phone or computer access they can reach hundreds of their friends. New social networking meets old-fashioned social networking.

Nobody knows what will happen in Egypt as the arrogant and clueless Mubarak seems completely out of touch with the mood of the people he governs without  legitimacy. One thing is sure – those of us who connect across borders and embrace this technology can achieve change. We can meet like-minded people and expand our knowledge of issues that affect our communities and that, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.

On a final note, Al Jazeera TV is to be commended for  some seriously excellent coverage and commentary. Sometimes old media shines too.