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Archive for the ‘revolution’ Category

Sound bite: Right here all over – Occupy Wall Street video

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Alex Mallis, a filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York has captured, in a beautiful short film, the community that is forming around the Occupy Wall Street movement.

What is particularly fascinating is how they have recognised and captured the power of social media to make sure their story is told to the world.

With a recent poll finding that the American public support the protesters, they might be on the streets of New York – and across the United States – for a while yet.


Written by Eliza

October 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

The autumn of their discontent – the #occupywallstreet movement

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CC Andrew Shiue, Flickr. Occupy Wall Street 17/09/2011

I am a sucker for a call-to-action, and on Wednesday, 28 September, spotted tweets calling for the most audacious sort: #OccupyWallStreet. Cryn Johannsen, founder and executive director of All Education Matters had been tweeting ferociously for hours, by turn rallying the troops and encouraging others to join the sort of protests that, after the Egyptian revolution in February this year, have sprung up from Burkina Faso to Bahrain.

With Cryn’s permission, I am posting an excerpt from a blog she wrote for Loop21 explaining why Americans were taking to the street and why #OccupyWallstreet is now a national movement.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

October 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

What is Libya’s new democracy if it is built on racial hatred?

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With the support of the great and the good, Libya is inching ever closer to what we hope will be a democratic future.

On 1 September 2011, leaders from some 60 countries gathered in Paris for a conference on the future of Libya and to deliberate on ways to support Libya’s government-in-waiting – the National Transitional Council (NTC).

The “friends of Libya” meeting hosted by French President, Nicholas Sarkozy and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged to maintain military pressure of Colonel Gadaffi and to release funds to support the NTC and a transition to democracy in Libya. Speaking at the event, Sarkozy said: “We are all committed to returning to Libya the money of yesterday for the building of tomorrow.

Much would have surely been discussed at the event, not least, as the Russian media suggests, the scramble for Libya’s oil. But one important issue would have surely been ignored: the ongoing racially-motivated attack on Libya’s black population by the rebel forces. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

September 12, 2011 at 8:03 am

Why don’t Africans use social media to revolt like Arabs?

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Just after an article was published by the Guardian about the role of social media in  the Arab uprisings, I was invited by Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the LSE to write about what I thought was lacking in Africa’s attempts to do the same thing.

Here is that blog.

Flickr: magdino20 | Maged Helal

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Apparently not. For there to be ‘sound’ there needs to be ears that hear the vibrations made by the falling tree.

This philosophical riddle speaks volumes about the muted protests happening in parts of sub-Saharan Africa at the moment – and of the seeming disinterest both in the countries where they are started and in the international media. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

March 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

A protest diary – “the power is within us”

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Kah Walla, the presidential candidate for Cameroon Ô’Bosso, who led yesterday’s peaceful protests that was brutally quelled by the army sent this dairy of events leading up to and during the protest and reflects on lessons learned.

Wednesday, 23 2:30 a.m. We left our strategy room feeling quite good.  We were convinced we had a surprise itinerary which the police did not know about and we would be able to march for at least a half hour before they fell upon us.  We were also thrilled with the symbolism of our start point: Um Nyobe’s house in Nkolmondo (one of Douala’s poorest neighbourhoods) was full of both historic and current day symbolism and would get us off with the type of energy we needed for the day. We had met with the family and they were in full agreement.  Off we went to catch a few hours of sleep before our scheduled start time of 9:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m. The first part of our organization team arrived the site.  Water sachets and 200 t-shirts in tow, they were busy setting up things for all to march non-violently and determinedly.  The gendarmes show up, arrest 6 of our members and 1 journalist from AFP and confiscate our 200 t-shirts and our water.  Our close to 300 protestors panic.  The march has not even started and people are being arrested.  The majority of them desist.  A handful of about 20 diehards persist. We start figuring out possible new itineraries. On the spot we decide to print 50 new t-shirts. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

February 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

Hidden in plain sight – the voilent reprisals against peaceful protest in Cameroon

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police brutality

Presidential candidate Kah Walla lifts her hands - a V for victory even as the army turn the water cannons on her.

There’s revolt in the air. And on the streets of Egypt, Libya, Yemen…

But when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa, it doesn’t seem to be on the news. It seems the oppressive regimes of the continent are no one’s problem until the violence spills onto the marble staircases of foreign embassies or the diplomatic community are shamed out of their inaction by the rallying cries and sacrifies of the masses for democracy. For change.

Cameroon began that journey yesterday, 23 February. It was more a whisper than a shout: a group of a few hundreds peacefully demanding an end to the 28 year rule of Paul Biya. That group was met by army officers in full riot gear as they walked the streets of Douala, Cameroon’s delapidated commercial capital, who first spray the group leader and presidential candidate Kah Walla with the water cannon and as she and the other drenched protesters board the army truck, they are beaten with batons.

Perhaps the media pays Africa no mind because it perceives these atrocities as being simply characteristic of Africa: the perception that there’s death, voilence and destruction everyday, that this is not different.

But it is different. This is voilence people desperate to realise the democratic ideals Africa is so often lambasted for not having. These are people desperate to come up from under the oppression of patriarchs whom world leaders have at worst santioned and financed and at best, simply ignored.

The least we can do is look, listen and relay the message.

Written by Eliza

February 24, 2011 at 9:51 am