[:en]Free Blogger Ali Abdulemam[:]

[:en]Ali AbdulEmam

(Original article From Global Voices Advocacy)

Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and Global Voices Advocacy author, was arrested earlier today by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly spreading “false news” on BahrainOnline.org portal, one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain, amidst the worst sectarian crackdown by the government in years, and accusations of a supposed “terror network” involving several political and human rights activists. The BahrainOnline portal is censored in Bahrain. He sent an email earlier today mentioning that he got a call from the Bahraini national security just before his arrest, then arrested him and alleged that he was trying to flee.


Reportedly the Bahraini government has a long track record of using torture against dissidents http://bit.ly/9kZyJQ and their TV has been broadcasting hateful sectarian messages to justify its crackdown

Ali was arrested before also for content published on his portal, and he contributes occasionally to Global Voices Advocacy and Global Voices Arabic Lingua.

Update #1:

An online campaign calling for his freedom is now active.

Update #2:

BahrainOnline.org is turned down.


[:en]Mentoring for Global Change: new tools for education[:]

[:en]On last July, I got an email from Solana Larsen of GlobalVoicesOnline announcing a collaboration with a Danish Aid Organization: she was asking for someone interested to mentor a Danish or African blogging student participating on a course about using socialmedia for activism.

The course is started on 7th, September and the mentor team is composed by 30 bloggers from all around the world from the GlobalVoice Community: now we are trying to get in touch and starting a conversation with the 30 students in Copenhagen.

The course is focused on Climate Change and Climate Justice: the students will get the task to develop and carry out a large scale campaign on climate justice, brining the plight of the poor to the table of the COP15 summit in Copenhagen in December.
The students just made their first posts and started an email exchange with us.

As usual, any idea, iniative or project carried out with Global Voices is exiciting, as we act really as a global community and also this time everything is shared through the mentors.. we are peer-to-peer mentoring also ourselves.

I will follow a young mentee, Martina Aloo Ooko, a second-year student in Sociology from Kenya for the next six weeks: we already exchanged some emails, I was very interested in knowing more about her and her expectations in attending this course.[:]

[:en]Global Voices Book Challenge[:]


Global Voices Book Challenge

April 23 is UNESCO World Book Day – and just because the Global Voices team loves blogs, doesn’t mean we have forgotten other forms of the written word! In fact, because we think reading literature is such an enjoyable way to learn about another culture, we have a fun challenge for all Global Voices contributors and readers, and bloggers everywhere.

The Global Voices Book Challenge is as follows:

Read a book during the next month from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before.

Write a blog post about it during the week of April 23.

UPDATE: Tag your posts with #gvbook09 so we can find your posts.

If you would like to know what you should be reading from Vietnam, Bolivia, Mozambique or New Zealand, or any other country, just ask in the comments
Someone is sure to give you suggestions.

And if you have any recommendations for any must-read works from your own country, please leave a comment too.

Once you have read your book (and written a post!) let us know – we’d love to discover what you learned on your literary expedition.

Feel free to use the images above and below to spread the word of the Global Voices Book Challenge!


[:en]Let’s support Global Voices Advocacy! [:]


Global Voices Online Advocacy Do you know Global Voices Online Advocacy? It’s one of the non profit projects affiliated to GlobalVoices Online, devote to sustain freedom of speech against censorship around the world. You can also follow them through Twitter – Advox.
Global Voices Advocacy keeps track of online censorship worldwide in daily posts, and maintains a map of web 2.0 censorship. There are also guides like Anoymous Blogging with WordPress & Tor or Blogging for a Cause that many bloggers appreciate.
As fromFreedom House Italy was just rated as partly free :

Global Press Freedom Declines in Every Region; for First Time Israel, Italy and Hong Kong Lose Free Status. … Out of the 195 countries and territories covered in the study, 70 (36 percent) are rated Free, 61 (31 percent) are rated Partly Free and 64 (33 percent) are rated Not Free. This represents a modest decline from the 2008 survey in which 72 countries and territories were Free, 59 Partly Free and 64 Not Free. The new survey found that only 17 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that enjoy a Free press.


I vote for Global Voices Advocacy, because… 1) I support freedom of speech and a I am against the censorship and 2) I know people working for Global Voices Advocacy and I trust them.

This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “Blogging For a Cause” http://www.zemanta.com/bloggingforacause campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.


[:en]GlobalVoicesOnline – Italy: In Defense of the “Right to die”[:]


This post was written by Bernardo Parrella and co-authored by me.

UPDATE: Eluana Englaro died few hours after this post was written.

A legal battle over a young woman’s ‘right to die’ after 17 years in a coma has spurred both vast online commentary and activism in Italy. Mostly in defense of “Eluana Englaro’s choice”, Italian netizens have signed petitions, organized protests, and made YouTube videos of their own ‘living will’ testimonies, in defiance of both prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Vatican.

Eluana EnglaroEluana Englaro is a 38-year-old Italian woman who was left in a vegetative state after a car crash in 1992. Shortly before the accident, Eluana had paid a visit to a friend in a coma, and expressed to her father her firm will never to be kept alive artificially in case something similar should ever happen to her.

While lovingly caring for Eluana all these years, Beppino Englaro, her father, started a decade-long court battle to fulfill her wishes and allow her to die, even though Italian law does not recognize living wills [en]. The legal dispute eventually reached Italy’s higher court and the European Union court in Strasbourg, and the final rulings supported Eluana’s request to die. On Friday, February 6, her doctors began preparing to remove her feeding tubes.

Embracing Vatican ideas, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to reverse the court ruling [en] by issuing an emergency decree that was quickly approved by the parliament. Italy’s president, however, refused to sign it, and was supported by many legal scholars, journalists and ordinary citizens. Then, in a race against time to “save Eluana”, Berlusconi announced the immediate introduction of a “special bill” [it] that could be ratified by the parliament within one week, thus skirting the president’s veto and forcing doctors to resume the feeding of Eluana. He also suggested a possible constitutional amendment, if necessary.

Rally in Milano
Photo by Radicali Milano, released under Creative Commons on Flickr.

While public events, both “pro-life” or “pro-Eluana”, were held during the weekend, a large rally is planned for Valentine’s Day (February 14) in downtown Rome against the “obscurantist dictatorship” [it] of the government initiatives. With Italy on the verge of a constitutional crisis, unprecedented since World War II, the whole country is now engulfed in heated discussions that are overflowing on the Internet.

A subversion of justice

Most bloggers see the Berlusconi move as an attempt to subvert state institutions. Mente critica [it] writes:

Sconfessare per decreto legge una sentenza definitiva di una Corte di cassazione è un colpo di stato verso uno dei legittimi poteri della repubblica. Un atto così incostituzionale che probabilmente nemmeno Franco o i colonnelli della giunta militare greca avrebbero avuto l’ardire di tentare.

Drafting an emergency decree to turn back a final sentence by a Higher Court is a coup de etat against one of the legitimate powers of our Republic. This is an act so openly unconstitutional that not even [Spanish dictator] Franco or the Greek military junta colonels would have had the guts to try it.

Random bits, un blog antropologicamente inferiore [it], after declaring his closeness to the parliament majority party, has this to say about the emergency decree:

Non siamo (ancora) di fronte a comportamenti apertamente golpisti, ma ci stiamo pericolosamente avvicinando al limite (…) ricordando al governo l’importanza della separazione dei poteri e dei meccanismi di checks and balances.

We are not (yet) facing openly dictatorial behavior, but we are getting dangerously closer to the limit. (…) reminding the government about the importance of separation between state powers and the mechanism of checks and balances.

Open World [it], quoting Berlusconi saying that Eluana Englaro in her current condition “is a person who could even have a child”, supports the need of a living will legislation and adds:

Il Governo sta autorizzando una parte molto importante dell’elettorato, quello cattolico, di diventare il padrone di uno Stato Laico come è l’Italia. Come è per Costituzione il nostro Paese è tutto il contrario di quello descritto dal Presidente del Consiglio.

The Government is authorizing a very important part of the electorate, Catholic people, to become masters of a secular state, which is what Italy is. This is also written in the constitution of our country, although it is contrary to the Prime Minister’s description.

With pressure from the Vatican mounting all around, Passi nel deserto [it] expresses the viewpoint of a practicing Catholic:

In questo momento una sola cosa potrebbe disinnescare la miccia dello scontro sociale, oltre che istituzionale. Al più presto dovrebbero riunirsi i parlamentari cattolici di tutti gli schieramenti, presentare una legge sospensiva di ogni decisione fino ad una completa decisione circa una legge di “fine vita” che regoli anche il cosiddetto “testamento biologico” togliendo da esso ogni possibile fraintendimento pseudoeutanasico.

In this moment there is only one thing that could diffuse the bomb of a larger social and institutional clash. Very soon all Catholic members of parliament should get together and introduce a bill to suspend any action until a final decision about a law regulating the “end of one’s life” and the so called “biologic testament” has been reached, in order to avoid any misunderstanding even close to euthanasia.

In Italian newspaper La Repubblica, a renowned constitutional scholar, Stefano Rodotà , has decribed the situation as a “constitutional tsunami” [it] and expressed concern [it] that “the anxiety of so many members of parliament will lead us to a shore where there is very little respect for people’s rights and for their own humanity.” A commenter on this last article, 1partigiano wrote:

di nuovo il governo fa leggi ad personam, vedi il caso Eluana. La politica che deve fare leggi utilizzabili per tutti si accanisce su un fatto specifico da farne un decreto,noi cittadini dovremmo prendere coscienza di chi ci governa, della sua arroganza e ignoranza politica.

Again, the government makes laws ‘ad personam‘, see the Eluana case. Politics should produce apt laws for everybody, instead it perseveres on a single case and issues an emergency decree. We, as citizens, should be aware of who is governing us, his arrogance and political ignorance.

Online activism for “Eluana’s choice”

Flickr has more than 150 pages with photos from rallies, drawings and other kind of pictures related to Eluana’s case.

Facebook is a hotbed for activism: these days many people are protesting the Government actions by obscuring their profile picture, while a group supporting the Valentine’s Day rally [it] in downtown Rome quickly gained more than 2,000 members, and a petition supporting [it] “Eluana’s choice” has been joined by almost 86,000 people. Several other groups are discussing the issues at stake and organizing local events – again, the vast majority supporting the court decision.

Last but not least, a campaign to email people’s living will [it] directly to the labor minister is currently underway: they fill in and sign a form stating that they are against any prolonged artificial life support. Taking this strategy to the next level, dozens of people started short videos posting on YouTube [it] in which they detail their living wills. More than 100 videos are currently available, many of them with hundreds of viewers.

Also on YouTube, is the following video supporting a bill, recently introduced by member of parliament, Ignazio Marino, favoring the legal value of such ‘biological testaments’:


[:en]Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository[:]


al jazeera cc

From the press release:

Al Jazeera will release its exclusive Arabic and English coverage produced by the Network’s correspondents and crews in the Gaza Strip online at http://cc.aljazeera.net . The ongoing war and crisis in Gaza, together with the scarcity of news footage available, make the repository a key resource for anyone producing content on the current situation.

This the first time that video footage produced by a news broadcaster is released under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license which allows for commercial and non-commercial use.

Mohamed Nanabhay who headed New Media at Al Jazeera and launched the project stated, “As one of the only international broadcasters in Gaza, our coverage of the war has been unsurpassed. The launch of Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository means that our Gaza footage will be made available under the most permissive Creative Commons license (CC-BY). With the flexibility of the license we expect to introduce our outstanding coverage to an even wider audience across the world. This means that news outlets, filmmakers and bloggers will be able to easily share, remix and reuse our footage.”
Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons organization and Professor of Law at Stanford University, stated, “Al Jazeera is teaching an important lesson about how free speech gets built and supported. By providing a free resource for the world, the network is encouraging wider debate, and a richer understanding”.

Joichi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons and a world renowned Web 2.0 entrepreneur, added, “Video news footage is an essential part of modern journalism. Providing material under a Creative Commons license to allow commercial and amateur use is an enormous contribution to the global dialog around important events. Al Jazeera has set the example and the standard that we hope others will follow”.

As a pioneer in news and media Al Jazeera is always looking for ways to make its unique content accessible to audiences across the world and the launch of Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository is another concrete step in this direction.


[:en]From Italy to Palestine: Vittorio Arrigoni writes from Gaza[:]


Just published on GlobalVoicesOnline an interview to Vittorio Arrigoni. Please have a look at the article.

Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian human rights activist who is currently in Gaza, one of a number of activists who arrived with the Free Gaza movement. Vittorio (Vik) blogs at Guerrilla Radio [it], and also writes for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto. His posts vividly describe what the people of Gaza are experiencing right now. In one, a doctor describes the effects of the white phosphorus shells Israel is accused of using: “He said that what was totally inexplicable was the total absence of eyeballs, which even in the case of trauma of that magnitude should stay in place, at least traces of them.” [Read the entire article on Global Voices Online]

Today I was totally upset to read thiswebsite in which they instigate to kill Vittorio and other activists in Gaza: I couldn’t believe in what I was reading.