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Stories from and

An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Fukushima: No Place Like Home

No Time for Anger [de]’, a visualization journal by a team of Swiss media reporter and designers, illustrates Fukushima two years after the triple catastrophe of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011. Fearing radiation, some residents sought evacuation to other areas in Japan, but the data visualization by the team shows the majority of people who fled actually stayed within the region of Fukushima:

We received data sets from the prefecture of Fukushima on the number of refugees and their current location for the years 2011 and 2012. We imagined that since this was a nuclear catastrophe people would flee from the region and wish to be as far away as possible. Yet, the numbers from the prefecture of Fukushima backed by researchers at the University of Gunma showed that the reality was quite different. The majority of people who fled actually stayed within the region of Fukushima.

Parallels Between Religious and Copyright Wars

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of Pirate Party, reinterprets the wars of religion that devastated Western Europe in the XVI and XVII centuries in terms of the current struggle to control information through overbearing legislation related to copyright and freedom of expression:

The religious wars were never about religion as such. They were about who held the power of interpretation, about who controlled the knowledge and culture available to the masses. It was a war of gatekeepers of information.

Francophone Africa: The Important Literary Contributions from Former Colonies

The Genevan blog of Rémi Mogenet, Le Savoyard de la Tribune, explains with supporting examples that [fr]: “Mythological African traditional stories have made a remarkable entrance into francophone literature”. He quotes the Mandika epic tale of Soundjata, written and published in French by Guinean D. T. Niane, as well as, for Cameroon, Au Pays des initiés by Gabriel Mfomo and La Marseillaise de mon enfance by Jean-Marton Tchaptchet, without forgetting L’ Anthologie nègre by Blaise Cendrars.

Russia-Switzerland: New magazine for Russia, Belarus and Ukraine

Gedankenbörsen Blog draws attention to [GER] a new magazine in Switzerland – Echo – about Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Video: Pitch Your Cause to the World for Davos

There is time until January 4th, 2010 to send in your video pitch for your cause if you want a chance to participate in the World economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland. Read all instructions and Conditions to participate on the Davos YouTube Channel or on their site.

Celebrating National Days in Singapore and Switzerland

The Temasek Review has an article comparing the National Day celebrations in Singapore and Switzerland.

Europe: Football and Politics

Desmond McGrath of A Fistful of Euros writes about football and politics: “Part of the fun of football is the way in which it overturns the international order of power politics.”

Armenia: Election Differences

The Armenian Observer features a guest post by a Swiss ex-pat worker in Armenia who compares how elections are conducted in Europe with how they are conducted here in the South Caucasus.

Bolivia: Following the Swiss Example

Carlos Gustavo Machicado of Guccio's [ES] comments on a recent speech by President Evo Morales, who stated his desire for Bolivia to follow the example set by Switzerland. Machiado writes, “The reactions have been favorable because it is good that we want to be like Switzerland, and not like Venezuela or Cuba.”

Gold Medal Winner's Touching Gesture with Peruvian Skier at Sochi 2014

Swiss skier Darío Cologna was awarded the gold medal on the 15-kilometer freestyle cross country ski race in the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. But in Peru he made the news due to a moving and exemplary scene: he waited for more than 20 minutes at the finish line for Peruvian Roberto Carcelén to shake his hand and hug him, for he knew Carcelen had competed although he had two broken ribs.

Carcelén broke two ribs during training, and nonetheless he decided to participate in a 15 kilometer race because he had already announced these would be his last Winter Olympics.

On Twitter, the news  didn't go unnoticed:

HURRAY for the Olympic spirit! Broken rib and he made it all the way to the finish line, Roberto Carcelén from Peru. Who do you think was waiting for him at the finish line?

A moment so sweet that the snow almost became snow cones. Roberto Carcelén competed today in Sochi – Russia.

The Worst Companies of the Year

Here were the nominees for the Public Eye Awards, a contest listing the worst companies of the year, was published by the website Public Eye. Organized by the Berne Declaration and Pro Natura, since 2000, the awards is a counter-summit critique of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. To date, readers have ranked Goldman Sachs at the top of the list.  The reason for this is their actions in Greece :

A scam that amounted to half of Greece's debt, for exorbitant fees, a scam that led to the country's ruin.

A Traveling Exhibition to Expose Police Violence in Greece

A small team of Greeks in Zurich decided to expose Greek police brutality with a traveling photo exhibition in various European capitals. @Ypopto_mousi tweets a link to a poster in his blog, [el] which gives more information on his friends’ effort to bring this project to life, as well as a police violence case summary.

(more…)

Sierra Leone : Agrofuels versus Food Security

Michelle Nougoum, in a post published on on afrik.com [fr] points out another case of land leasing in Africa for the purpose of agrofuels in Sierra Leone : “[The Swiss firm] Addax et Oryx intends to exploit 57 000 hectares of lands that is home to 13 000 people for a 50 years period in Makeni, in the North of Sierra Leone. Local grassroots organizations oppose this decision since only 10 000 hectares shall be actually dedicated to growing the intended sugarcane.”

Global: Statistics on Countries Participating in World Cup

SRF from GeoCurrent Events blog writes about the economic geography of the 2010 FIFA World Cup participant countries.


Poland: Sexual Crimes and Roman Polanski

Polandian writes about Poland's plans to legalize chemical castration for those who commit sexual crimes against minors – and about the arrest of Roman Polanski in Switzerland and the Polish foreign minister's intention to ask the U.S. president to pardon the film director: “Now, if the 1977 charge had been for shoplifting, one might just about argue that Poland has the right to go asking for a pardon for this famous son, however, the charge was for the rape of a 13 year old girl when Polanski was 44.”

Egypt: Sawiris Takes on Switzerland

Cairo's Scene & Heard celebrated entrepreneur and hotelier Sameh Sawiris's new project in Switzerland saying: “Now that we're branching out into Europe…do you think we stand a chance next to the already existing competition?!?”

Armenia/Georgia: Online Diasporan Communities

Social Science in the Caucasus examines the Internet presence of Armenian and Georgian communities in Switzerland. The blog of the Caucasus Research Resource Centers says that examining the extent of activity in online communities is one way of tracking how organized migrant communities abroad are.

Poland: More on the Election

A few more links on the Polish election: the beatroot explains Kaczynski's defeat; Dr. Sean's Diary sums up the results and notes a “a complete slaughter of minor parties“; Edward Lucas declares that the “era of the ‘terrible twins’ is over”; Yascha Mounk‘s general summary at Harvard International Review; Europhobia cheers Poland, but boos Switzerland; Jonathan Newton writes about the election and Poland's EU business.

Tanzania: Swiss government removes all tariffs and quotas

Gillian writes about the decision by the Swiss government to remove all tarrifs on trade with Tanzania: “The Swiss government has removed all tariffs and quotas standing in the way of Tanzanian exports destined for Switzerland. The new regulations came into force in April 2007, and are expected to benefit a wide range of Tanzanian businesses trading in products such as flowers, cashew nuts and fish.”

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