18 November 2012
Stories from 18 November 2012
Back in 2008, during Israel's attack on Gaza that left more than 1,400 (more than 700 of whom were civilians) dead, individuals the world over took to social media to comment on the attacks and the politics behind them. Four years later, the world — and the Internet — has changed. Now, as Israel once again unleashes a barrage of air strikes against Gaza's population, social media has become a secondary battlefield.
Moroccans protested in the capital Rabat against the royal budget today. Their protest was violently repressed by police, who beat up activists as well as journalists who turned up to cover the demonstration. Reports claim that the royal palaces of Morocco cost the kingdom's coffers 700,000 Euros a day, in a country where the number of poor people has increased dramatically over the past few years.
Heartbreaking photographs of dead Palestinian children were splattered across social media today, calling attention to the on-going tragedy in Gaza, as Israel and Hamas continue to exchange fire. Today, the fifth day since Israel started bombing Gaza round the clock, an Israeli missile hit a house in Gaza City, killing at least 10 civilians, including five children. Online, this tragedy has drawn condemnation from netizens.
Israelis have been using social media to document and share their experiences over the past five days as Hamas rockets fall like rain on cities across the Southern and Central regions of Israel. While the IDF has been heavily using Twitter to control the message and rally support online, many Israelis turn to Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to share their day-to-day experiences in dealing with the tense situation.
Russian opposition bloggers were ecstatic on Saturday, after the United States House of Representatives passed the so-called Magnitsky Act with bipartisan support. Unfortunately for supporters of the Act, it is still far from becoming law.
Yesterday a Facebook group organized hundreds of Israelis to gather in Tel Aviv's Habima square. The group calls for people to “Refuse the election war! Refuse to die or kill in the name of a political spin.”
Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners have been on hunger strike in Turkey for 67 days. They demanded an end to a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan's isolation, and to allow the use of the Kurdish language in public spaces without discrimination. None of these demands have been met, but surprisingly a statement from Öcalan has been made, where he calls for an end to hunger strikes according to his brother Mehmet Öcalan.
The week-long 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China finally came to an end on November 14, 2012. A new generation of leaders, headed by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, took over from the previous leadership headed by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. One Chinese social media user comments, "Ten years ago, people had so much hope for a new pollcy, but the result was just disappointment. Ten year later, we don't have any hope, thus there will be no disappointment."