Archive for February, 2011

If you follow Italian politics..

..then you will find this hilarious! I think it is interesting how this scene from Grease was edited to tell a story about the Italian PM.

Egypts Disconnection with Media

Most of us are very familiar with the recent issue in Egypt. I was searching news interviews and stumbled upon a clip on how media affected the country in this horrible time. As we all know one of the issues was  government disconnecting internet access which made people even protest more. In this video below you will hear about a man expressing how once they couldn’t use the internet and social networks to talk about their concerns and feelings they then felt like their power was taken even more. The man interviewed said it was stupid for them to do this, this created even more protesting then there was already.

I think this shows the power that media holds on political and economic reformation. Having the media to express their politcal views and feelings about the country is a very important.

Layne Kluska

Egypt, Tunisia, Libya– and now Morocco.

The crisis first hits Egypt and Tunisia and I tell myself that although both countries are in Northern Africa, this would in no way implicate my country—Morocco. Libya then follows and I was more obstinate than ever into believing that we differed. Morocco tends to always choose the neutral side of things, whether out of cowardice or simple safety/logic. The rumors started on Facebook –YES… Facebook once again, claiming that manifestations would start on the 20th of February. People started creating groups such as “Je suis Marocain(e) et je suis contre les marches du 20 Février” (which means “I am Moroccan and am against the strike/riots that will take place Feb. 20th ”), and gaining thousands of participants. Others started posting videos of themselves on YouTube telling the populace to stay put and keep their kingdom in safety and away from all this drama. I was wrong to think this was only propaganda—for the 20th of February was a day of tumult in Morocco.

37, 000 people manifested in Morocco on that day. The streets were full, parents were worried about their children, and routes were blocked. Morocco is a monarchy which holds immense respect for its King, yet that February 20th didn’t seem to be a beautiful day in the eyes of all Moroccans. Although, the manifestations were pacifist, unfortunately some got out of hand—typical in these kinds of situations. Many minors were involved in the chaos that broke, as well as people from the lower classes living in harsh conditions. Open flames covered public buildings, governmental buildings , stores, and a few cars causing 128 injured and 5 deaths.


This was a social movement in Morocco which did not target its monarchy. People who stood up and voiced their concerns that day demanded profound reform within the Moroccan political system. Unemployment, minimum-wage, living conditions, literacy are what the Moroccans targeted fervently.

Intense pressure is arising because of the virtual world that we are currently facing with all the new media we live with and social networking. The question is how far will it spread, and how many countries will be at their mercy.

-Fatine Fares-Eddine

Facebook in Syria

The New York Times, “Syria Restores Access to Facebook and YouTube.” Published February 9, 2011

Three years ago, the Syrian government banned YouTube and Facebook within the country. Their goal was to prevent political activism that is so easily organized through such networks. The recent political uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia have proved the power of social networks, particularly of Facebook, to organize large groups to work together toward political change.

Last week, the Syrian government lifted these bans.  The Syrian government hopes that by lifting these bans, they will appear more democratic, thus lessening the chances of revolt similar to those in Egypt and Tunisia. The result could easily go either way. Lessening the internet restrictions may give Syrians a sense of increased freedom, but it might spark them to create political groups and rallies.

Syria has restrictions on public speech and assembly which may prove dangerous for Facebook users. Facebook policy requires users to register under their real name and personal information, and if the Syrian government decided that a Facebook user is a threat (or breaking speech and assembly laws) that user could be prosecuted.

Similar to what we saw in Afghan Star, the installment of Western social media in other societies may cause unforeseen controversy and even danger. In Syria, the government does not fully accept all the capabilities of Facebook, so users must be careful.

Sout Al Horeya-“The Voice of Freedom”

For almost a month the world has tuned in to the revolutionary action of the Egyptian people as they joined together to protest against the autocratic rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak. For some of us, this is our first time witnessing a revolution even if from the confines of our television and laptop screens. For us outsiders, this revolution is a culmination of far removed images and videos that may or may not stir up an emotional response. For the Egyptian people, living through the fear, anxiety and exhilaration of a revolution is a cause for celebration.

A group of Egyptian musicians have taken that celebration to the center of Cairo, in Tahrir Square, the backdrop to their music video for Sout Al Horeya “The Voice of Freedom”. Amir Eid, one of the vocalists and writers of the song says, “I think this is the song of the revolution. I am so proud that we made this song about our country with our people, and I hope we can make another one in the future.”

The music video was shot during the protests and violent struggles that occurred during the early stages of the revolution. As a current viral hit, the video communicates the real-life turmoil as it occurred within the streets of Cairo. By incorporating the reality of the protests, the music video not only offers a first person narration to the rest of the world but also displays the voice that has been renewed to the Egyptian people, one of strength, perseverance and of freedom.

NBA popular past-time among China’s youth

Evident especially after the 2008 Olympics in China, one of the most popular sports for Chinese youth to watch and participate in is basketball. These teenagers however aren’t following their local teams’ in China, and are instead following American superstars like Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming in the NBA. Kobe Bryant has even had the most jersey sales in China since 2007. During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing over 1 billion people around the world tuned in to watch the United States team take on China during the opener game. This is a real and current example of the power of global media. Due to technology like the internet and satellite TV, teenagers in China never have to miss a statistic, news article, or NBA game and can be just as big of fan’s of the NBA as teenagers living in the United States. The NBA has even held clinics in China to attract talented basketball players in China for over a decade. It seems as if the Chinese youth have completely abandoned the Chinese basketball league for something they find more appealing which is the NBA.  Attached is a video interviewing teenagers in China about basketball especially the NBA.

-Samantha Fink

India’s Family Plan

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, for a total of fifteen years.

Gandhi used her dictatorship to effect a rapid ‘modernization’ of a country she considered dangerously ‘backward’. Her modernization program had progressive goals – universal literacy, the elimination of slums in the big cities, a more equal distribution of land in the countryside – but it was pursued in brutal and quixotic ways. Slums were eliminated not by the provision of new and better housing, but with bulldozers. Production was raised by banning strikes.

The most notorious part of the Gandhi regime’s ‘modernization’ program was the ‘family planning’ campaign.

Advances in health care and the end of the mass famines that had marked British rule meant that India’s population had increased markedly since independence in 1947.

 This “population bomb”, as it has been describe, has a devastating impact on limited resources, political management, and planned development. The control of disease in the past 80 years has brought a rapid decline in the death rate. From 251 million in 1921, India’s population more than doubled by 1971, reaching 548 million.
The population in 2006 was estimated to be about 1.1 billion and is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2051. the annual rate of population growth increased from 1.1 % between 1921 and 1931 to 2.2 % between 1961 and 1981.

At the present growth rate, india’s population will surpass China’s by the middle of the century.

Indira Gandhi decided that population growth must be slowed to cut down demand for domestic food production, and to allow more exports of rice and other crops. She ignored the fact that, in the absence of any real social security system, many Indian parents saw large families as an essential source of labour and as a promise of support in old age.

To reduce birth rates the Government of India has undertaken one of the most extensive family-planning programs in the world. Media had a huge part in the propaganda; posters, radio and films proclaimed that “a small family is a happy family”.

Greg Bathon an American executive working in the Indian marketplace explains:

There were then, out of a population of some 600 million, more pregnant women in India than the entire population of Australia. So we were asked to work on the development of a national birth control program. We came up with a slogan, do ya tin bhaccha bas-in Hindi, “two or three children are enough,” and we superimposed that on a big triangle-shaped logo that ran on posters all over the country. Soon people got so used to seeing the triangle that even without words it would whisper ‘do ya tin bhaccha bas’


 We weren’t through yet! The little Philips transistor radios were very popular: You’d see men all over walking along the streets holding them up to their ears. In two short weeks we sent sales of Philips transistor radios into a death spiral with a campaign promising a free transistor radio to every man who signed up for a vasectomy.


From 1952 until mid 1976, more than 19million men had undergone voluntary sterilization in 1976

Transistor radios were distributed for free, blatantly used to promote the government’s family plan, to men who volunteered for a vasectomy.

 A man who lived through that period explains

People underwent the vasectomy just to get the free radio because on the black market this would have sold for 2-3 weeks wages.
Also many of the poorly educated country people and the beggars were so ill-informed of what they were losing in order to get the radio, that they didn’t see why they shouldn’t line up again to get a second one.


Posted by Helena Salvo