Global Voices по-русски: Мозамбикский владелец магазина одежды посчитал отличной идеей назвать его в честь Гитлера, однако сетяне с этим не согласились

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Имя Гитлера на магазине модной одежды в Мапуто | Фото использовано с разрешения автора

[Все ссылки ведут на сайты на португальском языке, если не указано иное.]

После шквала гневных реакций со стороны пользователей Facebook между 21 и 22 октября 2018 года магазин одежды в столице Мозамбика Мапуто, использовавший в оформлении нацистскую иконографию, избавился как от своего названия, так и от логотипа.

Магазин «Hitler» [прим. редактора: англоязычное написание фамилии Адольфа Гитлера], торговая деятельность которого, судя по всему, началась в первых числах октября, расположен в одном из крупнейших торговых центров страны — Maputo Shopping Center, в деловом районе центра мозамбикской столицы, рядом с приёмной премьер-министра и другими государственными зданиями.

20 октября пользовательница Facebook Фернанда Лобато разместила фото витрины магазина с изображением нацистской свастики:

Loja com o nome HITLER e com a soástica estampada no vidro da loja. Maputo Shopping. Como permitem este ultraje?

Магазин с названием HITLER и свастикой, отпечатанной на витрине. Maputo Shopping. Как можно было допустить подобный позор?

Имя Гитлера на магазине модной одежды в Мапуто | Фото использовано с разрешения автора

В ответ на данную публикацию последовала массовая реакция и множество комментариев. Сара Лопес, в профиле которой указано, что она проживает в Мапуто, написала:

Eu nem entrava nessa [censurado] de loja! Mas quem é o imbecil que abre uma loja dessas com uma conotação tão racista e de um homem que defende a supremacia da raça ariana quando nem ele mesmo o era?

Я даже не стала заходить в этот [удалено цензурой] магазин! Но кто этот дегенерат, что открывает магазин с расистской коннотацией и именем человека, который отстаивал превосходство арийской расы, если не сам того же поля ягода?

Рэпер, общественный деятель и мозамбикский юрист Ивет Марлен заявила, что этот магазин нанес оскорбление человечеству и что мозамбикское государство в лице государственной прокуратуры должно принять меры:

Um Estado com uma Constituição como a nossa não deveria nunca permitir isto! O que o fascismo fez com os negros? Quais eram os ideais do Hitler para Africa? Acima de tudo, o que Hitler fez a raça humana? As respostas a estas perguntas deveriam ser fundamento bastante para repudiar essa ideia comercial… Na verdade, essa loja é um insulto a nossa liberdade, moçambicanidade e nossa história por representar discriminação e genocídio a todas as raças em benefício e supremacia da raça ariana… A PGR [Procuradoria Geral da República] tem espaço para actuar aqui…não podemos aderir a Declaração Universal de Direitos Humanos por via da constituição e permitir isto de glorificar o maior genocida do mundo…

Государство с такой Конституцией, как наша, не должно допускать подобных вещей ни при каких обстоятельствах! Как обошелся фашизм с чернокожими? Какие идеалы преследовал Гитлер в отношении Африки? В конце концов, что сделал Гитлер с человечеством? Ответы на эти вопросы должны послужить достаточным основанием для отказа от подобной коммерческой идеи… В сущности, этот магазин — оскорбление для нашей свободы, мозамбикского народа и нашей истории, ведь он представляет собой дискриминацию и геноцид всех рас во благо и превосходство арийской расы… Для PGR [генерального прокурора] здесь достаточно простора для действий… мы не можем оставаться верными Всеобщей декларации прав человека, отраженной в нашей конституции, и при этом позволить восхваление величайшего геноцидиста в мире…

Возможно, благодаря последовавшим жалобам пользователей на страницу магазина в Facebook, она, по всей видимости, была заблокирована платформой.

Похоже, этот пост оказал существенное влияние также и на реальный мир. Два дня спустя после размещения оригинальной публикации владельцы магазина убрали его название и символику с витрин. Фернанда Лобато поделилась новостями по этому поводу:

Amigos, estou sem palavras (….) O nome da loja com o nome Hitler foi apagado. O símbolo da suástica foi apagado. Viva o Estado de Direito Democrático. Viva os Direitos Humanos. Parabéns a todos nós que nos indignamos com esta situação. Fico feliz por o meu país não admitir que símbolos que dignifiquem atrocidades efectuadas à Humanidade se perpectuem aqui. E viva as Redes Sociais, que usadas para o bem, conseguem chamar a atenção contra atos contra os Direitos Humanos.

Друзья, у меня нет слов (…) Название магазина «Hitler» убрали. Свастика также убрана. Да здравствуют Права Человека! Поздравляю всех нас, кого эта ситуация привела в ярость. Я счастлива, что моя страна не допускает увековечивания символов, возвеличивающих зверскую жестокость в отношении Человечества. Слава Социальным Сетям, которые при добронаправленном использовании могут привлечь внимание к действиям, посягающим на Права Человека.

Социолог Эдгар Кубалива призвал бойкотировать магазин невзирая на удаление названия и символики, чтобы таким образом выразить непоколебимое непризнание:

O nome e os símbolos foram apagados. Celebremos. Contudo, podemos continuar a mandar o recado para os donos: näo esquecemos…. O Nazismo saiu dos vidros mas não saiu da mente, do coração, da alma dos proprietários. E pessoas, não alimentem os discursos de desconhecimento de história por parte destes neonazistas. Esses fascistas conhecem muito bem a história, sabem o que fazem. Esse é o lado que escolheram. Agora cabe a nós sermos ou não aliados deles. Boicote.

Название и символика были удалены. Давайте отпразднуем это. Однако мы можем продолжать демонстрировать владельцам магазина наше отношение: мы не забываем…. Нацизм был удален со стекла витрины, но не покинул умов, сердец и душ владельцев магазина. И не стоит, люди, подпитывать рассуждения о невежестве всех этих нео-нацистов. Эти фашисты отлично знают историю, они знают, что делают. Это та сторона, которую они выбрали. И теперь выбор за нами — быть для них союзниками или нет. Бойкот.

Global Voices по-русски


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Global Voices: A Conversation With Nicky Nodjoumi on the Power and Politics of His Art

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Nicky Nodjoumi working at his studio in Brooklyn New York. Photo Credit: Curtesy of the artist.

Nicky Nodjoumi working at his studio in Brooklyn New York. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nicky Nodjoumi.

From the Homa Gallery in Tehran to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Nicky Nodjoumi’s art has been exhibited around the world. Having lived and worked in his birth country of Iran before and during the country’s 1979 revolution, Nodjoumi, now a Brooklyn resident, developed a keen interest in the relationship between art and politics. He secretly nurtured that interest as an art student in the 1970s at City College in New York until a new generation of artists “changed New York’s art scene and ended the domination of the elite.” From that point on, the gallery owners who had shunned his work began opening their doors to him.

Viewed as a whole, Nodjoumi’s art is a powerful, interpretive, multifaceted, sometimes satirical, exploration of issues related to power and politics. Throughout the decades, Nodjoumi’s work has remained bold and curious as opposed to declarative.

Omid Memarian (OM): The politics of today figure strongly in your work. What’s your thought process and how do you portray political issues without focusing on a specific incident or personality?

Nicky Nodjoumi’s (NN): I start with a photo from a newspaper or magazine. There was a time when artists would put a model in front of them and draw a subject, but times have changed. For example, if I want to paint Mr. Trump’s picture, I can’t use him as a model but there are a lot of photos of him that I can use to match my chosen topic. I often try to change the form or the body so that it only bears a superficial resemblance to reality. Not everyone will recognize who that person is because I want everyone in the world to make a connection when they see it.

The Leaders, ink on paper, 85”x126” 2016. Courtesy of Nicky Nodjoumi.

OM: For the past 10 years, you have focused on the issue of power, especially in your most recent collection, “Field Work and Two Faces.” How does it shape your work?

NN: Power is based on relationships between people. We have all kinds of power; the state is the primary center of power and then there is the family. Power is not hidden but many might not pay attention to it. Choosing power as one of the main topics of my work is rooted in the desire to drag it down to the ground and make fun of it. It’s important to treat it lightly rather than seriously. In every work, power is represented from a different angle, but ultimately, when you look at them as a whole, you see the humor.

Here is Aleppo, ink on paper, 215 x 320 cm, 2017. Courtesy of Nicky Nodjoumi.

OM: You studied fine art at City College in New York in the 1970s. Since then, art schools have multiplied around the country. How have they changed?

NN: When I went to university in 1972, I was done in a year and a half. I wanted to finish and go back to Iran as soon as possible. It was a time when color-field and minimalist styles were popular. My problem with the school and my professors was that they weren’t able to answer my questions about the link between art and politics.

I was involved in student organizations and political activities. It was important for me to understand the relationship between art and politics before learning how to paint. What I saw outside of school was not helpful. Most of it was abstract, which I also did at school and got good results, but I was also pursuing subjects that I liked. Of course, I didn’t share those works with anyone.

OM: Why not?

NN: Because they wouldn’t get it. Abstract art’s dictatorship crumbled in Europe and New York in the 1980s and suddenly a group of young artists flooded the East Village galleries with works based on savage and stark realities from their environment. Small shops popped up in the streets and people could easily enter and look at the art. All these things changed New York’s art scene and ended the domination of the elite. Suddenly anything became possible.

OM: Your political views are influenced by where you grew up, Iran, and where you live now, the United States. These countries operate in very different political contexts. How has this wide geopolitical gap and your dual identity impacted your work?

NN: Sometimes they get mixed. The power plays in the state structures look the same in both countries, at least in my view. I can present the political climate here the same way I do with Iran. I only need to change the characters. I used to have veiled women and mullahs in my work during the Iranian shah’s [king’s] time [1941-1979] because they were part of the oppressed class. That’s no longer the case, so I don’t use them anymore. We have to look at them differently today.

Searching for New Experiment, by Nicky Nodjoumi. Oil on Canvas. Painted in 2010-2013.

OM: Despite the limitations on freedom of expression, there is a lively art scene in Iran that reflects current political and cultural issues. What was it like when you lived there?

NN: Things have changed a lot; there was none of that when we were going to school in Iran. There’s a lot of movement in the Iranian art scene despite the difficult conditions the artists operate in. Just as art styles have multiplied here, art has progressed a lot in Iran, too. We see all kinds of work. There’s a lot of calligraphy and miniature art, which was rare during the shah’s time.

Political events have left their mark on artists as well. I follow certain artists and sometimes I’m shocked by how similar their work is to mine, even though I don’t live there and I don’t show my work a lot. But this path is now open. There are many artists who do a lot of good, independent, original work there.

The Oaths of Infidels 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Nicky Nodjoumi.

OM: What is the difference in working as an artist in somewhere like the U.S., where there is no limit on expression, and a place like Iran where many things are banned?

NN: They are very different. Saul Steinberg was a great American cartoonist who came from Europe. He famously said that Italian fascism gave birth to Italian surrealism. I don’t know how true that is but it is true that during times of crisis, artists find alternative paths. It might not be the exact path they are looking for, but they do manage to be creative despite the tyranny.

You might ask, would I have found a different path if I had stayed in Iran? Certainly. You can see now that young artists in Iran are able to find ways to express themselves.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Volunteers chronicle the lives of murdered Colombian activists in words and drawings

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Postales para Memoria is a project run by volunteers. Hashtag says: they’re killing us. Used with permission.

Colombia is experiencing a spike in violence since President José Manuel Santos signed a historic peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), with one person being killed every four days since 2016.

As the FARC demobilizes in the countryside, it also opens a vacuum for other groups — including other guerrilla, successors of right-wing paramilitary groups, and dissidents of the FARC itself — to fight for control over the abandoned lands. In turn, community leaders and activists are caught in the crossfire and the government has been slow to address the problem.

While solutions eludes the government, activists are setting up initiatives to preserve the memories of the victims. Among them is “Postales para la memoria” (postcards for memory), a collaborative project in which volunteer illustrators and writers draw portraits or write short biographies of the assassinated activists.

For the project’s creators, the victims’ stories end up lost in the background of the media’s coverage of the peace process. The website says:

La postal es un vehículo de comunicación poderoso, con el potencial de capturar lo esencial de cada historia y de ser compartida digital y físicamente a cualquier parte del mundo, dándonos a todos el poder de contribuir, comunicar y contarle al mundo sobre nuestros líderes.

The postcard is a powerful medium, capable of capturing the essentials of each story and send that message digitally or physically around the world, giving us all the power of contributing, communicating and telling the world about our leaders.

No professional experience is required — anyone who wants to participate can get started by getting in touch through email and proposing to either write a story or draw any of the leaders.

Human rights defenders, educators, environmentalists

Sandra Viviana Cuéllar was a community leader in Cali, Valle de Cauca. She defended the natural resources of her community’s land from the palm oil industry. She was murdered in 2011, at age 26. Here’s her postcard:

Sandra Viviana Cuéllar’s postcard. Illustrated by Ana María Lagos Gallego. Used with permission.

Ella vivía y sufría por todo lo que tuviera vida: una planta, un animal abandonado […] A mí me impresionaba su capacidad de dinamizar, de movilizar, de relacionarse de una manera alegre y sencilla con la gente. […] A Sandra la desaparecieron un jueves hacia mediodía en un sector conocido como El Terminalito. Iba rumbo a Palmira a dictar su primera clase de cultura y medio ambiente en la Universidad Nacional. Vestía un jean azul y una camisa negra. Su celular y su billetera fueron encontrados dos días después cerca al paradero de buses, intactos. Esa fue la única y la última noticia que tuvieron de ella.

She lived and suffered for all that lived: a plant, an abandoned animal […] It impressed me her capacity to dynamize, to mobilize, to relate to others in a happy and simple way. […] Sandra was disappeared one Thursday around noon, in an area known as El Terminalito. She was on her way to Palmira to give her first class on culture and environment at the National University. She was wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt. Her phone and her purse were found two days later by the bus stop, intact. That was the last and only news they’ve heard from her.

Yolanda Maturana lived in the town of Pueblo Rico, in the department of Risaralda. She had found the community-based environmental organisation “Asociación de Amigos de la Fauna y La Flora” (The Association of Friends of Fauna and Flora). She was murdered in her home on February 2018, at age 59.

Se destaca de Yolanda, su preocupación genuina por la sostenibilidad de los recursos naturales que abastecían a su comunidad, razón por la cual apoyó el proceso que derivó en la reglamentación de la cacería de sustento del territorio colectivo de Santa Cecilia.

Remarkable in Yolanda was her preoccupation for the sustainability of the resources that nourished her community, which is the reason why she supported the legalisation of subsistence hunting in the collective territory of Santa Cecilia.

Yolanda Maturana’s postcard. Illustrated by Catalina Uribe and used with permission.

There are many more postcards of indigenous leaders, educators, activists against anti-personnel mines and human rights activists.

Liliana Astrid Martínez Ramírez, educator and mother of two children. Illustrated by Helena Melo. Used with permission.

Eliécer Carvajal, attorney who participated in the peace agreements in his district. Illustrated by Juandacoco. Used with permission.

Many more stories like Liliana’s and Eliécer’s, whose postcards can be seen above, await their own volunteer storyteller, just like other stories await their own illustrator.

Global Voices


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Global Voices по-русски: Массовая эмиграция из Венесуэлы: смотрите онлайн

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Скриншот различных видеопризнаний покидающих Венесуэлу молодых людей, документирующих своё путешествие.

Сегодня трудно определить, сколько венесуэльцев покинули свою страну.

Иностранная пресса утверждает, что данные, предоставленные властями Венесуэлы, являются «сомнительными» [исп]. Согласно последней статистике [анг], собранной Управлением Верховного комиссара ООН по делам беженцев [анг], отсюда эмигрировало около 2 миллионов человек. Однако местное правительство и его союзники считают эти показатели недействительными [анг].

Что можно отметить, так это развитие виртуальных сетей поддержки: обычные жители, уезжая из Венесуэлы, делятся своими историями, советами и личным опытом в социальных сетях. Таким образом они только подтверждают неутешительную статистику.

Личный опыт и сети солидарности

 Йоси, 23-летняя венесуэлка, — всего лишь одна из многих, кто хочет рассказать свою историю и помочь другим преодолеть то же путешествие. На своём YouTube-канале [исп] она говорит о том, как сначала мигрировала в Панаму, а затем в Аргентину. Йоси не только описывает процесс адаптации, но и объясняет, почему решила уехать:

En mi país no hay medicinas, no hay doctores, no hay salud. En mi país todos los días hay muertes. En mi país no hay comida, pero sí hay desnutrición. En mi país no hay seguridad, pero sí mucha violencia. […] ¿Te sorprende? A nosotros ya no.

В моей стране нет медицины, нет врачей, нет системы здравоохранения. Здесь каждый день умирают люди. В моей стране нет еды, но зато есть голод. В моей стране нет безопасности и много насилия.[…] Вас это удивляет? Нас уже нет.

На Youtube вы легко найдёте десятки видеороликов со следующими названиями: «Как я ездил в Перу без паспорта» [исп], «9 полезных советов о том, как добраться до Кукуты: уезжаем из Венесуэлы в Колумбию» [исп], и «Как я добиралась из Венесуэлы до Чили по суше» [исп]. Все видео содержат личные истории эмиграции из Венесуэлы, а также служат подсказкой для тех, кто планирует переехать.

В каждом ролике мы видим трудности на пути людей, выезжающих из страны по суше. Например, Ориана — автор Youtube-видео «9 полезных советов…» — предупреждает об опасностях, с которыми можно столкнуться на автовокзале, и обсуждает проблемы с документами:

De Cúcuta a Bogotá, o a cualquier ciudad cercana debe haber por lo menos como 20 puntos de control en donde los policías de migración se suben al autobús y revisan las identificaciones para ver si los pasaportes están sellados. [Todo] debido a la descontrolada migración de venezolanos al territorio colombiano […] En el terminal de Cúcuta tienes que ir a el sótano si deseas guardar maletas bañarte o utilizar el baño. Tiene que ser estrictamente en el sótano pues es la única zona que es casi segura. Las afueras de los terminales son muy peligrosos…

Проезжая от Кукуты к Боготе или к любому ближайшему городу, можно обнаружить как минимум 20 контрольно-пропускных пунктов (КПП). На каждой остановке сотрудники миграционной полиции заходят в автобус, проверяют паспорта и печати в них. [Всё это] благодаря неконтролируемой венесуэльской эмиграции из Венесуэлы в Колумбию […] Если вы оказались на автовокзале в Кукуте, то для того, чтобы сдать вещи на хранение, принять душ или сходить в туалет, вам придётся спуститься в подвал. Необходимо строго следовать этому правилу, так как здесь это самое безопасное место. Выходить за пределы автостанции крайне опасно…

Тем временем, венесуэльцы, проживающие за границей, создают специальные группы в Facebook, а также активно используют Twitter и другие социальные сети, чтобы поддержать соотечественников и помочь им добраться до Колумбии [исп], Эквадора [исп], Чили [исп] и Испании [исп]. Создана целая виртуальная сеть солидарности для тех, кому пришлось покинуть свою страну.

Дополнительная помощь

Данная ситуация обеспокоила неправительственные организации, которые содействуют мигрантам. Среди них Иезуитская миграционная сеть и Иезуитская служба помощи беженцам из Латинской Америки и Вест-Индии. Именно они создали «виртуальную карту» [исп], чтобы люди смогли добраться до Бразилии, Колумбии, Эквадора или Перу в целости и сохранности. Этот проект служит ещё одним подтверждением масштаба венесуэльского исхода — он считается крупнейшей волной миграции в регионе за последние 50 лет [исп].

Подробный «виртуальный маршрут», разработанный Иезуитской миграционной сетью и службой помощи беженцам из Латинской Америки и Вест-Индии с целью оказать содействие иммигрантам. Карта предоставляет данные и информацию об организациях, которые пригодятся людям, уезжающим из Венесуэлы в соседние страны. Здесь также можно найти информацию о стоимости билетов, расписание транспорта и маршруты в виде списка.

Помимо самой дороги, важно учитывать то, в каких жёстких условиях находятся венесуэльцы, готовясь к переезду. С одной стороны, они сталкиваются со множеством ограничений и сложностей при получении документов. К примеру, им приходится ждать около двух лет [исп] или доплачивать [исп], если они хотят получить/продлить паспорт. А с другой стороны, им мешает неостановимая гиперинфляция [анг] (по прогнозам достигнет миллиона процентов в 2018 [исп]), которая ежедневно существенно влияет на их расходы.

Остаётся только ждать принятия мер, которые поспособствуют решению колоссальных проблем в стране и за её пределами. На данный момент, с ростом численности эмигрантов (и в то же время на фоне ухудшения отношений с соседними странами [исп]), венесуэльский миграционный феномен не сбавляет обороты.

Global Voices по-русски


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Global Voices: Angolans react to government’s new law-and-order initiative

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Street vendors in Angola | Photo by Simião Hossi (2018)

A new government initiative in Angola wants to tackle public disorder, crime, and illegal immigration. Officials say that “Operation Rescue”, as it’s called, is meant to restore the state’s authority and encourage citizens’ care about the country’s public services. It will begin on November 6 and has no end date.

Speaking with Deutsche Welle, Angolan police commissioner general told Deutsche Welle that, although Angola is experiencing economic, financial and social difficulties, that should not justify disorder:

Não podemos permitir isso e temos de garantir maior estabilidade, sossego, tranquilidade e paz para os cidadãos. Queremos resgatar a autoridade do Estado que, por vezes, dilui-se na confusão. Queremos resgatar a ordem, o civismo, a dignidade.

We can not allow this, we must ensure greater stability, peace, tranquility and peace for the citizens. We want to rescue the authority of the state, which is sometimes diluted in confusion. We want to rescue order, civility, dignity.

Among other things, the campaign aims to reduce the number of street vendors in Luanda and address public insalubrity in the streets.

Operation rescue will also crack down on illegal immigration. This is a heated debate in Angola, whose border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the longest in Africa and, Angolan authorities say, is crossed by 1,000 people every day.

In March 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) criticized the Angolan government for having forced 530 refugees to return to DRC. The Congolese authorities recently said that they will also deport Angolans living in that country in retaliation.

Since September the Angolan government has been conducting another program directed specifically at border control. “Operation Transparency” happens in seven Angolan provinces that borders the DRC and combats primarily diamond smuggling.

According to Minister Pedro Sebastiao, who is also the head of presidential security, diamonds worth over one million US dollars have been seized in the course of the operation, as well as 59 firearms. Over 200 premises for illegal diamond trading were also dismantled.

Angolans have their say

Domingos das Neves, Professor at the Catholic University of Angola, says that the operation should have different objectives, namely the improvement of the lives of Angolans:

“OPERAÇÃO RESGATE”!

O resgate maior do Estado seria o de proporcionar condições para garantir empregos e trabalhos dignos para a multidão de jovens desempregados, licenciados (ou não), técnicos ou analfabetos, pois que todos precisam, pelo menos, sobreviver com um mínimo de dignidade. E, nada melhor do que viver com o fruto do próprio suor. Isso sim, seria o verdadeiro resgate da autoridade do Estado, que é uma entidade de bem!

”RESCUE OPERATION”

The most important rescue by the state would be to provide the conditions to guarantee decent jobs for the young unemployed, licensed (or not), technic or illiterate, because everyone must at least survive with a minimum of dignity. And there is nothing better than living through our own effort. That would be the real rescue of the State’s authority, which is a good entity!

Gilberto Muatye Alberto Fernando, journalist, and resident in Luanda, supported the statement of the Professor, with some reservations:

E sendo o Estado uma entidade de bem, com tudo aquilo que foi dito neste post, a operação resgate seria uma solução e não um problema… só que temos o hábito de querer precipitar as coisas, não acautelamos o mínimo para que as pessoas tenham dignidade e depois queremos organização… onde é que já se viu organização com fome?

If the state is a good entity, and with all that was said in this post, the rescue operation would be a solution and not a problem… except that we have the habit of wanting to rush things, we do not take the minimum precautions for people to have dignity and then we want organization… where have we ever seen organization where there’s hunger?

Others wholly support the government’s program saying that it is necessary for citizens to carry out their activities in an organized way. Tinamendes Ambrosio commented:

Acho pertinente sua reflexão amigo Domingos Das Neves. Mas enquanto as condições de vida mínimas desejadas não chegam, podemos indo arrumar a nossa casa. Podemos ser pobres e limpos. A venda e o amontoados de lixo em qualquer esquina não tem a ver com a pobreza más sim com o espírito do deixa andar. Assim cresceram desordenadamente muitos bairros.

I think your reflection is pertinent, Domingos Das Neves. But while the minimum living conditions don’t come, we can still clean up our house. We can be poor and clean. Street selling and trash in every corner is not about poverty, but rather with a careless spirit. So many neighborhoods have grown in disorderly way.

Street sellers in Angola | Photo by Simião Hossi (2018)

The journalist Alberto dos Santos Ovni reminded that people are embarrassed by this operation because of poverty in the country:

Operação Resgate
Senhor Presidente da República
Senhor Ministro do Interior

A zunga ou venda ambulante, as oficinas sem cobertura, as bancadas do jovem que repara telefone junto a via pública, o jovem que exerce o seu serviço de moto táxi vulgo kupapatas, o taxista que nos leva dos Mulenvos, Papá Simão, Bananeira, Caroango, beco da morte, do Calauenda, da Belo Monte, Maiombe, Pedreira, Vidrul, da Fubu, Mundial entre outros bairros da nossa /vossa capital Luanda onde os transportes públicos não chegam por falta de estradas em condições para chegarmos ao centro da cidade e sermos tratados em hospitais, porque o plasmódio fez de nós o seu hospedeiro… Isto não é sinónimo de retirar a autoridade do Estado é simplesmente sinónimo de ‘‘POBREZA”.
Por favor deixem a mamá zungueira em paz!

Rescue Operation
Mr. President of the Republic
Minister of the Interior

The street selling, the uncovered shops, the magazine of the young man who repairs the telephone along the public highway, the young man who carries out his taxi service, the taxi driver who takes us from the Mulenvos, Papá Simão, Bananeira, Caroango, Calauenda, Belo Monte, Maiombe, Pedreira, Vidrul, Fubu, Mundial among other neighborhoods of our capital Luanda where public transport does not arrive due to the lack of roads in good condition. This doesn’t mean lack of state authority, it is simply means POVERTY.

Luaty Beirão, rapper, and activist, was even more peremptory against the campaign of the Angolan authorities:

And @joaomelo_ao is not even a bit ashamed to be a spokesperson for this scandalous description? Rescue your own humanity first because it has long gone in your luxury.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Stories of Sri Lankans who are “Taking a Stand” for democracy

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Image via Groundviews

This post originally appeared on Groundviews, an award-winning citizen journalism website in Sri Lanka. An edited version is published below as part of a content-sharing agreement with Global Voices.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political crisis since October 26 when president Maithripala Sirisena removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. This has led to a power struggle between the newly appointed PM and the recently ousted PM who both believe in the legitimacy of their position. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Colombo to question the constitutional legitimacy of the president’s decision and demand the parliament be reconvened to settle the matter. Bowing to pressure, President Sirisena has promised to reconvene the parliament on November 7.

On November 4, 2018, a group of people gathered at the Liberty roundabout in the Kollupitiya neighborhood of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

For some, it was their fifth day of standing in protest. Following news that President Maithripala Sirisena and the United People’s Freedom Alliance had stepped down from the coalition Government, a group of citizens decided to meet at the roundabout every day, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, until Parliament was convened. On the first day, the protest coincided with a larger rally organised by Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) held nearby – but many of those who attended the rally on that day were quick to say that they were not attending to support the UNP.

On October 30, a tweet by Lisa Fuller featuring one of the posters held by a protester went viral. It read, “I’m not here for Ranil – I’m here for democracy”.

The poster appeared to encapsulate the sentiments of many of those gathered at the Liberty roundabout on October 30 and every day after.

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest. Those attending included young people who had never attended a protest before, senior citizens, activists and members of civil society. On November 4, there were participants from Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa and Kandy as well as from Colombo. For some, it was their first time at a protest. Others had seen corruption continue on for decades (the oldest participant was 92 years old). Members from the corporate sector stood shoulder-to-shoulder with activists from Jaffna and Batticaloa, who were flanked by those in the theatre community.

Corruption was a recurring topic, given revelations from UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene about sums of money being offered for Parliamentarians to switch allegiances.

On October 30 and afterward, we asked those who attended one simple question – “What made you decide to participate?”

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest.

This is what they had to say:

Diordre Moraes. Image via Groundviews

“As a mother, as a grandmother, I want to see democracy restored. I’m not against any person or any party but as a citizen of Sri Lanka. Nothing like this has ever happened before” – Diordre Moraes

Neluni Tillekeratne. Image via Gorundviews

“I feel young people should take political issues more seriously. When youth engage with politics they only look at statements from the President or Prime Minister. We don’t look at deeper issues. I’m hoping to influence young people to come.” Neluni Tillekeratne

Nadesan Suresh. Image via Groundviews

Our Malaiyaha Tamil community, those who work in tea estates, voted for President Sirisena hoping he would reform society. However, what he did sets us back 100 years.’ Nadesan Suresh, from Badulla.

Sarojini Kadirgamar. Image via Groundviews

“Though I’m 92 years old, I feel I must make a stand for democracy. Over the years I’ve seen the steady deterioration of political life. Every party has used corrupt practices for short term gains.This has to change.” Sarojini Kadirgamar

Leisha Lawrence, Mihiri de Silva, Sepali de Silva and unknown. Image via Groundviews

“I’m here for democracy. If an MP choose to jump to another party they should lose their seat in Parliament. I’m not here for any party.” Leisha Lawrence (far right)

“We vote in a particular way for who we want. That doesn’t give the President the right to do what he wants, because he doesn’t get on with a particular person.” Mihiri de Silva (second from right)

“My vote is not for sale. This is not right!” Sepali de Silva (second from left)

Kalaivani. Image via Groundviews

‘We call this a democratic country but what happened suppressed democratic means. We made history as having the first female prime minister, now we have made history again for having two prime ministers!’ Kalaivani, from Batticaloa.

Adrian Roshan Fernando. Image via Groundviews

“The decisions being made now don’t include the public opinion. They are just taking their own decisions. There is a way to do things.” Adrian Roshan Fernando.

Piyathilaka Ranaweera. Image via Groundviews

“This is not good for the country. We’re doing this for the next generation, for the future of this country.” Piyathilaka Ranaweera

Irfadha Muzammil. Image via Groundviews

“People’s votes matter. We can’t let politicians corrupt that and exploit voters.” Irfadha Muzammil

Abdul Kalam Azad. Image via Groundviews

Rather than saying “I am Prime Minister” come to Parliament now and show that you have the majority. Govern the country. Don’t waste our time!” Abdul Kalam Azad.

As evening fell, the electricity at the Liberty roundabout remained switched off. Later on, Mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake tweeted that this was “an act of sabotage”.

Undeterred, the protesters used the light of their mobile phones and continued chanting.

Image via Groundviews

Eventually, at 7 pm, the protest came to an end – to be resumed the next day, and the day after that, until Parliament reconvenes.

Image via Groundviews

You can read the full Photo essay here. You can also follow along with the protest on Twitter, and from multiple perspectives, here.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Eastern Ghouta’s displaced residents are stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Syrian civilians and fighters from the opposition getting ready to board buses during their eviction from the city of Irbeen in eastern Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus on March 25, 2018, following a deal with the Syrian regime. Photo by Abdul Munim Issa. Used with permission.

The Syrian regime evicted residents of eastern Ghouta, forcibly displaced them from their towns and villages and sent in green buses towards rural Aleppo and Idlib in northern Syria, following a 45-days military offensive that claimed the lives of 1,650 people and wounded thousands more.

The evictions took place after a deal between the opposition and the Syrian regime, allowing the Syrian regime and its allies to seize homes and whole towns, sometimes even detaining those who remained.

The displaced masses arrived in the northern region tired, broken and burdened by years of siege and unbearable memories. They had reached the end of the road — or, more accurately — they arrived at the beginning of another journey. It was the end of daily tragedy from the siege and shelling, and the beginning of the tragedy of displacement and the difficulties of starting over.

Most of the displaced populations settled in various towns throughout rural Aleppo and Idlib. Many realized they were at a crossroad, with two main routes to choose from that would determine their future.

A difficult choice

In the north, many questions swarm the minds of newly arrived populations from eastern Ghouta: “Will we be subjected again to a siege and shelling? Will we be living in worse conditions than those we’ve just survived? Shall we leave to Turkey where we know nothing?”

People are confused. They could either chose to stay in northern Syria despite the tough conditions and unclear future, or they could decide to cross the border and seek refuge in Turkish towns — either settling there or starting a journey toward Europe.

Displaced Syrians do not speak the Turkish language. They must learn it to seek employment, settle and lead a normal life. But this requires time and money that nearly all lack. Most don’t even have the money needed to pay smugglers who could transfer them to the other side of the border — that is, if they dismiss the risks of dealing with the deception and extremely dangerous risk of crossing with them.

Staying is tough

Samer, 29, married with one daughter, describes his family’s dilemma:

I don’t feel comfortable leaving Syria. I’m not comfortable staying either. I hope God avenges us from those who flipped our lives upside down and erased our future.

Mohammed, 25, cannot consider leaving to Turkey as he is the only provider for his family. Smuggling them all to Turkey would cost him thousands of dollars which he doesn’t have and so he stopped thinking about it. Living in Turkey is expensive, and as the sole breadwinner, he would not be able to provide their basic needs.

Shadi, 24, a field reporter from Ghouta, says he has to stay in Syria to serve his cause and amplify the stories of his peoples’ struggles and small achievements. He wants the world to know that people never die — even when uprooted from their homeland.

Upon arrival in northern Syria, some families decide to stay within the Syrian borders and live in any one of the northern towns.

Nazir, 26, married with one daughter, resumed his work with the Guardians of Childhood, a civil society organization he used to work for in his hometown of Douma, just two weeks after his arrival.  He wanted to stay in Syria to help displaced children without access to education, hoping he can rescue them from ignorance and destruction.

Niveen, 38, a mother of two and an activist, refuses to leave as well:

If we all leave Syria who will help the women and children left behind?

Niveen does not want to seek refuge in Turkey because she doesn’t want to be labeled a refugee. She believes she has a mission to fulfill in Syria, and as long as staying is an option, she will stay on Syrian soil, just as she did seven years ago when the conflict began. She doesn’t want to be forced to leave and waste years of her life outside Syria.

For others, the decision to stay in Syria was based on their fear of the unknown.

Nuha, 24, says that it is very difficult for her to live in Turkey where nobody understands her except through hand gestures or translation apps. She says that she prefers to stay in Syria because staying means greater chances of returning home.

Um Abdul Rahman, 49, mother of seven children, was persuaded by her children to stay because they did not want to lose their dignity living as refugees in another country.

Mahmoud, 34, married with four children, ensures that his children are attending school again. He wants them to get an education because it guarantees a good future. He wishes he could leverage his own qualifications, a bachelor in civil engineering, but this would mean going to Turkey. He could not ignore his conscience and leave his countrypeople behind, so he decided to remain in Syria, leaving refuge in Turkey as the last option, when all other hope is lost.

Ghouta’s displaced populations often convene to discuss their options. They consult their friends and family because they don’t want their children to grow up away from home; they also don’t want them to grow up in a war-torn place. They want to forget the pain and suffering and start over, but at the same time, they don’t wish to leave their country after having survived seven years of hell.

Seeking refuge beyond the border

For many, seeking refuge in Turkey or other parts of the EU is a necessary choice, having lost the ability to tolerate living in a war zone. They want to escape life-sucking sieges and live a normal life.

Moa’yad, 24, wants to hear the birds chirping again; he wants to hear music and his neighbors’ loud noises. He says he can no longer take the sound of a single bomb — not even a single gunshot.

Rahaf, 21, wants to flee the bombing, fear and futile anticipation of peace conferences that lead nowhere. She wants to escape warlords trading people’s lives. She says she cannot bear the idea of living under another potential siege now that she managed to leave Ghouta.

Moa’yad is afraid of settling up north because he is unsure of what awaits Idlib — its future could be worse than eastern Ghouta’s scenario. He wants to go to Turkey and live with his brother and work with him at a sewing factory until he learns Turkish and goes back to school.

Staying in Syria is not an option for Imad, 22, either.

He doesn’t want to live in a place where the possibility of bombing always looms — from Russians or Iranians on the one hand or the unfair rule of various factions on the other. Imad also realizes it’s impossible to finish his studies in the north because of the instability and the fact his qualifications are not recognized outside of northern Syria. For him, Turkey is the best option.

Residents of eastern Ghouta behold their vague future in fear as thousands of questions play in their heads. Yet, many fail to find a single helpful answer, since going home to eastern Ghouta is not an option — at least not yet.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Political cartoonist Badiucao abruptly cancelled his Hong Kong exhibition — and then went silent

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“Gongle,” by Badiucao, is a play on words commenting on Google’s effort to re-enter China with a censored search engine. Used with permission.

Political cartoonist Badiucao was forced to cancel his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, due to threats from the central Chinese government.

The exhibition was scheduled to open on November 3 as the headline event at Hong Kong’s Free Expression Week. On November 2, the organizers announced they were cancelling the event:

We are sorry to announce that the exhibition “Gongle,” by Chinese artist Badiucao, has been cancelled due to safety concerns.

The decision follows threats made by the Chinese authorities relating to the artist. Whilst the organisers value freedom of expression, the safety of our partners remains a major concern.

Badiucao has built his reputation on Twitter, drawing political cartoons that challenge censorship and dictatorship in China. The Chinese-Australian artist’s work has been featured by The New York Times and The Guardian.

The event was seen by many as a test of the limits of free speech in Hong Kong, which enjoys more freedoms than mainland China, under a principle known as “One Country, Two Systems.” In recent years, Beijing has more forcefully asserted its influence over Hong Kong. Those who support more democratic rights, such as genuine universal suffrage, or outright independence, have faced fierce repression.

The organizers have not described the nature of the threats that the artist received. He is typically outspoken online, but has not updated his Twitter since November 1.

Badiucao had not intended to travel to Hong Kong, but was supposed to participate in a panel discussion via video call with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, Hong Kong artists Sampson Wong and Oscar Ho, and Russian punk-rock protesters Olga Kuracheva and Veronika Nikulshina, both members of the band Pussy Riot.

Although the exhibition was cancelled, the panelists decided to proceed and hold a discussion about art and freedom of expression in a small studio. They live-streamed the event on Facebook.

Cedric Alviani, Olga Kuracheva, Veronika Nikulshina and Joshua Wong. Image from Hong Kong Free Press. Use with permission.

Chinese non-profit media the Stand News reported on the panel discussion in which Sampson Wong expressed concerns about Badiucao’s safety. He explained that he has been trying to contact the artist since November 2, but that Badiucao has been incommunicado. Wong saw the exhibition as a test case for freedom of expression in Hong Kong. He was disappointed that more people had not spoken out against the threats from Beijing.

Oscar Ho, a local art critic and scholar, was shocked by the cancellation. He pointed out that Beijing’s censorship practices in Hong Kong are unclear. There is a general expectation that Hong Kongers “should know” where the red line lies, but there are relatively few clear indications of what is and is not permissible. He expressed a desire for people to be more creative in fighting against censorship.

Joshua Wong said he wanted more exchange with international civil society, in hopes that international networks could help local groups defend democracy and freedom.

Pussy Riot member Olga Kuracheva emphasized the importance of public support and solidarity for people like Badiucao:

We are very sorry to know that things are getting worse here. I think it is very important to be here now just to express our solidarity… I would advise people not to be afraid, because one voice is not so much…but voices of solidarity should sound loud. (Quote from Hong Kong Free Press’ report)

Kuracheva and Nikulshina are among four members of Pussy Riot who served a 15-day jail sentence after protesting against Russian leader Vladimir Putin during the football World Cup final in Moscow in July 2018. They said threats to exhibitions and political art events are “common practice” in Russia.

Cedric Alviani from Reporters Without Borders pointed out that Hong Kong’s ranking on RSF’s press freedom index has dropped from 18 in 2002 to 70 in 2018. He believed that the best way to support artists under threat is to disseminate their works in spaces where it is possible to do so.

Global Voices


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Global Voices по-русски: Бразильский анимационный сериал о дрэг-квин подвергнут критике по «моральным соображениям»

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Анимационный сериал «Супер Дрэг» рассказывает историю трёх молодых парней, превращающихся по ночам в дрэг-квин.| Изображение: Netflix/ Public

[Ссылки ведут на статьи на португальском языке, если не указано иного].

В конце мая 2018 года Netflix анонсировал запуск [анг] «Супер Дрэг», первого мультсериала, созданного в Бразилии. История описывает жизнь трёх молодых парней, днём работающих в универмаге, а ночью превращающихся в супергероев — дрэг-квин [ру].

Фанаты выразили [анг] заинтересованность сериалом, но разные консервативно настроенные группы атаковали сериал фейковыми новостями касательно его содержимого. Согласно статье из интернет-издания O Estado de São Paulo, один из пользователей социальных сетей обвинил анимационный сериал в «провокации гомосексуальности среди детей» и «оправдании лесбийских и других сексуальных наклонностей».

Netflix выпускает и другие анимационные сериалы для взрослых, такие как «Конь БоДжек» [ру] и «Рик и Морти» [ру], но только сериал «Супер Дрэг» разжег такие споры.

Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество (Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria, БПС) опубликовало официальное заявление с осуждением мультфильма, «выразив обеспокоенность» тем, что «Супер Дрэг» будут доступны детской аудитории Netflix:

A SBP respeita a diversidade e defende a liberdade de expressão e artística no País, no entanto, alerta para os riscos de se utilizar uma linguagem iminentemente infantil para discutir tópicos próprios do mundo adulto, o que exige maior capacidade cognitiva e de elaboração por parte dos espectadores.

БПС уважает разнообразие и защищает свободу слова и искусства в стране, однако предупреждает о рисках использования явно детского языка в обсуждении тем, относящихся ко взрослому миру, так как это требует от зрителей использования когнитивных способностей и обработки информации в большей степени.

Федеральный прокурор также попросил Netflix не включать данный сериал в детскую категорию, ссылаясь на обязанность «защищать индивидуальные неотъемлемые права, широкие или коллективные» детей и подростков.

Однако Netflix никогда не сообщал, что этот анимационный сериал будет доступен детской аудитории. Интернет-издание O Estado do São Paulo добавило фрагмент заявления Netflix для прояснения слухов:

Super Drags é uma série de animação para uma audiência adulta e não estará disponível na plataforma infantil. A seção dedicada às crianças combinada com o recurso de controlar o acesso aos nossos títulos faz com que pais confiem em nosso serviço como um espaço seguro e apropriado para os seus filhos. As crianças podem acessar apenas o nosso catálogo infantil e colocamos o controle nas mãos dos pais sobre quando e a que tipo de conteúdo seus filhos podem assistir.

«Супер Дрэг» — это анимационный сериал для взрослой аудитории, и он не будет доступен на детской платформе. В разделе для детей имеется возможность контролировать доступ к контенту, что позволяет родителям доверять нашему сервису, делает его безопасным и подходящим местом для их детей. Детям доступен только детский раздел, при этом мы передаем контроль того, когда и к какому контенту у них есть доступ, в руки их родителей.

Netflix подчеркивает, что «вопросы разнообразия и включения подобных тем очень важны для компании». Сериал будет выпущены позже в 2018 году.

Бразильские пользователи интернета защищают новый сериал

Бразильские пользователи интернета заявляют, что к «Супер Дрэг» намеренно придрались:

Если «Супер Дрэг» — анимационный сериал для взрослых, почему же Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество так печется об этом?

Забавно, Бразильскому педиатрическому сообществу стоило бы тогда попытаться заблокировать все мультики для взрослых на Netflix, м? Но тогда почему они выбрали только «Супер Дрэг»?

Пользователь Twitter Não Me Kahlo вспомнил старые мультфильмы, никогда не подвергавшиеся цензуре:

Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество (БПС) «выражает обеспокоенность в связи с дебютом анимационного сериала, сюжет которого крутится вокруг молодых парней, превращающихся в супергероинь-дрэг-квин». Мультик «Супер Дрэг» от @NetflixBrasil, это мультик для ВЗРОСЛЫХ.

Есть вопросы?

Предубеждения против ЛГБТИ-сообщества

Предубеждения против сериала можно связать с глубоко закоренелым отношением к выражению гендера в бразильском обществе.

Хотя некоторые критики признают разницу между дрэг-культурой как шоу и более глубокими спорами о гендерной идентичности, сериал бьёт по больному месту, затрагивая национальное отношение к лесбиянкам, геям, бисексуалам, трансгендерам и интерсекс-людям (ЛГБТИ).

Бразилия — страна с одним из самых высоких уровней зарегистрированного насилия против ЛГБТИ-людей. Согласно Национальной ассоциации трасвеститов и трассексуалов Бразилии, 179 трасгендеров и людей, переодевающихся в одежду противоположного пола, были убиты в Бразилии в 2017 году.

В интервью с интернет-изданием Nexo Journal, психолог Дезире Монтейру Кордейру, работающая с Трансдисциплинарной клиникой гендерной идентичности и сексуальной ориентации, сказала, что согласна с необходимостью защищать детей от сексуальной откровенности и контента с насилием, но критика сериала больше связана с табу:

Os rapazes se transformam em drags e ganham superpoderes. O Super-Homem também põe uma fantasia para combater o crime e isso não é uma questão (…) Se ainda não se sabe nada sobre a série, por que essa retaliação? Isso é censura. Se a criança não dormir às 20h e assistir à novela, ela também vai estar exposta a sexo e violência. É um conteúdo que não é pensado para a criança.

Парни превращаются в дрэг-квин и получают суперсилы. Супермен также надевал костюм для борьбы со злом, и это не обсуждалось. Если вы до сих пор ничего не знаете о сериале, откуда такая реакция? Это цензура. Если ребенок не идет спать в 8 часов вечера и смотрит мыльную оперу, он также не будет защищен от секса и насилия. Этот контент не предназначен для детей.

Кордейру также подчеркнула важность обсуждения гендера и сексуальности с детьми в спокойной обстановке:

Falar de identidade de gênero e sexualidade, homossexuais, travestis, transexuais, nas escolas ou onde quer que seja, não significa que tem alguém ali tentando incutir na cabeça das crianças que a diversidade sexual é linda e todo mundo tem que ser também.

(…)

Não é comum, mas existem crianças transexuais. Nesse caso, os outros pais devem conversar porque, no caso de uma escola, as crianças vão questionar. E geralmente elas lidam de um modo muito mais simples. Elas olham e perguntam se é menino ou menina. Dada a resposta, a vida segue e elas vão brincar.

Обсуждение гендерной идентичности и сексуальности, гомосексуальности, переодевания, трансгендеров, в школах или где бы вы ни были, не означает, что кто-то пытается вдалбливать в головы детям, что сексуальное разнообразие — это прекрасно и что все должны быть такими.

(…)

Это редкость, но есть дети-трансгендеры. В таком случае, родители должны говорить на такие темы, потому что, находясь в школьном окружении, дети будут задавать вопросы. И, вообще, дети принимают это гораздо легче. Они смотрят, спрашивают, кто перед ними — мальчик или девочка. Получив ответ, они вместе идут играть и жизнь продолжается.

Перевод: Светлана Алембекова

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Global Voices: Apple censors sensitive words from device-engraving service in Hong Kong and China

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Image by Georgia Popplewell, used with permission.

The following post was written by Chris Cheng and published on Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) on November 2, 2018. The republication is based on a partnership agreement.

The names of some Chinese state leaders and activists have been deemed “inappropriate words” and censored from the latest versions of a device-engraving service offered for the iPad, iPod Touch and Apple Pencil, Hong Kong Free Press has found.

When customers order one of these devices from Apple’s website, the company offers to have the device engraved free of charge. However, Apple’s Chinese-language websites for stores in Hong Kong and mainland China have banned certain words from the service.

For instance, if a customer types “Xi Jinping” (the name of China’s president) in Chinese characters, the following warning appears: “Inappropriate words are not allowed.” Customers are unable to save the engraving text or proceed with the purchase.

“Xi Jinping” is not allowed in traditional and simplified Chinese characters on Apple’s mainland China store. Photo: HKFP.

Tests by HKFP showed that the issue is location and language-specific. “Xi Jinping” is still permissible in English when entered into the English-language Hong Kong website.

If one tries to “Xi Jinping” in Cyrillic, however, on either the Chinese or English-language Hong Kong stores, the website returns the message: “These characters cannot be engraved”. However, the mainland China store accepts the name in Cyrillic.

“Xi Dada,” a common nickname for Xi, is banned in traditional Chinese characters in both the Chinese-language Hong Kong and China stores, but it is permitted in simplified Chinese.

‘Sensitive’ names and phrases banned

The Chinese-language sites for Hong Kong and mainland China stores also ban the names of other current and former Chinese state leaders in Chinese characters. These include Li Keqiang, Liu He, Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong, and Hu Jintao. But names of many other current and former Politburo members are allowed, such as Yang Jiechi and Wen Jiabao.

The names of some — but not all — of the state’s most prominent critics are banned too. The name of late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is accepted, but the name of his wife, the prominent poet Liu Xia, is banned. “Falun Gong” is also banned.

“Guo Wengui,” a Chinese billionaire in self-imposed exile who often attacks top state leaders, is not allowed in simplified Chinese characters. But if a customer requests that “Guo Wengui” be engraved using traditional Chinese characters, it will be accepted.

At the mainland China store, the full version of the phrase “Taiwan independence” – comprising the four characters 台灣獨立 – is banned in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. But the shorthand version of “Taiwan independence” – comprising the two characters 台獨 – is allowed in both forms of the language.

“Hong Kong independence” is allowed in all forms on the store website, but the phrase “one-party dictatorship” is banned on the Chinese language local site.

Profanities prohibited

The word “fuck” and Chinese equivalents such as 操 and 屌, are also banned. As a result, words containing those Chinese characters are banned too, such as the name of ancient Chinese warlord “Cao Cao” (曹操) and the word “gymnastics” (體操).

Another Chinese character – 幹 – meaning “fuck” is allowed. But if customers use the character to create profanities, the word is banned. Other profanities such as “shit” and “piss” are also banned.

Wong Ho-wa, a software engineer, told HKFP that the results showed that censorship was taking place, but “it seems broken.”

“I suspect it was done by artificial intelligence,” he said. “I believe the original intention was to prevent words with negative sentiment or obscene words from being engraved, but Apple did not realise that some politically sensitive words – which are not negative – were not allowed as well.”

Reflecting on the inconsistency in prohibited words and phrases between the different languages and sites, Wong suggested that it was unlikely the banned keywords were manually entered as a list: “Otherwise, we’re unable to explain why Taiwan independence in the short form was allowed, but Taiwan independence in the full form was not allowed,” he said.

HKFP has reached out to Apple for comment.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Suicide attack against Russia’s domestic intelligence agency spells more trouble for activists

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Anti-torture and police brutality rally in Moscow, June 10, 2018. Banner says: “Fight every day! Against persecution, repression and trumped-up charges!” // DonSimon, Wikimedia under CC0

On October 31st, a seventeen-year-old suicide bomber set off an explosive in the FSB (the Federal Security Service, Russia’s primary domestic intelligence agency) building in Arkhangelsk, Russia — killing themselves and injuring three more. The act was allegedly in reaction to the existing persecution of leftist activists by the government, and has led many to fear fierce repercussions for left-wing groups in the country.  

Just minutes earlier, a message appeared in a Telegram chat channel for Russian anarchists. It read “Comrades, the FSB building in Arkhangelsk is about to be hit by a terrorist attack, which I will claim responsibility for. The reasons are perfectly clear to you all. Since the FSB has crossed the f***g line, fabricating cases and torturing people, I’ve decided to go for it…I wish you all a glorious anarcho-communist future!”

Two days later, an even younger teenager was arrested in Moscow after an improvised explosive device was discovered in his apartment. Police allege that this suspect had previously been in contact with the Arkhangelsk bomber. If the Telegram message (allegedly from the bomber) is to be believed, the FSB’s actions motivated the two teenagers to extremist action.

For just over a year, the FSB has been arresting anarchist and antifascist activists as part of the “Network” case. According to the FSB, the suspects are part of a terror group known as “The Network”, with cells all over the country planning to carry out terrorist attacks, including during the World Cup.

Those arrested, however, paint a different picture, one of coerced confessions and torture ranging from suffocation by plastic bag and being beaten with tasers and stun batons. They believe they are being singled out for their leftist views and are being charged under fabricated pretenses. Other left-wing activists have also reported increased government scrutiny as the Network case continued to grow.

The FSB hasn’t limited these tactics to explicitly left-wing circles either. Around the same time that the Network case was taking off, the FSB alleges that it discovered and disbanded another underground extremist group called “New Greatness”. They claim that New Greatness sought to violently overthrow the Russian government, pointing to oppositional literature found at the suspects’ homes and chat logs obtained from Telegram. The so-called movement originated on Telegram, where the suspects, mostly teenagers, met to discuss their oppositional political views.

The suspects claim that this was merely a social group that attended other political rallies and actions. Some reports suggest that the FSB created the group in the hopes of luring and entrapping Russians with views contrary to the current Russian government.

With both these cases being publicized at the same time, public outcry grew. The parents of those arrested in the “New Greatness” case organized a march in Moscow, and spontaneous rallies and pickets in support of “Network” and “New Greatness” defendants have been ongoing. It would seem that this increased uptick in publicity and outrage may have pushed the two anarchists in Arkhangelsk and Moscow into taking more serious action: planning and carrying out bombings.

Russian leftists are split over this tactic, but most are in agreement that this could set off another round of repression. Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of Left Front, a leftist organization with close ties to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, tweeted:

A 17-year-old technical school student who considered himself an anarchist blew himself up today at the FSB’s Arkhangelsk regional office. Now the authorities have wonderful grounds for starting new persecutions and increasing scrutiny of oppositionists. It looks like a planned-out setup…

Left Block, a small leftist group oriented towards direct street action, also doubted the veracity of the claims that the Arkhangelsk bomber was indeed an anarchist. In a post on VKontakte, the most popular Russian social network, the group continued by denouncing the use of terror, citing a long tradition of left-wing terrorism and its questionable efficacy.  As for the potential repercussions, the group took a more “optimistic” approach, saying:

Мы уже живем в мире, где пытки и репрессии стали обыденным делом, где могут посадить за лайк, а сотрудники ФСИН могут творить полный ад в отношении заключенных. И им за это ничего не будет.

“Какие еще “репрессии” вам, блять, нужны?

We live in a word where torture and repression have become an everyday occurrence, where you can go to jail for a like, where federal jailers can create total hell for prisoners. And nothing will happen to them because of this. What more f***g “repression” do you need?

This optimism may be short-lived. Shortly after the Arkhangelsk bomber was allegedly identified, a journalist reached out to someone on social media under the same name. The police immediately set out to question him. Though the journalist was once involved in the antifascist movement in the Arkhangelsk region, he stressed that he hasn’t been back there in years, and only wrote to the suspect to verify if he had found the correct profile. Around the same time, a socialist in the city of Perm received a phone call from the FSB, saying they needed to speak with her about the Arkhangelsk bombing. She rejected their invitation:

Я к ним не поеду. У меня глубокий вечер, и я имею право на отдых. Они ко мне приедут. Надеюсь, что они ограничатся тем, что сообщат, что мне не надо взрывать пермское ФСБ. Но я как-то и не собиралась.

I’m not going to them. It’s very late in the evening where I am now, and I have the right to relax. They’ll come to me. I hope they’ll just tell me I don’t have to blow up the Perm FSB office. I wasn’t planning on it anyway.

A similar situation played out with a member of “The Other Russia” (a conservative party of self-proclaimed socialists with an emphasis on ethnic Russian nationalism and nostalgic imperialism), who reported being called by an investigator who wanted to know his views on what happened in Arkhangelsk. In another event seemingly unrelated to the bombing, an activist in Tver was approached by an FSB officer. The activist claims the officer suddenly got into his car and suggested they start cooperating. After refusing, the officer threatened to charge him for participating in the unfurling of a banner that read “Take the FSB to court.”

Leftist chat groups on Telegram are still abuzz with news of the attack. These chat groups are fully open to the public; one doesn’t even need to formally join to be able to read discussions. Several members reminded others to operate on the assumption that the police were already in the chat.

Some lauded the bomber’s efforts. Pictures were uploaded honoring him. Other users called for more extreme action. A few trolls popped up sporadically expressing their wish to see everyone there behind bars. Even non-leftist chat groups are on notice, as several participants of libertarian chats reported being questioned by police after the bombing.  

Regardless of whether or not this will reignite sweeping arrests as with the Network and New Greatness Cases, Russian activists of all stripes should be wary of posting potentially incriminating material online, and be vigilant about being associated with the terror attack.

Already, prominent TV host Vladimir Soloviev, known for his pro-Putin views, blasted opposition journalists and politicians, casting the blame for the attack on them, saying “They aren’t people, they’re rats.” The fact that these journalists, not anarchists or socialists by any means, are being unfairly slandered and associated with the attack could indicate that the prevailing mood will soon mean more persecution for any opposition figures and activists.

Global Voices


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