Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

I’d heard late last week that Wael Abbas’ shut-down YouTube account had been reactivated. Apparently, according to Wael, that’s all that has been done – as opposed to “restored”, as they claim in their statement. Everything on the account has, it seems, disappeared. If that’s the case, then what a lame, meaningless, empty, face-saving gesture!

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HR Info has issued a report [look here; press release], that i havent really read, on the use of human rights in online arabic media. The claim to use qualitative and quantitative analysis of 8 outlets over the year 2006. The report is supposed to also include a section on the links between HR organizations and the media. Seems like it’s worth a look if you have the time.

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Mahalla Strike Falsehoods

I received this update from journalist Jano Charbel on the Mahalla textile strikes. Apparently there are falsehoods in the Reuters and government lines.

A Reply to the Blatant Falsehoods Announced by the Labor Ministry, the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, and their Sensationalist Mouthpieces

Officials from the Labor Ministry and the state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation have recently been announcing blatantly false statements regarding the nature of the strike being conducted by 26,000 workers at Egypt’s largest company – the Mahalla Textile Company.

The Labor Ministry and the ETUF have made bizarre assertions to the effect that the strike has been instigated and organized by opposition parties together with outlawed religious groupings – and even foreign powers; and that the strikers are threatening to destroy company property.

The truth is that such assertions are fabricated propaganda meant to be used against the highly exploited workers at Al Mahalla – for an untold number of workers at the Company are in fact members of the ruling National Democratic Party, while the overwhelming majority do not belong to any political or religious currents.

While visiting the Mahalla Company on Friday, I met a worker named Mohammad El Gohari Shaaban who denounced the statements made by the Ministry of Labor and the ETUF. Shaaban took out his NDP membership card and shouted “Opposition parties have nothing to do with this strike. I am a member of the National Democratic Party, I am for the NDP but I am also for this strike which is organized solely by the Mahalla workers.” Indeed the Mahalla workers take pride in the fact that their strike is independently organized – by the workers for the workers.

Other perverted and distorted assertions have been announced in official statements from the aforementioned NDP-dominated institutions and have been echoed in the state-owned media, and also by an independent wire agency. A couple of days ago the Reuters Arabic Service in Egypt ran a shocking wire report which was full of inaccuracies and intentional fallacies.

Echoing the fallacies of these institutions the Reuters report quoted an agent/”witness” who claimed that the workers at Mahalla are prepared to burn down their textile company if security forces attempt to put down their strike by force. This allegation was vehemently denied en masse by the workers.

“Absolutely not!” exclaimed a group of female workers. “Would we burn down our source of employment?” Others shouted “How would we earn our means of existence, how would we feed ourselves and our children if we destroy our place of employment?”

Further proving that the workers have no intention of destroying anything in their company – strikers have shown numerous visiting journalists (including myself) how they, despite of the strike, are safely storing and preserving the textiles which they had previously produced. Clearly visible around the company are numerous vigilant workers guarding their work stations – lest any infiltrators/saboteurs attempt to destroy any machinery or textiles.

Another more alarming assertion made by this “witness” quoted in the Reuters article was that the workers have brought their children to the strike – so as to “use them as human shields.”

Workers at Al Mahalla were outraged by this absurd assertion. Angry mothers screamed “These are lies!” A female worker at the strike (who wished to remain anonymous) declared – as any sane parent would – “This is unbelievable, I would never sacrifice my child for a strike or for any other end or purpose.”

Another (anonymous) mother at the strike screamed “Who in their sane mind would believe such lies?” She added “my children are here with me because I sleep-in here at the company. We break our Ramadan fasting here with our families; plus the company’s kindergarten, where I send my daughter during the day, has been shut down since the commencement of this strike.”

Indeed this “witness” quoted in the Reuters report seems to point to the possibility that that the storming of the company (resulting in the injury or death of workers and their children) and/or its sabotage by infiltrators may well be in the planning.


Reuters Arabic report after the jump



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veil accolade


umm.. err.. uhhh.. umm.. sigh..


It’s a recent music video called: “You’ve taken on the veil; bravo!”

Do i have to elaborate? i’m sorry, am at a loss.

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Here‘s Fisk’s article on the events is Lebanon. It’s nothing special but it illustrates something i’ve been complaining about.

Let me take a step back for a second. But first, i would like to assert that like just about every other commentator, i am extremely qualified to spew bullshit about Lebanon. Anyway, on Monday, when I started to look into the whole affair, two “facts” emerged: a link to Syria; and link to al-Qaeda, specifically Zarqawi. Puzzled by the incongruity, it wasnt long before i found out (from the Reuters Factbox) that this purported link seems to be little other than the leader of the group (Abssi) receiving a similar in absentia sentence for the same crime (assassinating a US diplomat in 2002) in Jordan. But a quick look through the Sunday and Monday media shows at least consensus on the existence of a “link” if not on the degree.

Back to Fisk. I like the fact that the article highlights something i feel is often forgotten: Though the theory has yet to be proven, in Lebanon of all places i doubt there are even six degrees of separation, especially if they are links of violence. The media needs to be more careful (or have a little more integrity –  hah!) when covering things they just dont understand.

And ultimately I really hope the ceasefire holds and the Lebanese (and Palestinian refugees) dont let it spiral out of control. Gaza is enough stress.

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Apparently the DoD just blocked access to MySpace and YouTube for “bandwidth” reasons. I’m not so sure it’d be crossing that fine line between skepticism and conspiracy theory to say: “My ass it’s for bandwidth!”

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