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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.

A Plea to Pope Francis to Take Action Against African Dictators

Abdoulaye Bah, Global Voices contributor and author of the  Konakry Express blog has launched a petition to ask Pope Francis to take action against African dictators. Bah, who previously wrote about his admiration for some of the Pope's political stance, denounces the credit granted by the Papacy to five African leaders by officially receiving them at Vatican City. The petition asked for the same punishment for the dictators as what was recently bestowed on members of the Mafia when Pope Francis visited Calabria.

Your Holiness recently received President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, President Paul Biya of Cameroon, and President Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo. These five presidents broke world records for longevity in power. To do this, they have built oligarchies which pillage resources, kill innocents, rape women, torture opponents and defenders of human rights. These oligarchies also corrupt institutions, pervert their people wishes during rigged elections, and divide populations by sowing hate and provoking uprising..

Trinidad & Tobago: Give Suarez a Menu

It is irrefutable now. Uruguay and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez either needs a psychologist or a new dietician. Thank heavens Uruguay was not playing Chile.

Wired868 sinks its teeth into a post about the behaviour of the Uruguayan footballer after he bit an opposing player in his team's World Cup match against Italy.

European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

Website: For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.

The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative – a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:

Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.

A short video presents the campaign:

Italians Called to Film Their ‘Life in a Day’

Renowned Italian director Gabriele Salvatores is inviting Italians (and people living in Italy) to produce short videos about their daily life that will be edited together into a feature length film called “Italy in a Day” [it] to be released at the end of 2014. Videos can be submitted until November 17.

Salvatores is following the example of a similar, successful project from 2010 called “Life in a Day” produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Here is the official trailer for Italy in a Day:

Is Italy Ready for an African-born Minister?

“Is Italy ready for an African-born government minister?,” Donata Columbro asks:

Two months after the recent elections, Italy has a new government. And Cécile Kyenge, 48 years old, an eye surgeon and Congo-born Italian citizen, is the new Minister for Integration in the cabinet of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

Tactical Tech's Info-Activism Camp: Apply!

Tactical Tech Info-Activism Camp

Tactical Tech's 2013 Info Activism Camp in northern Italy (23-30 June) will explore how digital technologies, data and visuals can be used to influence society. Only 80 spots available, apply before April 15.

The State of Torture in the World in 2013

On January 23, 2013, an excerpt from the annual report of l'ACAT-France, A World of Torture 2013, makes a fresh assessment of the state of torture in the world [fr]:

“A report called A World of Torture in 2013, assesses torture practices that continue to be alarming, from Pakistan to Italy, by way of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Bolivia. From authoritarian regimes to democratic countries, none are exempt from criticism on the topic. In 2013, torture remains as endemic, omnipresent and multi-faceted as ever”.

Italy: Staying in Venetian Monasteries

Olia and Claude Barrère, two French expatriates in Venice, Italy, write on their blog, “Olia i Klod” [fr]:

Today, as in the past, monasteries offer the possibility of accommodation. They are places of peace, places rich in culture, very well managed, and offer moments of serenity. In Venice, many of these timeless places offer lodging, of high historical and artistic value.

Italy: Clandestines in prisons without dignity

Explaining why 35,6% out of the prison population is constituted of immigrants, according to  “Without Dignity” : The Observatory report [it] of the Antigone association, the website writes [it]:

The presence of foreigners in Italian prisons is mostly due to recent charges in immigration laws, that effected greater flows within the prison system; so much that one of the proposals for improving the inmates conditions in particular related to overcrowding as indicated by the monitoring report requires a need for ‘drastic intervention on three of the laws that produce –  without any benefits for collective security –  the largest influx in prison: the ex-Cirielli law, the Fini-Giovanardi law and the Bossi-Fini law.

App Created by Global Voices Contributor Selected to be Developed Online

Lawyer, blogger, digital activist, dreamer and Global Voices Paraguayan Global Voices contributor Gabriela Galilea, was selected by Techpeaks program from European organization Trento Rise, a startup promoter, to develope her online game platform Mr. Patch:

[un] videojuego para tabletas, smartphones, televisores inteligentes y web (PC), que ejercita los músculos de los ojos encargados de realizar los movimientos. El objetivo es ayudar a las personas que tienen deficiencias en la visión.

(a) videogame for tablets, smartphones, smart TV and web (PC), that exercises the eye muscles in charge of the movements. The gola is to help people with impaired eyesight.

Gabriela has been receiving support on Twitter:

Did you know a Paraguayan lady has created a videogame that helps people with eyesight problems?

Gabriela Galilea represents Paraguay in Italy with her videogame for ophtalmology health.

The Demo Day will be held on July 18 in Trento, Italy, where Gabriela will present her app.

Italian Footballer Giorgio Chiellini's Praiseworthy Words After Being Bitten


Giorgio Chiellini, image on Flickr by user calciostreaming. CC BY 2.0.

Italian centre back Giorgio Chiellini, bitten by Uruguayan forward Luis Suárez during the match between Italy and Uruguay national teams of the group phase of the World Cup in Brazil, sent Suárez a conciliatory message via his official website:

Dentro di me ora non ci sono sentimenti di gioia, di vendetta o di rabbia contro Suarez per un incidente che è accaduto in campo ed è finito lì. Rimangono solo la rabbia e delusione per la partita persa.

Al momento il mio unico pensiero è per Luis e la sua famiglia, perché si troveranno ad affrontare un periodo molto difficile.

Now inside me there's no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suárez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that's done. There only remains the anger and the disappointment about the match.

At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.

Why Learning Italian Still Makes Sense

"L'Italiano...non serve a niente?", from Alma Edizioni's contest page.

“L'Italiano…non serve a niente?”, from Alma Edizioni's contest page.

As Italian publishing company Alma Edizioni was busy organizing an event about the Italian language in Rome, they received an unexpected letter [it] from someone who defined himself as a “disappointed student”:

Why? What's the point of studying Italian today? […] No one wants to study a language that no longer has a place in the world, the language of a country that keeps getting worse day by day. […] For years I've studied Italian which today, however, is neither a language of culture, nor of work opportunities.

In order to respond to such poignant questions, Alma Edizioni decided to let students from around the world give their opinion through a contest, which could be followed through the hashtag #litalianononserveaniente (the Italian language is useless).

Participants were invited to produce a one-minute video clip to explain why studying the language of the ‘boot of Europe’ in 2014 is still worth it. More than 80 groups of students took part in the contest, according to the company's YouTube channel.

Taiwan: Virgin Mary With an Aboriginal Face Tattoo

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with golden facial tattoo based on the Atayal people's tradition. Photo taken by Octopus (章魚)

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with facial tattoo based on the Atayal people's tradition. Photo taken by Octopus (章魚). Non-commercial use.

An Atayal woman with the traditional facial tattoo held her granddaughter. Photo taken by atonny.

An Atayal woman with the traditional facial tattoo held her granddaughter. Photo taken by atonny.Non-commercial use.

When Italian Catholic Father Alberto Papa came to Taiwan in 1963, he learned that face tattoo is an important culture for many aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. For example, in Atayal culture, only respectable person would have face tattoo. To deliver the idea that Virgin Mary is a holy figure, the father decided to add a golden face tattoo on the statue of Virgin Mary in his church.

More photos showing Taiwan aboriginal women with face tattoo can be found here.

Potraits in Black: Africans in Italy

Portraits in Black is a work of three photographers – Marco Ambrosi, Matteo Danesin and Aldo Sodoma – the Centre for Immigration Studies in Verona, the Cities of Verona and Padua, the Padua University Sociology Department showing Africans in Italy.

Italy: Art Historians Rally in L'Aquila

Four years after the devastating earthquake that hit L’ Aquila, in Abruzzo, Italy, little or nothing has been rebuilt and the picturesque old town remains largely uninhabited, while many residents live in much debated [it] new towns. On May 5, 2013 almost a thousand art historians rallied together [it] in the historical center of L'Aquila to draw political attention. Despite some intervention made by the Monti government, a much bigger effort is needed to jump-start the reconstruction. The Italian comics activist Gianluca Costantini summarized the issue through the series of pictures “Yes we camp“.

"Yes we camp", Gianluca Costantini's Political Comics project under CC 3.0 License

“Yes we camp”, Gianluca Costantini's Political Comics project under CC 3.0 License

‘Tribewanted’ Creates, Connects Eco-Villages

Renewable energy, permaculture and green building, along with local traditions and eco-tourism: welcome to Tribewanted – an online community launched in 2006 based on the idea of “global citizenship” and harnessing the energy of social media to meaningfully connect and practice positive behavior change. Thanks to crowdfunding strategies, the project plans to build 10 eco-villages around the world: after Vorovoro (Fiji Islands) and John Obey (Sierra Leone), a new village just launched in Monestevole [it], in Umbria, the heart of Italy. Connect with Tribewanted people via web, Facebook or Vimeo.

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.

Italy: Governement and Immigration – plenty of words, less action

According to Stefano Femminis ( [it]), the current Monti government has shown more talk than actual action in regard to immigration, and the followings are emphasised [it]:

The situation remains the same as an year ago: expensive and unnecessary “human dumps” that in fact function as prisons for people that have committed no crime except for not having documents. The citizenship law persists on deeming as immigrants hundreds of thousands of people that have never immigrated from anywhere else: those are the 705 thousand children born and breed in Italy from foreign parents, companions in playing and learning to other children, not being any different from them if not for their rights.

Manufacturing a Car in Open Source and Modular Design

I don’t know whether we will need gasoline, electric or hydrogen cars tomorrow. I don’t have to know, because I designed my car so that I can change the motor in about the same time that it takes to change a tire.

Joe Justice, founder and Team Lead of Wikispeed, explains on Ouishare how the Wikispeed team worked to build a 100 mile per gallon car in three months coordinating via free tools such as Skype, Dropbox or Google Docs. Wikispeed recently presented workshops in Rome, Barcelona and Paris.

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