Movements Monday [Updated 14 January]
Welcome to Movements Monday, a roundup of a few recent stories and resources about activism, free expression, and the Internet.
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (@aliaaelmahdy) is an Egyptian known for her activism in support of women’s rights and free expression and against religious rule. A previous action involved posting a nude photo of herself online, generating a great deal of discussion about liberalism in post-Mubarak Egypt. She was back with a similar protest last month, this time with the well known Ukrainian group Femen (@FEMEN_Movement). With women’s rights and religious freedom being increasingly discussed and threatened in many parts of the world, Aliaa, Femen, and many others continue to force important conversations with their innovative and challenging activism. Egyptian bloggers responded in support:
ألا يخجل مدعى العلمانية الذين يهاجمون علياء بحجة أن عريها سيؤثر على نتيجة الإستفتاء؟؟ الحرية لا تتجزأ إما أن تدعموها أو تكفروا بها .— Kareem Amer (@KareemAmer) December 20, 2012
علياء المهدي بذلت من اجل بلدها ما لا تجرؤ مصرية أخرى على بذله. تكرهونها لانها تجعل تضحياتكم تبدو صغيرة. احترامي @aliaaelmahdy
— Maikel Nabil Sanad (@maikelnabil) December 20, 2012
[UPDATE 14 January]: Media outlets are reporting that the Egyptian government is investigating Aliaa's demonstration, perhaps focusing on websites who posted video of the event, though the demostration itself happened outside the Egyptian embassy in Stockholm. The charges being investigated are reportedly "blasphemy and damaging the country’s reputation".
Activists and citizens in the Gulf continue to face retribution for their online activity. In Bahrain, the director of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights, Said Yousif Almuhafda (@SAIDYOUSIF), was arrested for using Twitter to relay news of protests. His initial detention has been extended, and he is up for another review on 9 Jan. In Kuwait, a young activist was sentenced to two years in prison on 6 Jan, and another on 7 Jan, both for tweeting messages that were deemed insulting to the emir. And in Saudi Arabia, well known writer and activist Turki al-Hamad (@TurkiHalhamad1) was arrested for tweets about Islam and extremists.
Also in Saudi Arabia, a Christmas gathering was raided, with some of the revelers being arrested.
Dozens of journalists in China turned out for a demonstration today, 8 Jan, outside of a newspaper’s headquarters to protest an editorial they claim was censored and rewritten. The piece originally called for some sort of political reform, but it ended up as an editorial favorable to the Communist Party.
Last week, Salon.com published an in-depth piece on the smuggling of goods into North Korea. There has long been a fruitful market and a robust network of smugglers, but now one good is becoming more scarce—South Korean soap operas. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has turned his eye towards stemming the tide of such videos.
Finally, check out this cool infographic about social media in Saudi Arabia.