Taliban Shoots Pakistani Schoolgirl, Advocate of Education for Girls

Taliban Shoots Pakistani Schoolgirl, Advocate of Education for Girls

When she was only 11 years old, Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned Taliban fighters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education. She wanted to become a doctor, she said, and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation.

On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus filled with terrified schoolchildren and shooting her in the head. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but on Wednesday a neurologist said Ms. Yousafzai was in critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, though doctors had been able to remove a bullet. Arrangements have been made to send Ms. Yousafzai abroad for treatment, but she could not be moved for now. The two other wounded girls were reported to be in stable condition.

A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone Tuesday that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” Mr. Ehsan added that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.” That Ms. Yousafzai’s voice could be deemed a threat to the Taliban, that they could see the young schoolgirl’s death as desirable and justifiable, is being seen as evidence of both the militants’ brutality and her courage.

Ms. Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban swept through Swat, a picturesque valley once famed for its music, tolerance and honeymoon destinations. Her father ran one of the last schools to defy Taliban orders to end female education. As an 11-year-old, Malala wrote an anonymous blog documenting her experiences for the BBC. Later, she was the focus of documentaries by The New York Times and other media outlets. “I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban,” she wrote in one blog post titled “I Am Afraid.”

A government reward of more than $100,000 has been announced by the provincial information minister for information leading to the arrest of Malala’s attackers. “Whoever has done it is not a human and does not have a human soul,” he said. Across the rest of the country, Pakistanis reacted with outrage to the attack on Malala, whose eloquent and determined advocacy of education for girls had made her a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.

Read more about young Malala Yousafzai in The New York Times here.

Documentary About Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Girl Shot by the Taliban: Class Dismissed

Shot by the Taliban, Young Malala Yousafzai Struggles for Life

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Williamsburg Hair Man: “Gawker” Exposed as a Vile, Venomous Pit

Williamsburg Hair Man: “Gawker” Exposed as a Vile, Venomous Pit

Williamsburg Hair Man is a three-minute short film by Zach Timm and Matt Rivera, which on one level deals with how Chris Lancaster managed to grapple with his unwelcome notoriety, suddenly thrust upon him by coverage in the slimy New York City gossip blog, Gawker.  On a perhaps deeper level, the film is an example of the vile nature of Gawker’s narcissistic staff writers and commenters, who fashion themselves as modern counter-cultural activists.  But in fact they’re just a bottomless bucket of filth, who spend most of their time finding great satisfaction in degrading celebrities and politicians, and also taking immense pleasure in extending their painfully humiliating pronouncements to unsuspecting city residents, such as Brooklyn’s Mr. Lancaster.  And when finished with that, Gawker’s poseur writers fall back upon their compulsively gay fascinations with penises and then relaxations for the night with doobies, some blow and many drinks.

The Williamsburg Hair: A Sobering Look at Gawker Snarks

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Iran’s Nation of Bloggers: A Means of Revolution

Iran’s Nation of Bloggers: A Means of Revolution

Political dissent in Iran in the aftermath of last week’s national election has spread not only to the streets of Tehran, but also online, where protesters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and election observers have battled to get news out of the country for three days. Cellphone service was restored on Sunday after it had been down since Saturday, but Iranians could still not send text messages. Government filters have also cracked down on opposition party websites and social networking websites. Satellite internet connections have also been disrupted.

Foreign media outlets have found themselves coming under attack as they attempt to report on the protests ever since the official announcement that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a resounding victory in Friday’s poll. However, the government’s crackdown hasn’t prevented Iran’s young bloggers and activists from reporting by using proxy servers to get around the censors in a game of cat and mouse. Iran’s youthful and Web-savvy population has proven adept at using Twitter, blogs, mobile phones and social networks to spread the word about the post-election discord. Technology has proven to be extremely important in bypassing the government’s attempts to crackdown on dissent.

Millions of young bloggers are challenging the conservative government of Iran, at great personal risk. Iran: A Nation of Bloggers is an “infographic” video from the Vancouver Film School that powerfully tells this story in just 2 minutes. It explores how the digital world allows many Iranians access to ideas and freedom of expression they haven’t had for close to thirty years. Iran: A Nation of Bloggers is a visual essay that illustrates how blogging is a major cultural outlet for thousands of Iranians, despite it being a sometimes dangerous practice. Blogging is, in essence, a means of revolution.

Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

Reporters Without Borders: For Press Freedom Here.

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Two Too Sad Doggy Bloggers

Two Too Sad Doggy Bloggers

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Dogged Fameball Ego-Blobber Julia Allison Airs on Most Obscure TV Channel Ever!

Dogged Fameball Ego-Blobber Julia Allison Airs on Most Obscure TV Channel Ever!

Gawker reports that the never-ending ego-blobber Julia Allison has just informed them of some amazing, breaking world news: Her videoblog, TMIweekly, has been picked up by NBC’s New York Nonstop. Now, this turns out to be highly appropriate, because New York Nonstop is certainly as close as it gets to the edge of internet obscurity, while still letting one claim to be on television. This makes it quite a suitable perch for the vapid, irrelevant musings of Allison, an inappropriately well-known dating columnist for Time Out New York, and her two cohorts, Silicon Valley heiress Meghan Asha Parikh and vapid handbag designer Mary Rambin. The episodes of TMIweekly, Allison’s videoblog, have featured the goofy trio blathering on and on about totally uninteresting aspects of their lives (just imagine very bad Twittering, only videotaped).

It’s all part of their faux-business called NonSociety. Allison recently reported that NonSociety had taken in revenues of $60,000 during all of 2008. Calculating with an advanced business metric known as earnings before expenses, that would give NonSociety’s three pseudo-socialite Foundresses a living-level that’s just slightly above minimum wage. Now, whatever NBC is paying Allison for her 24×7 filler, it’s certainly too much, as NBC’s own officials seem to realize! Meredith McGinn, Senior Manager of Special Products for NBC4, explained to the New York Daily News: “You’ll get your meat, your news, weather and headlines-every 15 minutes. In between those 15 minutes, you may have a two-minute segment, a two-minute pod, a five-minute pod. So the shows we’re looking at are in little bits, not your traditional half-hour newscasts.”

So the news is the meat, which makes TMIweekly what, exactly? Shredded lettuce? Mayo? Anything, surely, except relish. So rather than force-feed you to watch even one awful episode of Julia Allison’s TMIweekly, here’s Gawker videographer Richard Blakeley’s much funnier parody-spoof, Welcome to NomSociety:

Julia Allison and Cohorts: Welcome To NomSociety

Thanks to Gawker.

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Inspiration: Vanquishing the Patron Demon of the Blank Page

Inspiration: Vanquishing the Patron Demon of the Blank Page

Inspiration is an animated short film that was produced and animated by Carlos Lascano. This artistically unusual film is about…well, I know you must know…because I don’t know quite what to write here about it, uh, let’s see. I can’t think of what the exact words could be…oh well, they’re right on the tip of my tongue. Oh yes…it’s about…Writer’s Block! Yes, it’s about Writer’s Block, the Patron Saint of the Blank Page.

Inspiration is an animation that was produced without the use of a video camera. The film was composed entirely from a number of still photographs. The photo shots were then split into layers; then pieces were drawn and pasted like a collage or patchwork composition, with 3-D effects added later.

Inspiration: Vanquishing the Patron Demon of the Blank Page

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Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

Empathy, Mutual Recognition and Feelings of Love

I truly hope that readers won’t mind my writing this message that attempts to convey some sense of tranquility. One of the most wonderful opportunities made available and nurtured by writing on the internet is that there arise moments of inspiration which can beget an artistic container enclosing, and a liminal space that relates to, differing personal and public interests with a variety of perspectives. In my case, the art of blogging or writing on the internet evolved or transmuted into a focus upon creative blog composition. My earlier compositions were somewhat lengthy expressions of my understandings of and perspectives on contemporary psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, art, photography, diversity (including the rights of persons in the GLBTTQSA community and other ethnic/minority groups), politics, multimedia and music.

My current blog compositions tend to be short and condensed, but which at the same time embrace several layers of meaning. For example, this composition simply consists of a photograph, this descriptive and interpretive introductory text and a 60-second short-film. A later post might consist of just a single thoughtfully chosen photograph. Regarding this particular composition, in the midst of our current climate of heatedly divisive national political discourse, worrisome economic stressors, environmental and energy concerns and ongoing involvements in international crises, I thought that it might be helpful to offer readers a small oasis, a few moments of thoughtful calm and, perhaps, serenity.

Empathy is a one-minute short film that was a Regional Winner in the 2008 British Academy Film Awards. It is a film of elegant simplicity, which demonstrates how people of different generations can briefly be united by even small gestures of empathic mutual recognition. Empathy reveals how even very young children are capable of showing their passions from an early age. In this short film, the brilliant young actor is able to convey a deeply touching sense of truly heartfelt empathic compassion from which many of today’s adults could well learn.

Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

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