Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 6: How do you keep a social movement alive?

On day 6, I'm going off-the-game script because I found an inspiring video, "how do you keep a social movement alive: why we can't wait " on this website: Document the Violence, which has organized many campaigns in usa and elsewhere to encourage women of color and their allies wear red in april and october to protest violence against women. Most recently, they sponsored the "Be bold, be red goes viral loco visual campaign" . This website includes many resources, including the free downloadable "Rape Documentary Study Guide. and essays, photos, links, and other visuals.

Maybe next year, the Take Back The Tech and 16 Days campaigns can also go glocal and wearing-going viral loco visual red.....

and good luck to all the gaming women geeks.....and programmers....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 5: Offline activism | Uncensor your phonebooth-tags-website

On Day 5, we are supposed to take back the content of our sites and links through assorted snippets, business cards in phone boooths (the latter rarely exist any more...more like phone shops where you can pay to make a mobile call--and cyber cafes that are unsecure for women).

I've done another tag cloud from a post last December on International Day Against Violence Against Sex workers this post has had many readers, mostly due to the tag words and less so on the content and message of violence against sex workers. I've had similar results when I mentioned sex workers' struggles post Sidr cyclone and the failure of relief agencies to give supplies, protection, and relief.

So I am reasserting my own tags, especially those that attract the attention of men looking for certain girls and maybe even a few ISP links and computer users from Qatar and Saudia Arabia (most common) who are searching for such girls!

For an excellent blog, articles, and analyses on such issues including sex workers' own voices and phone booths(!), see Laura Agustín's Border Thinking on Migration and Trafficking: Culture, Economy and Sex

Here's the link/picture of a London phone booth that she mentions in her comment below.

Also Regina Lynn describes how the Desiree Alliance and SWOP (regional sex worker outreach projects) in USA have used Twitter, Tumbler iphones, and Google docs to create media blitzes. The Alliance and projects have their own blogs, for example, Bound, Not Gagged. These have evolved around episodes involving sex workers such as Ashley Alexandra Dupré and Elliot Spitzer in New York and get sex workers' voices-perspectives into mainstream media, while fending off reporters' questions on how to find an escort service among other things.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 4: Cloud up violence | The power of words

In Day 4, explore the power of words and cloud tags...and here's one for pagol nari blog done with a different tag cloud tool...ironically many of these words-tags attract male readers around the world who are looking for "girls, mobile numbers, sex, hotels" etc in Bangladesh (that's another post!).

also be sure to check out the ongoing posts on, or individual blogs such as Ahona's and her graphics!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 3: Connect and Help and maybe Twitter?

On Day 3, we are encouraged to explore and empower our selves with some new mobile technology such as SMS to report abuse, actions, and seek help-information. Maybe it's my over-connected self and thumbs tired from texting that have resisted Twittering. My Blackberry and tiny keyboard seem connected to instant messages (Google Talk) among other distractions-instrusions of email, on-line news, and uploading my cat photos to Flickr or Facebook.

Or my nearly 40 years of organizing via telephone and in person (landline, letters, magazines, demonstrations, in person conversations) make me a bit leery-weary of the hi-tech and Facebook approaches to organizing. Users can "join" a cause, sign digital petitions, or cut/paste their email messages to politicians-corporations without taking concrete actions or making changes in safety, security or advancing their causes' goals-agendas. At the same time, I have seen the power of Youtube videos in Rahela's case (previous post) or in the recent USA presidental election of Barack Obama!

Or maybe the two Thanksgiving dinners that I attended to today have temporarily dulled my technological appreciation!

Computer technology has led to websites for help and connection around VAW. Toll-free hotlines have given women new forms of communication about VAW as well as reaching out for help and reporting on their lives and experiences. Recycled cell phones have given new and safer voices to women to make calls to police and shelters that cannot be tracked by their abusers who may have ripped out their landlines.

Friends and family separated by distance can also send emails and instant messages via the computer for support. Although many VAW shelters have to stress guidelines for safe computer use for women to protect the privacy of their passwords, email, and communication from jealous partners and abusers.

Nonetheless in many countries, access to the new mobile and computer technologies still depend on access to electricity and funds to power their computers, recharge their phones, as well as reliable and cheap internet and connectivity...still in short supply in many countries. Loadshedding means that your computer and internet won't work and/or your mobile providers' circuits are disrupted. Finally, some men have used these technologies to harass and stalk women.

Now we have Twitter among other things.....Some women and activists have also adopted "Twitter" a way of sending short 140 character messages to near and dear ones as well as friends and those who care to know about our activities, thoughts, and even music. People can sign up to follow our "tweets", which can also be posted on social networking sites, such as Facebook.

On Day 3, the Take Back the Tech women have given a very informative and creative overview of the ways we can use Twitter and SMS to communicate about VAW, actions, and events. From their feeds, today I have also learned about the ongoing use of such technologies by the AZUR Development group in the Congo, their activities on HIV-AIDs, use of SMS messages and radio: I'm also proud that they are also part of the Rising Voices blogging grants!

At the same time, I hope that we can creatively embrace these technologies without losing some our interconnections built on social interactions, communities, and networks. We have many possibilities for remaining connected. For example, through his Facebook tweets, I can follow the music and adventures of my digital friend, Rising Voices coordinator, and global traveler, David Sasaki. who just landed in South Africa on a We Blog the World Junket but with no announced sessions-visits to groups dealing with VAW or such issues in South Africa. (Please see David's later post on failure to address these and AIDS issues on the junket). Earlier this fall, David worked with a group of South African women elders to set up their own blogs. Finally, through Rising Voices grant at Nari Jibon, I've digitally connected with many bloggers and even met some in person!

During my writing of this blogpost, David just made a digital introduction of Azur participant with Nari Jibon bloggers and myself!

From his recent travels to new technology conferences, David considered the possibilities, usefulness, and challenges of such communications, SMS, especially in his thoughtful Mobile Active 08L 6.5 Billion Text Messages Don't Make World Peace. He questions the usefulness of text messaging for peace-political issues and generating action-change. We tend to devalue such communications, "the more we correspond, the less we value correspondence". He also reminds us that a crucial mineral--Coltan--for cellphones &computers is being mined and fought over in the violent chaos of the Congo. Other writers, activists, and documentary filmmakers have reminded us that beyond displacing women and their families, government and rebel soldiers have raped and abused many women and their children and/or spread HIV-AIDS and STDs.

Unfortunately some of these connections-interests also can keep us in our own circles-interests and networks of international tours, websites, and blogs that ignore programs and campaigns such as Take Back the Tech, Nov 25 as International Day Against Violence Against Women, or even the 16 Days Campaign (which have appeared in only one blog post in Global Voices, the larger umbrella of Rising Voices) . For an update, please see Juliana Rincón Parra's excellent post and videos on eliminating violence against women and her video blogsite, which provide other forms of communication beyond Twitter. . Some of us are too busy (and/or distracted) to keep track of news-info-events on our own communities and countries much less all the possibilities on the Internet. Or other events intervene such as media attention to the three days of violence in Mumbai & needless deaths of many or the global economic crisis, which will send even more women, children and their families into precarious situations.

Hence I encourage every one to access, read, and learn from the Take Back the Tech feeds of SMSs from around the world, use your mobile technology to connect and make a difference, continue to speak up and educate people in your various circles of family, friends, blogs, classes, and media on these issues, donate and/or volunteer to local shelters, and last but not least go to the UNIFEM campaign for signatures: --who knows the petitions just might work! [unfortunately they stopped taking signatures on 25 november!] the site collected over 500,000 signatures from around the world...

Finally, I will sign up for Twitter in the morning and as soon as I recover from my Thanksgiving and observe "Buy Nothing Day" on the day after Thanksgiving....but I am only blogging about this....well maybe I posted something on facebook...and I still don't have my Twitter account.....

P.S. I just learned about some conceptually interesting uses of Twitter, Tumblr, iPhones by sex worker networks in USA.
Regina Lynn describes how the Desiree Alliance and SWOP (regional sex worker outreach projects) in USA have used Twitter, Tumbler iphones, and Google docs to create media blitzes. The Alliance and projects have their own blogs, for example, Bound, Not Gagged. You can learn more about 17 December Day Against Violence against Sex Workers , related resources and National and Regional events on the Bound, Not Gagged and the Chicago SWOP blogs--more details on Chicago in this SWOP blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 2: in memory of Rahela-- Change what is heard, and learned

On Day 2, a hat tip to the Nari Jibon bloggers! You can read four excellent posts from Day 1 and the next generation of Bangladeshi shakti nari bloggers starting with computer teacher Taslima's post (also cross posted in Techna Tara) and three students' posts: Zannat, Tondra, and Nipa.

Today I want to give some links on Rahela--tortured, brave garment worker who died a month later from her injuries-assault in late summer 2004, but not before she named her abusers and spoke up from her gurney. Yet, Bangladeshi legal authorities did not pursue her case, allowed one main suspect to disappear into India, and "lost" evidence. Yet last fall 2007, Bangladeshi bloggers posted on her case, got another hearing in January 2008, and through demonstrations and continued coverage in newspapers (Bangla and English--New Age, Independent among others), got the authorities to pursue her case and get it rapid trial status...where it seems to be languishing in the run-up to the 28 December election (also delayed for two years).

You can read more in my friend Nadine Murshid's summary article on Rahela article in Samar May 2008 and view assorted video clips from Channel i on Rahela speaking and later Bangladesh activism:

original Youtube and see Rahela speaking from her hospital gurney:

March 2008 Updates

31st March report with Manobbondhon 2 in Srimangal/Sylhet

update in Bangla blog somewherein

Aparna Ray gives September 2008 update in Global Voices, Bangla Blogs are Keeping Rahela Alive (in English and multiple languages) [maf korben Aparna for missing this].

and join-see also Justice for Rahela cause-page in Facebook.

Hopefully 2008 will end with justice for Rahela or in 2009!

along with all the other garment worker Rahelas in the world, in Ciudad Juarez, Honduras, EPZs, among others...who are keeping their economies afloat while being disrespected, eve-teased, assaulted, raped, murdered and/or disappeared on their way to and from their factory work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 1: 2008 International Day Against Violence Against Women

Another year has gone by (among the many that we have been organizing against VAW) and it's Day 1 of 16 Days against Violence Against Women. I'm joining the campaign by the most excellent Take Back the Tech TBTT women and allies with their actions around the world. Please visit their multilingual website for daily actions, news and links to other actions, and resources starting with Day 1.

To begin, make sure that you have signed the UNIFEM petition "SAY NO to violence against women" to send 1 million signatures to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. This UNIFEM site also contains valuable data and resources on various VAW issues.

Tell your friends, family, classes, or workplace about this campaign....I signed up in spring 2008 (along with spring, summer, and fall semester classes) and I'm shocked that they still did not have one million signatures last month.

If you have a web-blogpage or social networking site...grab a widget for this petition effort and also share this info with your friends.

Please commit to local and blogging action about VAW for these 16 reaching out to friends and family members, supporting local activists & shelters as well as linking to other blogsites, for example, that seeks to educate about and provide resources against VAW for people of South Asian origin in USA and their allies.

I will be blogging daily on these issues, as well as on issues on VAW in Bangladesh, which STILL does not have a specific law against domestic violence and still no justice for Rahela--garment worker tortured-murdered in fall 2004 (even though her case has been moved to a speedy trial status) and as discussed in my previous post(s) in fall 2007.

You will also be able to read more on young Bangladeshi women bloggers' thoughts and graphics on VAW on and some of their individual blogs listed on the Nari Jibon blog sidebar.

Pore kotha bolbo...(talk with you later).