Category Archives for Social Media

Livestream a day in the life of Rand Paul on Tuesday

Rand Paul is going where no presidential candidate has gone before: an all-day livestream.

The Kentucky Republican senator, who is currently polling at 3.6 percent in the 2016GOP primary, announced on Monday that he will “livestream an entire day” on the campaign trail on Tuesday.

Paul’s campaign will broadcast on Ustream, his chief digital strategist Vincent Harris told Rare. The livestream will show every campaign event that Paul attends and offer viewers “an unfettered look at the campaigns daily operationsfrom how staffers conduct the hectic minute-to-minute schedule to Paul meeting his supporters on the trail.”

The livestream will end Tuesday night as Paul offers live commentary on the first Democratic debate.

“We are looking to virtually embed those interested in following a typically busy day in our campaign,” Sergio Gor, Paul’s communications director, told the Daily Dot. “You’ll see Senator Paul speaking, traveling, and meeting countless students across Iowa.”

Mike Millican, a digital media adviser to the Paul campaign, told the Daily Dot in an email that Paul “will answer some of the most interesting or popular , at his discretion, during travel time between events.”

Presidential candidates have eagerly embraced social media, from Instagram to Snapchat, as direct avenues to the young voters on whom elections will increasingly turn. These new platforms aren’t just effective communications tools; they also offer candidates opportunities to grab free media attention with trailblazing stunts, like Paul’s “Snapchat interview.”

While Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is famous for his direct and voracious Twitter use, it is Paul who commands perhaps the most talented group of new-media staffers. He is also one of the most popular Republican candidates among tech-savvy and politically consequential millennials. And he has his own selfie app.

Update 3:58pm CT, Oct. 12: Added comment from Paul spokesman.

Update 6:50pm CT, Oct. 12: Added comment from Paul advisor.

Photo viaGage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Continue reading

One woman’s story we didn’t get right.

To the Upworthy community:

On Thursday, June 30, we shared a video from our Testimony series, featuring a personal story from Noura Erakat, a professor at George Mason University and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.

When we filmed with her, Ms. Erakat told a story of what inspired her activism. However, in the version of the story that we published, a key element of Ms. Erakats experience was not included: She told the story to illustrate how a first at-home protest lent her the framework to understand larger issues of oppression in Palestine.

This is a screenshot from the video in question. We have since removed it from our site and social media feeds.

The intention of this series is to tell the featured subjects story. In this case, that did not happen, and that was a mistake.

Upworthy had no intention to skew or misrepresent Ms. Erakats experience by publishing this less-complete version of her story. The moment we learned about Ms. Erakats concerns, we moved quickly to contact her and listen to those concerns. We then made the decision to remove the video from our site and social media accounts and post this retraction.

Its important to Upworthy that our stories are an honest and accurate reflection of the people who are featured in them. Upworthy believes in truthful representations of a diverse range of experiences in all our storytelling, and upon further review, this particular video could have done better. We apologize to both Ms. Erakat and our wider community for our error.

We also have included a link to a screenshot of the full write-up of the story for transparency.

We appreciate the many members of our community who wrote to us, commented, and shared their concerns about this video.

We are listening and examining our processes, and we pledge to do better going forward.


Croi McNamara, Head of Video at Upworthy

Continue reading

Legendary Singer David Bowie Dies At 69

British singer David Bowie died on Jan. 10 at the age of 69. The news was posted on the artist’s official social media accounts; Bowie’s rep also confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter. 

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with…

Posted by David Bowie on Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bowie, who was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, south London, scored his first hit in 1969 with the song “Space Oddity” and secured an enduring fanbase with his early albums “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Hunky Dory.”

But the singer’s breakthrough didn’t happen until 1972, when he unveiled his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, which catapulted him from “cult figure to rock icon.” He leveraged that glam-rock persona and popularity to produce albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, before retiring the Stardust character in 1973. Bowie made his last appearance as his alter ego at a London show on July 3 of that year. At one point during the 18-song set, he told the audience, “Of all the shows on the tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it’s the last show we’ll ever do.”

Chris Walter via Getty Images
David Bowie performing as Ziggy Stardust in 1973.

In 1975, he achieved his first No. 1 hit in the U.S. with the song “Fame,” co-written by John Lennon. 

Though best known for his music, Bowie also had a notable career on the silver screen, appearing in films such as “The Man Who Fell To Earth,” “Basquiat,” “The Prestige” and the cult-classic “Labyrinth,” in which he starred as Jareth the Goblin King.

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 1997, he celebrated his 50th birthday, playing a sold-out show at Madison Square Gardens alongside the Foo Fighters, Billy Corgan, Lou Reed, Robert Smith and Frank Black. 

In 2004, the musician suffered chest pains while performing at a festival in Germany and collapsed backstage. While Bowie initially thought he pinched a nerve in his shoulder, the pain was later diagnosed as a clogged coronary artery and required emergency heart surgery. Rumors of his failing health persisted after the incident and his appearance was apparently cause for concern in 2012, when he was spotted in New York City looking like a “pale shadow of his former self,” according to The Telegraph. 

Rumors he was not well continued as Bowie went on to release his first single in 10 years, “We Are We Now” in January 2013, prompting his close friend, producer Tony Visconti, to deny that the singer had Alzheimer’s disease

Bowie released his 25th album, “Blackstar,” on Jan. 8. Additionally, the musical “Lazarus,” which he co-wrote with playwright Enda Walsh and features old and new Bowie songs, opened in December to positive reviews. It earned bragging rights as the fastest-selling Off Broadway show ever, according to The New York Times. 

Bowie is survived by his model wife, Iman, their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones, and his filmmaker son Duncan Jones, from his first marriage to Mary Angela Bowie (née Barnett).

Continue reading

‘I am not afraid’: the Delhi student facing death threats for taking on India’s right wing

When Gurmehar Kaur posted a note of defiance on Facebook she became the subject of national debate and a torrent of abuse

The photograph that led to Gurmehar Kaur being put under 24-hour police protection was taken by her best friend on a camera phone in her university dorm room. The simple colour shot shows her holding a placard saying she would not be intimidated by a rightwing group she accused of disrupting her college.

Only hours after she posted the image to Facebook, Kaur, a 20-year-old English student at Delhi University, found herself at the centre of a national debate that, for weeks now, has fed television shows, news stories and editorials and has involved politicians, film stars and the former captain of Indias cricket team.

The debate has thrown into the spotlight not only the issue of online abuse but also the political climate in India where universities have become key political battlegrounds and where powerful rightwing student bodies have mass political support.

The story of Kaurs domestic incarceration has its roots in a video she appeared in last year that briefly led to her becoming becoming a minor viral sensation. She made the four-minute clip in which she recounted the pain she felt over the death of her father an Indian army captain who was shot on duty in the 1998 Kargil war between India and Pakistan.

The video proved to be both provocative and enlightening because it was open and honest about her feelings she said that until recently she had hated all Muslims, blaming them for taking her father away from her.

In that video she had again used a placard to make a point about the need for peace, stating at one point Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him.

The YouTube video and the Facebook photograph were meant to be unconnected but they soon became entwined. Within minutes of posting the picture, her phone had started buzzing. At first, it was just likes and friendly comments from supporters but soon a flood of angry messages poured in.

Nationalists were furious. They were searching for details of her life, unearthing the video from last year and using it to attack her. One man said Kaur was leveraging her fathers death. Others called for the 20-year-old student to be raped or murdered.

Kaur was at first unflustered. Critics of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), the rightwing student organisation she had singled out, often face an army of online trolls, many of whom have the Indian flag or Hindu iconography and slogans on their profiles.

But soon people were posting images that parodied the video she made about her father.

Photos of Osama bin Laden carrying the tagline Did not kill people, bombs did, or of Adolf Hitler with the slogan Did not kill Jews, gas did spread across Twitter and Facebook.

Soon celebrities joined in. A government minister went on national television and said Kaurs mind has been poisoned . Virender Sehwag, former captain of the Indian cricket team, posted an image of himself carrying a placard that read I did not score two triple centuries, my bat did.

Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag)

Bat me hai Dum !#BharatJaisiJagahNahi

February 26, 2017

The Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda also joined in, tweeting that Kaur was being used as a political pawn.

It was heartbreaking, Kaur says. It is so sad to see some one you admire saying these things about you.

Hoodas message, Kaur said, devastated her, because she had been a fan of his films. She wrote back, saying: Really sweet of you to encourage the hate Ive been receiving. Hooda later apologised saying: In hindsight, I do believe should have been more careful.

I have been receiving an enormous amount of hate, Kaur tells the Guardian, speaking from her home outside Delhi where she is waiting for the political row to die down while under police guard.

I dont understand why. People are making memes about me, trolling me. Ive stopped checking my phone because it would kill me. It makes me sad that this is how people think. Why is there this whole environment where its OK to tell girls youll be raped if you voice your opinion?

Gurmehar Kaur, a Delhi University student who is under 24-hour police protection after posting a picture on Twitter saying she would not be frightened off by rightwing opponents. Photograph: Gurmehar Kaur

Part of the reason for the intensity of the backlash against Kaur can be put down to the political climate in Indias universities. While, in the west, campuses tend to be hubs for liberal and leftist views, Indias rightwing student parties have mass political support.

The ABVP is widely considered to be the youth wing of Narendra Modis ruling Bhartiya Janata party (BJP) and is riding high on the prime ministers popularity. It is now the worlds largest student organisation with more than 3 million members and wins student elections across the country.

The organisation acts as promoter of Hindu nationalist ideology on campuses. Members have been accused of violence and bullying. Last year, a Dalit (untouchable) student at Hyderabad University committed suicide after an apparent row with the ABVP, who allegedly labelled him an anti-national. Previously, members have been accused of beating up university professors and staff, preventing film screenings and gagging academic debate. The ABVP denies that any of its members are violent or abusive.

For Kaur, the rise of the group at her university was alarming. She had posted her controversial photograph after her friends, members of a rival student party, alleged they were pelted with stones and beaten with iron rods during a demonstration to allow the controversial speaker Umar Khalid to speak about his PhD at the university. Khalid, who has voiced support for Kashmiri nationalism in the past, is branded an anti-national by the ABVP.

Perhaps the irony is that, a few years ago, Kaur would never have defended Khalids right to speak freely. For her, the conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir is deeply personal, one that took her fathers life.

I was only two years old when my father died, she says. I grew up believing all Muslims and all Pakistanis were responsible for his death and so I hated them. I loved India and I hated anything that was not Indian. When I was at school, they taught us that the British colonised us. So I hated Britain. I hated any flag that wasnt the Indian flag. I would fly into a rage at the sight of a foreign flag.

Aged six, and traumatised by her fathers death, Kaur had tried to stab two Muslim women dressed in burqas.

I was at the market with my mother, she says. At that time, I couldnt differentiate between Muslims and Pakistanis. I just thought they are Muslim so they are bad. I picked up a knife that one of the vendors had and I ran towards them. In my mind, I was thinking, I have to kill them. When youre six, you dont understand geography, you dont understand religion. My mother held me back and just looked at me. Thats when she understood how much toxicity there was in my mind, how much hatred.

Photos of Gurmehar Kaurs father, an Indian army captain who was shot on duty in the 1998 Kargil war between India and Pakistan. Photograph: Gurmehar Kaur

It took years but Kaur learned to reject the hatred she felt. Last year, she interned with the production company Handloom Pictures, which decided to make a video about her story.

It was just something spontaneous and unplanned, she says. The point I was trying to make was very genuine and deep.

It took me 18 years to overcome the hate I had felt as a child and I made that video because I dont want other girls to go through what I went through.

Then, this year, Kaur decided to take on the ABVP because she felt the safety of students on campus was threatened.

University spaces should not be terrifying, she says. We go to college to learn things, to have discussions, to watch plays, to hang out at the canteen.

Saket Bahuguna, the ABVPs national media convener, says that Kaurs allegations against the ABVP are not backed by any evidence.

She cant prove that its ABVP members who are trolling her, he says. I dont want to comment on her video. Speaking on behalf of ABVP, none of our members are involved in this. We have even lodged a police complaint, asking them to arrest anyone found threatening her. She should not blame us.

The torrent of abuse, however, hurt Kaur deeply. A week after she posted the picture, she sent out another tweet, now to her tens of thousands of followers.

I am withdrawing from this campaign, she wrote. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year old self could take.

Gurmehar Kaur (@mehartweets)

I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say.. (1/2)

February 28, 2017

Gurmehar Kaur (@mehartweets)

I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take 🙂

February 28, 2017

However, she does believe her campaign has had a effect.

I dont know how I ended up here, how I ended up as the centre of so much attention, she says. I guess if it gives me a louder voice to spread my message, then OK, Ill take it.

Continue reading

Ministers ‘too late’ on child online safety

Image copyright Getty Images

A children’s charity has criticised the government for failing to implement half of its recommendations to make young people safer online – 10 years after they first made them.

The NSPCC says 11 of its 38 proposals were ignored and seven were partially implemented – four are now out of date.

It says a mandatory code to regulate social media and tackle online grooming is now required.

Ministers say they are working to make the UK the safest place to be online.

The Home Office has begun the process of creating a voluntary code to regulate websites, as part of its Internet Safety Strategy.

However, the NSPCC said it recommended this move in 2008 and it was now “too little, too late”.

Instead, it wants the code to be mandatory, backed up by an independent regulator with fining powers.

Features would include safe accounts for under 18s, extra protections like grooming alerts, and child endangerment reports to be published by social networks.

‘Dragging its feet’

Prof Tanya Byron, an NSPCC Trustee and clinical psychologist, said the government was “playing catch-up”.

“The internet is absolutely ubiquitous in children’s lives today, and it is much too late for a voluntary code for social networks.

“The internet strategy must absolutely create a legally enforceable safety code to force social networks to keep children safe.

“The online world moves too fast for government to drag its feet for another decade.”

The report comes days after the NSPCC revealed there had been more than 1,300 grooming offences in the first six months since the “sexual communication with a child” offence came into force.

Almost two-thirds of the cases took place on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

‘Seize the opportunity’

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “It’s simply wrong that the government has allowed social networks to mark their own homework for the past decade, and that their new strategy would let that continue.

“It’s impossible to fathom how much harm has been done over those years in terms of online sexual abuse, hate speech, violent and harmful content and cyber bullying.

“Government must seize the opportunity to right this wrong in its Internet Safety Strategy and bring in a mandatory rulebook for social networks to protect children now and in the future.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said social media companies had to take further action to reduce the risks their platforms posed, particularly to children.

She added: “We are considering all options to make this happen – including changes to the law where necessary…

“We are working with industry, schools and parents to make sure there are robust protections in place.”

Related Topics

Continue reading

Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts unknown after alleged assault in South Africa

Zimbabwean first lady alleged to have attacked 20-year-old Gabriella Engels in Johannesburg hotel

Lawyers for Grace Mugabe are negotiating with South African authorities after Zimbabwes first lady failed to hand herself in to police over allegations she assaulted a woman in an upmarket Johannesburg hotel at the weekend.

We have identified a suspect but she hasnt handed herself over yet. We do not know her whereabouts at this stage, said a police spokesman, Vishnu Naidoo. The negotiations over the suspect handing herself over have not concluded.

South Africas police minister, Fikile Mbalula, had earlier said the increasingly outspoken wife of the worlds oldest head of state, 93-year-old president Robert Mugabe, would appear in court on Tuesday.

The first ladys apparent breach of an agreement with police to hand herself over and subsequent disappearance now threaten to trigger a diplomatic incident between Zimbabwe and South Africa, which share a border and have close economic and political ties.

Mugabe is suspected of beating Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old model, with an electrical extension cord at the luxury Capital 20 West hotel in Johannesburgs Sandton district on Sunday evening.

Pictures on social media appear to show Engels bleeding from her forehead after Mugabe allegedly arrived at the hotel with bodyguards and accused Engels of living with her sons, Robert and Chatunga, both in their 20s and based in the city.

We were chilling in a hotel room, and [the sons] were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us, Engels told local media. She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug, over and over. She said she had no clue who her attacker was until the alleged assault was over.

Engels said she had no idea what was going on … I was surprised. I had to crawl out of the room before I could run away. Accusing the first ladys bodyguards of standing by and watching during the alleged assault, she added: The front of my forehead is busted open. Im a model and I make my money based on my looks.

Police confirmed a 20-year-old woman had filed a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. It was not immediately clear whether Mugabe was travelling on a diplomatic passport or would qualify for diplomatic immunity if police do eventually bring charges against her.

Gah-bee (@DaNamesGaby)

I have to more injuries at the back of my head

August 14, 2017

South African media said Grace was in Zimbabwe to have an injured foot examined. The countrys foreign affairs spokesman, Clayson Monyela, said the trip was a private visit and the government would not be getting involved. But Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, a provincial minister, said the case should go to court. We hope that it will send a strong message to all leaders who abuse their power and assault innocent people in our country, she told Jacaranda FM.

Opposition figures in Zimbabwe also called for Graces prosecution. We want the South African police to arrest Grace Mugabe, the leader of Zimbabwes Communist party, Nqabutho Mabhena, told the Mail & Guardian: You cannot beat up a young lady for going out with your son.

Police sources said Grace had originally agreed to hand herself in at 10am local time but failed to do so. Asked if she was now considered a fugitive, the sources told Reuters that was not the case at this stage, although she had agreed to hand herself in, but never did.

The incident is not the first time Mugabe has been accused of violent behaviour and assaults on overseas trips. In 2009 she punched a British photographer in Hong Kong for taking pictures of her at a luxury hotel.

Grace was one of Mugabes secretaries when their affair began in 1987 and the couple had two children in secret before the Zimbabwean presidents wife died in 1992. Their lavish 1996 wedding was attended by Nelson Mandela.

Long thought to be more interested in extravagant shopping sprees than politics, she has gradually become more active in public life and in 2014 became the head of the ruling Zanu-PF partys womens wing.

She now regularly attends rallies across the country and showed her political ambition in 2014 by launching a ruthless campaign against the then vice-president, Joice Mujuru, a potential presidential successor.

Last month Grace challenged her increasingly frail husband publicly for the first time to name a successor, potentially positioning herself as a runner before elections due next year.

Continue reading

The Silent B*tch: Confessions Of The Other Kind of ‘Crazy B*tch’

We all know about the crazy bitch.” She falls too hard too fast. She goes batsh*t when she sees you with another girl. She calls you 72 times at three in the morning because she just misses you so much.

I have done a lot of writing about this girl, because Im fascinated by her. Im fascinated by the fierce boldness with which she lives her life, because I’m the polar opposite. I lead a life marked by total cowardice.

I dont fall “too hard too fast” because I never let myself fall at all. I dont go batsh*t when I see you with another girl, because Im too busy finding myself another guy to use to get even. I wont call you 72 times at three in the morning because I will never call you at all.

I once had a boy I was seeing tell me that his time with me was simultaneously the best and worst four months of his life. When I asked why, he told me that it was because Im the most vague person alive.

Despite all of our good times together, he could never be completely sure about what I was thinking or feeling, and that left him totally insecure.

The crazy part is that I liked him. I liked him a lot. But hes right; Im PAINFULLY vague when it comes to what Im thinking and feeling in the realm of dating.

Ive recently realized this does not make me sane. This just makes me another kind of crazy bitch — the silent bitch.

The ironic part of my kind of crazy is that I think a lot of it stems from my fear of being labeled the crazy girl.” I dont want to be that stalker following you around at the party, just like I dont want to be that needy girl begging you to hang out every day.

So, while that girls craziness is driven by a loud and clear vocalization of what she is thinking and feeling at all times, mine is driven more by a silent and “vague” refusal to show any sort of emotion.

Instead of blurting out my feelings too soon, Ill never blurt them at all.

No, I will never be that girl who blurted out I love you too soon. But I also wont be the one who says “I love you” when I actuallydolove you.

In fact, theres a high chance that I’ll never say those three words at all.

I have found that my main goal when I actually do have feelings for peopleis to convince them that I absolutely dont have any feelings for them at all.

Because that makes total sense, right?

Instead of stalking your social media incessantly, Ill ignore your friend request.

Keeping you away from my news feed is just another cautionary step taken against falling too hard. I will not be stalking your profile all the way back to 2007, because I will not be stalking your profile at all.

What if I saw a picture of you with another girl, and it made me, like, I dont know…feel something?! NO, THANK YOU. Count me out.

Im so overly cautious about letting you into my world at all that I will not even allow you into my social media world. I just see it as the one realm over which I really do hold some control.

So of course Im going to ignore your friend request.

Instead of calling you out, Ill expect you to figure it out.

The root of my particular brand of crazy is my totally and completely crippling fear of confrontation.

I avoid confrontation as a rule. I would rather the world end tomorrow than have an honest, matter-of-fact conversation with you about how I feel.

This is why I will NEVER call you out on your sh*t. While the other kind of crazy bitch would show up to your front door screaming if she ever heard about you seeing someone else, I would simply ghost you and expect you to eventually figure out why.

Instead of crowding you, Ill pull away.

If were at the same party, I wont give you any attention at all. In fact, I will make it a point to talk to everybody except you.

If Im bored one day and all I really want to do is snuggle with you and watch movies all day, I will settle for watching Netflix by myself and patiently wait for you to text me.

Which brings me to my next point.

Instead of blowing up your phone, Ill refuse to text first.

Ill just go ahead and say it: I CARE about text ratios. Im honestly pretty anal about them. One could even say Im crazy about them.

Im so crazy about them that if my house was on fire, and I wanted to text you how I really felt before the flames swallowed me whole (probably the only circumstance I actually might feel comfortable honestly telling you how I feel), and I saw that I had already had the last word in our most recent conversation (thus making this a double text), I would go ahead and die without ever having said how I felt.

Instead of falling hard, Ill never fall at all.

The other kind of crazy bitch is bold and fearless when it comes to love. No matter how many times she has her heart broken, she is ready to fall hard and fast for the next potential Prince Charming.

Unlike her, I have never had my heart broken — mostly because I am so afraid of having it broken that I will never give anyone the chance.

While her craziness is marked by extreme boldness, mine comes from deep cowardice.

Instead of getting jealous, Ill get even.

Jealousy is natural; I would be lying if I said that I literally never gotjealous. It’s just how I choose to deal with my jealousy that separates me from most other people.

If I see you with another girl, I wont call you out. I wont burst into tears at the bar. I wont send you a long string of angry texts for the rest of the night and the following morning.

Ill just hook up with someone else and move on.

Instead of letting you break my heart into a million pieces, Ill never give you my heart to break.

The crazy bitch we all know is DEVASTATED after a breakup. There are tears everywhere, angry tweets and probably a few screaming matches with her now-ex.

A breakup with me would be the complete opposite. No tears. No tweets. No yelling. I will suffer in total and complete silence.

You might think this would be the bright side of never letting yourself fall in too deep because it wont hurt as badly in the end.

But the fact of the matter is that it hurts just as bad. The pain is just different. It’s marked by regret.

I think to myself, maybe, if I did put myself out there more or were more honest about how I was feeling, this wouldnt be happening right now.

Continue reading

Jewish and Arab pupils talk of unity, but Israel has never been so divided

The voices of nationalism and separation are growing louder as rightwing populism dominates and tensions continue to escalate

The boys file in first: noisy Jewish teenagers in kippahs, students at Jerusalems Himmelfarb high school. The girls come next, most wearing headscarves Israeli Arabs from the Ort school for girls in Lod.

There is a call for quiet and the final group of visitors files in to sit on the platform Israels president, Reuven Rivlin, and the education minister, Naftali Bennett.

The first question addressed to the dignitaries comes from 16-year-old Baraa Isa, one of the Ort school girls. Is it possible, she stands to ask, that you can add or change something of the national symbols of the state so we can identify with them. So we can feel part of society?

Rivlin answers with reference to a line from the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah, The Hope, and how it says that a Jewish soul still yearns a song and line problematic for many of Israels Arab citizens. The question you are asking needs to be on the national agenda in the next generation or two, he says. This is a dilemma we cant ignore. It needs to be addressed by leaders, by members of Knesset who were chosen by the people.

At this point, we have to base the existence of the state of Israel on a Jewish state, and a democratic one. We have to hold on to and strengthen the Zionist dream, which often causes friction with those citizens who are not Zionist.

The event at the Himmelfarb school, part of an initiative by Rivlin to build bridges between Israels communities, stands in sharp contrast to the current atmosphere in Israel, where those whose voices are loudest seem more interested in emphasising separation and nationalism. That has fuelled fears of a widening division between Israels Jews and Arabs as Israel has moved ever further to the right since Binyamin Netanyahu was returned for his second spell as prime minister in 2009 a period marked by a heightened political rhetoric against Israeli Arabs.

Jewish and Arab pupils from the Ort school in Lod and the Himmelfarb school in Jerusalem wait for the countrys president, Reuven Rivlin, at an event to encourage closer contacts between the two communities. Photograph: Peter Beaumont for the Observer

This trend has been highlighted in recent months by polls, comments and initiatives by rightwing politicians on issues as diverse as whether Arab medical staff should work in Israeli maternity wards, on housing and even who is acceptable as a teacher.

Most stark were the findings earlier this year by the US Pew Research Centre in its report, Israels Religiously Divided Society. The bleakest sections of this depiction of the multiple social divisions in Israeli society were those dealing with relations between Israeli Arabs who are a 20% minority in Israel, or 1.4 million out of a population of 8.5 million and Jews.

Among its headlines were the claims that 79% of Jews questioned believed that they should get preferential treatment, with the same survey finding that nearly half of Israeli Jews agreed to some degree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel with roughly one in five Jewish adults strongly agreeing.

It has been underscored by a growing and vocal anxiety even among some figures on Israels right over trends in society and democracy, as Israels politics have become more nationalist, not least after Netanyahu brought the ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman into his coalition as defence minister. The reality is that even before Liebermans return to Netanyahus newly configured government the most rightwing in Israels history a series of initiatives by rightwing ministers had focused attention on issues of race and identity.

Among them have been a new 500-page civics textbook To Be Citizens in Israel produced under Bennetts watch in May, which has been accused of largely editing out Israeli Arabs and their experiences. The books message is impossible to mistake, argued a Haaretz editorial condemning it after it was unveiled. Jewish identity, as expressed in the states definition of itself and in the public sphere, takes priority over civic identity. This mainly reflects the views of an orthodox, conservative, rightwing strain of Judaism.

The text contains no model of shared life between Jews and Arabs. The Jews rights are clear; the Arabs place is restricted; and the walls separating them are only raised even higher. The racism that is ripping Israeli society apart receives almost no mention.

Israel police detain an Israeli Arab during clashes in Nazareth in October. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

The furore over the book which superseded one that rightwing parties such as Bennetts complained was too critical of the state has not been an isolated incident. In December, Bennetts ministry removed a book, Dorit Rabinyans Borderlife, that depicted a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, from the curriculum of Israeli secular state schools. A proposed amendment to Israels basic law effectively its constitution that would make it possible for the Knesset to expel members, has also been criticised by Israeli Arab parties, who believe it was aimed at reducing their representation.

Outside the realm of political rhetoric, another factor has been at work a deep sense of mutual anxiety and suspicion fuelled, in part, by the recent wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis that began last autumn and whose influence has leached into communal relations in Israel.

In the most recent incident, video emerged of five off-duty Israeli police officers, out of uniform, savagely beating an Israeli Arab supermarket worker in Tel Aviv after he queried why one was asking for his ID. The question that remains open, however, is how much politicians talk of separation reflects reality and how much it simply mirrors the increased prominence of rightwing nationalist politics in Israel, as the country has been moving to the right.

And behind that question lies a more fundamental one how toxic the politics of identity and division, opportunist and populist as they sometimes are, might prove to Israels democracy.

While Israel is far from alone in experiencing the rise of rightwing populism it is also being witnessed in the US and Europe what makes it different is the context of the long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories that has persisted since 1967. Indeed, it is precisely the shared sense of identity and history and family ties between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the occupied territories unsurprising because they were the same people in pre-Israel British Mandate Palestine that for some on the Israeli right makes Israeli Arabs seem suspect.

Dahlia Scheindlin, a pollster and political analyst, says she and her colleagues started noticing a far more overt discourse about the issue in 2009 and have only recently tried to quantify what it means. I think this is more visible, in part, because it has been legitimised by the current politics. You started seeing more rhetoric around race and ethnicity when Lieberman began emerging as a political force after 2006, when he ran with his own party, she said.

He was talking about his population exchange plan [to transfer Israeli Arabs into a future Palestine]. Even then it was clear he felt it was legitimate to target Arabs in Israel. Later he would be talking about no citizenship without loyalty. He was very, very explicit and comfortable on that platform. And as Lieberman started to advance legislation around that, Likud [Netanyahus party] got scared. All societies have a latent xenophobia. Lieberman tapped into it.

Israeli youths holding mock guns relive the battle for Jerusalem during the six day war in 1967. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

And Liebermans message perhaps beyond even the divisive legislation that his party championed was no more clearly expressed than in a television debate during last years elections when he attacked Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint Arab List in the Knesset, and one of the most prominent critics of discrimination against Israeli Arabs. Why did you come to this studio and not to a studio in Gaza? Lieberman railed at him. Why arent you standing for election in Ramallah [the main city in the occupied Palestinian territories] rather than in the Israeli Knesset? Why are you even here? Youre not wanted here.

The sense of a growing division on both sides, experts say, has also worked in counterintuitive ways. One hope was that the slow emergence of a new and better-off Israeli Arab middle class might lead to more social mobility and integration. Instead, there is some evidence that the opposite has happened, with new spending power concentrating in gyms and malls, for instance, in Israeli Arab towns and neighbourhoods, reinforcing the separation.

But not everyone is convinced that the growing incidence of xenophobic discourse not least on social media on both sides and the recent evidence of a move to rightwing nationalist policies are necessarily embraced by a majority of Israelis.

Sammy Smooha, an anthropologist and sociologist at Haifa University, who has long studied attitudes in Israel via his Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel, points out that despite an April poll suggesting that 49% of Jews would not want an Arab living in their apartment building, some 90% of Israeli Arabs live in Israeli Arab towns and neighbourhoods anyway. He adds, too, that the most visible and strongly expressed views are confined to the nationalist ends of the spectrum, among both Jews and Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin.

I have spent years trying to understand what is going on in the middle, among the silent majority. There is a willingness there on the part of Jews to accommodate Arabs in schools and neighbourhoods, he said. And Arabs express a willingness to be accommodated in Jewish towns. There is a big gap between attitudes and reality of separation. Is it getting worse over the years? Yes, to some extent I can see that in my surveys for the past 13 years there is less willingness, but still there is still a large willingness.

There is more public expression of hostility on both sides yes.

Paradoxically, on the Israeli Arab side, both Smooha and Scheindlin argue that that has been encouraged by the emergence of a better-educated and wealthier group in Israeli Arab society who are far more willing to speak out about discrimination. Smooha echoes the question asked by 16-year-old Baara Isa in the Himmelfarb school. In the west, there is a civic nationalism that creates an entity say the French people or the American people an idea of people-hood regardless of religion and ethnicity, where all citizens have a common stake. In Israel, that does not exist. There is no civic nation in Israel. Arabs are attached to an Arab national idea and Jews to the Jewish nation.

He agrees with Scheindlin on the influence of Israels ever more right-leaning politics. The current state of the political dialogue is very influential and it is very animating.

What he is less certain about is how far and in what direction that rhetoric is actually carrying Israelis.And for his part, Israels President Rivlin a rightwing politician and member of Netanyahus Likud party, under whose auspices the event at the Himmelfarb school took place has bluntly dramatised what he sees as the growing problem.

Speaking last year at an event to encourage Israels biggest companies to employ more Israeli Arabs in managerial positions, he asked: How many of us Jews know colleagues at work who are Arab? How many of us have true friends who are Arab? How many of us know the agenda of the Arab public, or the differences dividing their society?

A huge gap has grown over the years between two societies that live next to each other and with each other, and yet are blind to each other We must admit the painful truth: namely, that for the majority of Jewish-Israeli society, the Arab public occupies a blind spot.

After Rivlin and Bennett had left the Himmelfarb school, Baraa Isas headteacher, Shireen Natur, remained in the playground with some of her girls for photographs. She hopes that initiatives like Rivlins will crack some of the ice. We are separated. We are really divided. There is racism on both sides. The problem is when you dont know the other and you are afraid, separation is the result.

You know I used to be a Hebrew teacher. For 14 years. Things will only change when Arabs can teach Hebrew in Jewish schools, and Jews can teach Arabic.

Continue reading

Kim Kardashian Is Claiming North West Is A Social Media Master At 2 — Do You Buy Her Story About This Suspicious Upload?



Kanye West‘s wife — who has been pining for her slimmer, non-pregnant bod as of late — loved the shot so much, she decided to repost it to her pages with the caption:

“North posted this while playing games on my phone. Not sure why or how she chose it but I’m not complaining! LOL I deleted it so now reposting it myself! #FBF from 10 years ago.”

OK… whatever you say, Kim.

On the other hand, North’s poppa has said in the past their first born often buys apps on their phones, so who knows.

Yesterday we reported that Kimye’s baby boy due in December was already the best dressed celeb kid in the game, and that continues to ring true as the KUWTK star showed off the highly-coveted marbled Yeezy Boosts made specially for baby ‘Ye.

Ch-ch-check out the adorably small sneaks (below)!

Baby Ye #1of1A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Nov 6, 2015 at 8:30am PST

Oh, Kimmy…

Do U think it was an accident or was Kim just looking for an excuse to show off her assets?? SOUND OFF in the comments!

[Image via Instagram.]

Continue reading

Girls Are Showing Off Their Manicures With The Funniest Props And It’s Working

Never underestimate the woman who’s willing to do anything for the gram. No angle, filter, or prop is too much for someonein search oflikes. If you’re abeauty guru in need of some inspo for a#ManiMonday post, have a look at the latest trend sweeping across Twitter. Women are posing with props to match their manicures,and it’s a pretty humorousway to take beauty coveragein a different direction.

Twitter user @alinamarie____, who is named on the social media site as queen of extra, kickstarted the mani trend that others are trying to emulate. Rather than simply post a photo of her new mani, she gave a little something extra. Alina’s pink hue reminded her of some food, so she found herself a slice of ham and pink slushie that perfectly capturethe millennial pink vibe she had going with her mani.

It’s funny, it’s a bit random and it’s actually pretty spot on when youstop to take a look. So, like any other good beauty trend out there, it caught on. Thequeen of extra could quite possibly be dethroned now that others are posting copycat pics.

Here’s some Pepsi blue, obviously a go-to nail color for the warmer months.

It’s crucial to match your manicureto your coffee sweetener’s packaging.

I myself always aimfor the purple Lysol bottle hue when I get a manicure.

Sausage, anyone? You’ll need some meat for brunch to go with your Prosecco doughnut.

Here’s an eager onetaking the trend a little too far.

is how you get ready for a DIY project.

If my Bikini So Teeny blue polish wasn’t completely chipped, I’d definitely find something suitable to pose with, but, for now, it looks like I’ll just have to watch the trend unfold on social media.

Happy #ManiMonday everyone! Go find a snack or random object that matches your nails.

Continue reading
1 73 74 75 76 77