ZaMir - Peace Network in the War Zone
in the post Yugoslavian countries
The origin and development of the ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET
(ZTN) a member of the Association for Progressive Communication September 1991 - January 1996
by Eric Bachman coordinator of the Zamir Transnational NetTABLE OF CONTENTS
2.GOAL OF THE PROJECT
3.FAXHELP - the first step
4.ELECTRONIC MAIL - the next step
5.CONCEPTION OF THE NETWORK
6.BIRTH OF THE NETWORK
7.ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET (ZTN) was developed
8.ONE YEAR , ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET
9.The ZTN grows1993 -19941995Technical difficulties Updated 10. Jan 1996
10.PROJECTS1. THE PROBLEM
Since the summer of 1991, when the anti-war and human rights groups of former Yugoslavia increasingly began to organize themselves and coordinate activities, they have encountered immense communication difficulties. With the start of open warfare in Croatia normal communications were disrupted. Not only did travel by train or road between Croatia and Serbia become impossible but the destruction of many telephone connections caused an overload of the existing lines. Telephone calls between Zagreb and Belgrade, for example, became almost impossible. In the telephone lines which existed to Bosnia-Herzegovina are being increasingly destroyed by the war. The disruption of the postal system meant an almost total breakdown of communication, especially those working on opposite sides of the fighting. In 1992 as the war spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina there was even more vicious destruction of the communications infrastructure there.2. GOAL OF THE PROJECT
The purpose of this project is to help the anti-war, peace, human rights, NGO and media groups in the various countries and regions of former Yugoslavia and humanitarian aid groups active in the region to be able to communicate better with each other. Additionally, it should help them to communicate with people and groups in the rest of the world.
In a situation where prejudice, hate and fear between people of different ethnic backgrounds has grown almost unchallenged, it is necessary to start with building up communication links. Helping people to reach out to each other, to begin a new relationships, to revive old friendships is of utmost importance.
Although the idea of the ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET grew out of the needs of anti-war groups in the region it is not only for an exchange of letters, messages, news and ideas among the peace groups, but it is for helping people from both sides of the conflict begin to communicate again with each other. (This idea was first expressed in a proposal of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in former Yugoslavia for a "TRUST LINK" between the conflicting sides.)
It has now grown to enable humanitarian aid groups, NGO's (non-governmental organizations), educational institutions and others to use the network for their own communication needs. In fact the network is open for all users and some commercial and even governmental institutions are using the net. Additionally, it is to provide the basis of a communication network for many different projects and activities in the south Balkan region.
This project of COMMUNICATIONS AID for the people in former Yugoslavia (now the post Yugoslavian countries) which later developed into the ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET began and was first conceived and developed at the suggestion of the Center for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence (Ljubljana), the Antiwar Campaign (Zagreb) and the Center for Antiwar Action (Belgrade).3. FAXHELP - the first step
In October 1991 several groups (WRI, War Resistors International and IFOR, International Fellowship of Reconciliation and others) from countries that still had good telephone connections to Zagreb and Belgrade agreed to relay FAXes received from one group in one city to another group in the other city. This was a big help for the groups in former Yugoslavia and also for groups from countries, like Germany, that had great difficulties reaching Belgrade directly, but better communications were needed.4. ELECTRONIC MAIL - the next step
Because the telephone lines were not completely destroyed but the remaining ones were just overloaded, it was suggested that they could be used at night for communication by computers using electronic mail. I found out that even until the Spring of 1992 it was generally possible to make telephone connections between Belgrade and Zagreb or Ljubljana or even more distant cities, if it was done during the night (after midnight). This meant that electronic mail -- a BBS (Bulletin Board System) using computers, modems and the telephone lines -- would work.
And even if it would not be possible to connect directly with another city from former Yugoslavia, then we would connect indirectly through Austria, Germany or Britain. This would also enable a connection with the world-wide matrix of networked BBS's and Internet systems. A store-and-forward email and news server could continue to work as long an there was at least some international telephone connectivity.
Some of the existing BBS's in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia were willing to support the development of a larger network. The idea was to support the existing AdriaNet (mainly in Slovenia) and to help it to connect to BBS's in other cities and former Republics of former Yugoslavia.5. CONCEPTION OF THE NETWORK
December 1991 - June 1992
The first phase began in December 1991 and January 1992. Modems were given to peace and anti-war groups in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo. I installed these modems and gave preliminary training to people from different groups. The first steps taken to connect a BBS in Belgrade into the AdriaNet.AdriaNet introduced two new topic areas for the use of the peace groups.
Unfortunately the system operator (sysop) of the BBS in Zagreb was not able to keep his system running on a regular basis. Reliable email exchange with other BBS's in the AdriaNet was not possible. The BBS in Belgrade was also not able to carry out a regular exchange with other BBS's in the AdriaNet. The cause of these difficulties were overwork and or unavailability of the sysop and also the very poor quality of the telephone lines which meant a lot of direct supervision. The help which was given in Phase 1 was not enough to get the communication going. Several peace groups now had the means to communicate by email, but the local BBS's were not able to fulfill their role to pass on the messages. The network was not functioning.
In 1991 the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) set up a conference / newsgroup "YUGO.ANTIWAR" to discuss the increasingly violent situation in the Balkans. This was done at the request of Yugoslavs (APC users) who where living outside of the Balkan region. Even though this electronic conference could be accessed in many countries around the world, it was not accessible in Yugoslavia until ABM in Ljubljana and part of the AdriaNet began experimental connections to GreenNet a member of Association for Progressive Communication (APC) were started. At the same time Yugoslavia and the communications lines there were falling apart which meant that the access to this transnational discussion forum "YUGO.ANTIWAR" was more or less limited to Slovenia.
In the mean-time a foreign volunteer experienced in email (Wam Kat) joined the Antiwar Campaign in Zagreb and connected directly into the world-wide email network by directly dialing to the London-based GreenNet. He arrived in 1992, just before the fighting began in Bosnia & Herzegovina. During the beginning of the war in Sarajevo, daily fax reports were sent to Zagreb and he help to transmit them into the newsgroup "YUGO.ANTIWAR". This continued for some weeks until the telephone connections to Sarajevo were completely cut off. His work provided excellent and speedy communications to and from the Zagreb Antiwar Campaign, but was very expensive. Also it was not a solution for groups and people in other cities, especially those in Serbia. A better solution was necessary.6. BIRTH OF THE NETWORK
June 1992 - November 1993
Zagreb and Belgrade are connected
Because the attempt to develop the existing BBS's into a functioning network failed, the Antiwar Campaign in Zagreb and the Center for Antiwar Action in Belgrade decided to set-up their own network. In July, 1992 I helped install a server in Zagreb and one in Belgrade. In both cities the email and news server was installed in a computer which was normally used for other purposes during the day and also had to use a telephone line which was normally used for voice and fax communication during the day. A lack of funds and available telephone lines forced us to begin with such limited resources.
The two new systems "ZaMir-ZG" (For Peace - Zagreb) and "ZaMir-BG" (For Peace - Belgrade) which exchanged mail by way of Austria were now connected with each other and the rest of the world. Letters could be sent overnight from Zagreb to Belgrade and from Belgrade to Zagreb. Letters could be sent and received via a server in the APC (Association for Progressive Communications) Network and through gateways to other networks.
From the beginning, users could send and receive messages from anyone in the world with an Internet email address. Even though we did not have a direct and full connection to the Internet, we were part of the world-wide matrix of digital communication. Within 24 hours a message could reach any other email address in the world.
Belgrade -- ZAMIR-BG in the Center for Antiwar Action
Unfortunately, the ZaMir Network was not able to run as well as was planned. The computer in Belgrade (a old laptop with a small harddisk) was not adequate for the task of a email and news server. The limited hardware caused problems. Also the single telephone line which had to be shared between voice, fax and computer communications was completely overloaded. Training for a system operator was also needed.
Zagreb -- ZAMIR-ZG in the Antiwar Campaign
In Zagreb they also needed a computer dedicated to the email and news server. And a dedicated telephone line was necessary as well. Within the limits of the hardware and the limited number of hours online each day it was working well. In spite of the difficulties the international e-mail exchange began to work.The telephone costs were reduced. The email and new server ZaMir-ZG is being used by people from the peace groups there and has attracted an increasing number number of other users. It is also possible to use the BBS to send faxes.7. ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET (ZTN) was developed
The connection between Zagreb and Belgrade was working, albeit with great difficulty. To seriously implement this phase of the COMMUNICATION HELP there was a need for additional equipment and software. The most important item is a dedicated computer system and telephone line in both Zagreb and Belgrade. A special modem to compensate for the very bad telephone lines in Belgrade was also needed. Regular support for the costs of running the system were and are still needed. Although the international networks to which the ZTN is connected (many thanks to APC, CL, Z-Netz) have waived most of the costs for the time being (they also run on a nonprofit basis and do not have excess funds), there are regular expenditures which have to be covered.
In September 1992 I installed a new computer (a 386 40 MHz with a 170 MB Harddisk) in Belgrade. It is dedicated solely to ZAMIR-BG. Together with a new modem (Trailblazer PEP) which works even on very bad telephone lines and a dedicated telephone line it was possible so set up very reliable communications with the relay server in Vienna, LINK-ATU.
I found an organization (Brethren Volunteer Service) that was willing to send a volunteer to the Centre for Antiwar Action to support the COMMUNICATION AID project. In October I trained the volunteer (Patrick Morgan) to use the email programmes and in November he joined the staff of the Center for Anti-War Action Belgrade for one year. He was responsible to keep the email system running to facilitate communication on the net.
During December 1992 the computer system in Zagreb was causing big problems. We were still using a borrowed computer and shared telephone lines (on a two-party line). The system operator was traveling for several weeks and during that time the harddisk crashed and the email program went offline. No one there knew how to get the system running again. The result was that ZAMIR-ZG was off line for about 4 weeks. By this time there were a number of users who were actively using the email system and were upset about the unreliability of the system.
As a result of this problem, funds were found and a new computer was bought (a 386 40 MHz, 200 MB Harddisk). After some difficulties a dedicated telephone line was also found. This was installed at the end of December 1992. Since then the ZTN has been a reliable link.8. ONE YEAR -- ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET
By the summer of 1993 there are a total of 375 users in Belgrade, of which only 7 are groups. In Zagreb there are about 125 users including 27 groups. The large amount of individual users in the Belgrade BBS is due to the fact that other channels of electronic communication from Serbia to the outside world are still very difficult, if not impossible. The system operators in Zagreb have done a lot of work to involve as many groups as possible to join and use the system. There are also many more international humanitarian aid groups in Croatia who wanted and needed international communication.
Each of the servers send and/or receive approximately 500 kilobytes a day. This includes public and private messages. At that time it cost approximately 400 DM a month for each system. The users of the ZTN were still not charged for the communication services. The local running costs (telephone, electricity) have been covered by the Centre for Antiwar Action in Belgrade and the Antiwar Campaign and Suncokret in Zagreb. The servers were still being maintained by volunteer workers, both in Belgrade and in Zagreb. There was not enough money to pay system operators. Future plans called for raising more funds and spreading the costs among the users.
The ZTN has its own conferences which are exchanged between the system in Zagreb and Belgrade. Additionally the servers offer more than 150 international conferences (from the APC, CL, Z, T, Usenet, etc.) which can be read and written to by the users. (see list in the appendix)
By this time, in Zagreb there was at least one meeting of users to help organize the service. More and more organizations are using the email systems. The International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) an NGO that has a task force for aid to former Yugoslavia has set up its own BBS in Geneva (ICVAGE). Since April 1993 it uses the ZTN to have better contact with it's member organizations working in Serbia and Croatia. The ICVA conferences/newsgroups are now available on ZAMIR-ZG and ZAMIR-BG. Some of these conferences were for public information, others were internal ICVA coordination conferences.9. The ZTN grows1993 -1994
The software and hardware were updated for the two systems. Fluctuations in the electrical supply were causing problems so UPS's were installed. New telephone lines were ordered in Belgrade and Zagreb to enable more users to access the systems. Unfortunately this could not be realized quickly. In Belgrade it has not been possible to get a second telephone line, even by the beginning of 1996 we have not been able to get a second dedicated telephone line. In Zagreb we had to wait for about 2 years before we finally had the second line installed. Even then it cost 1 400 DM (US $ 1 000) just to get it installed.
At the end of 1993 we switched the international servers -- from LINK-ATU in Vienna, Austria to BIONIC in Bielefield, Germany. It gave us a closer (more frequent regular transfer to a full Internet server) and a more reliable connection to the rest of the world.
About this time I began working under the auspices of the Soros Fund, Open Society Foundations. This enabled me to concentrate on developing the network. Funds also became more available from the foundation for new servers.
In February 1994 a new system, ZAMIR-LJ, was installed in Ljubljana, Slovenia and in February/March 1994 ZAMIR-SA was installed in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Because of the war and the siege of Sarajevo it was quite difficult to install. I was very happy to be able to get a telephone, electricity, a computer and international connections all together at one room within three weeks. This was the most difficult installation in the network.
I had been trying for some time to get to Sarajevo to access the situation
. After almost two years of bombardment and destruction much of the telephone and pubic utilities infrastructure in Sarajevo had been destroyed. But some repairs had been made. It was now possible to make telephone connections between Sarajevo and certain countries, especially if calling from outside. Of course there were only few lines and they were almost always overloaded. But by choosing the slack time for automatic dialing, I was hopeful that somehow I would be able to get a server up and running with automatic data exchanges. After waiting for several weeks for a UN flight to Sarajevo, at the end of February 1994 I took a notebook and a software and a modem with me to Sarajevo.
The organization Bosnian Informatic Technology (BIT),
agreed to administer the server. They had just acquired new offices but did not have a telephone line nor electricity in them, not to speak of a lack of heating.
Many attempts to use a satellite telephone line for the connection ended in failure. The available bandwidth did not permit full duplex connections -- modem exchanges would not work on that line. Fortunately the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) had recently set up a server in Geneva and from Switzerland it was possible, though difficult, to dial to Sarajevo. (The Swiss telephone company had just set up some satellite telephone lines to Sarajevo.) They offered to be the link to our Sarajevo server.
Within two and a half weeks:
A used desktop computer was found and bought in Sarajevo.
It was possible to have a dedicated telephone line installed in the BIT office.
An erratic supply of electricity was found.
This was simply fantastic considering the problems there at that time. We installed the software and began testing the system. After three weeks the system was finally up and running. We were able to overcome the problems so quickly only due to the full support that was given to the project by the the Open Society Fund of B&H (a Soros Foundation). Via the ICVAGE system in Geneva and the BIONIC server in Bielefield, Germany we had connected Sarajevo with the rest of the world. BIONIC became the central server in the ZTN directly connecting Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sarajevo and the rest of the world.
In October 1994 a fifth server, the ZANA-PR was set up in Pristina, Kosova. This system is being operated by the weekly "Koha".APC Membership / ZTN.APC.ORG
At the end of 1994 we the ZAMIR TRANSNATIONAL NET (ZTN) together with HISTRIA in Slovenia became full members in the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) world-wide network. We no longer had to use the domain "zer.de" or "comlink.de" which was that of our servers in Germany but we now had our own transnational domain name, "ZTN.APC.ORG". By this time we now had over 1 700 users on 5 different servers in 5 different cities. We were exchanging several hundred, mostly international, conferences and newsgroups.1995
Routing changes and problems
At the end of 1994 the ICVAGE server in Geneva was taken off line because the ICVA was closing down their "Yugoslavian Task Group". Fortunately it was now already to telephone between Zagreb and Sarajevo. We had been experimenting with that way of connecting the two cities, but the availability of those telephone connections were not regular and reliable. Now we had to use them as we had no other way of exchanging data with Bosnia & Herzegovina. Since ZAMIR-Sa did not have an international telephone line, it could not call to Zagreb. So the Zagreb server was responsible to call Sarajevo and even often did manage to get through 4 times a day. This was our frequency of exchange that we aimed at that time. But usually the only connections that we cold be sure to expect were the attempts at night during slack time.
All or our servers are store and forward systems using the existing telephone lines to connect with each other and exchange data. This meant that we were very flexible and could easily change the routing structure of our network and the availability or destruction of connections became apparent.
We also watched closely the changes of the costs for telephone connections and changed our routing and dialing habits accordingly. For example, in October 1994, when the new post-Yugoslavian-countries acquired their own new individual international country code, there was a dramatic change in the costs for telephone calls. All of a sudden, a call from Ljubljana to and from Zagreb became an international call. As it turned out, calls from Germany to Zagreb were less expensive than calls from Zagreb to Germany, where connect to our Internet server and relay to Belgrade. In fact calls from Germany to Zagreb were less expensive than a calls between Ljubljana and Zagreb. So our system in Germany is responsible for calling to Belgrade and Zagreb.
During 1995 the systems in Zagreb and Belgrade and Sarajevo were enlarged. More telephone lines were became available and were installed which meant that hardware and software improvements and changes were needed to open the additional dial-up connections. More modems, more comports, larger harddisks due ot more users and more activity of existing users. In short the systems were continuing to grow.
During March to May a new server was established in Tuzla (Bosnia & Herzegovina). We had an international line installed so that we could call to Zagreb (or elsewhere as needed) instead of being dependent upon Zagreb always calling to Tuzla. (Note: Having a working telephone in B&H during the war did not mean that you had the possibility to call outside of the country. A special connection and a large deposit was necessary for an international connection.)
Tuzla now became the main connection for all of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Even Sarajevo was connecting to Tuzla instead of to Zagreb. The installation of the server in Tuzla meant that people in the Muslim controlled part of B&H who had access to a telephone could now easily have email. Users from all over central B&H joined the system. This server with 4 modems lines not only provides connectivity to many more people in B & H but also provides a back up to the system in Sarajevo. Whenever the Sarajevo server was down (usually due to power problems) many users then communicated via the Tuzla server.
During the summer serious problems in Sarajevo (long term lack of power) were overcome and with the addition of additional telephone lines it has become more reliable.
Through out the development of the ZTN we also provided connections for many humanitarian aid organizations. Some even had their own serves. The ICVA in Zagreb and as well the offices of the Open Society Foundations (Soros Foundations) in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb ran servers for their staff and/or member organizations. Besides the 6 public ZTN servers there were 4 ICVA servers and 3 Soros serves that were using the network for data exchanges.
By the middle of 1995 there were 2000 users of the public ZTN network of which about 400 were organizations. By the end of the year we had over 2500 users of which about 500 were organizations. Additionally there were maybe 100-200 users of the private servers in the ZTN.Technical difficulties Updated 10. Jan 1996
ACCESS - User to Telephone-Line Ratio
It is very difficult to serve so many users with the few telephone lines that are available. We had 400 - 700 users trying to access a server on only one telephone line. That did not allow effective online work. Since we could not easily get more telephone lines we asked users to make use of point programs that allow quick and automatic netcalls into the server. Instead of working online, they read and write their mail and news messages without being connected to the server. The users then made quick "netcalls", often several times a day during which they exchange pre-packed files of incoming and outgoing mail and news. We also encourage users to use high speed modems (14 400 bps) to enable quicker exchange of data. Combining both steps enabled many more users to share one telephone line and still have reliable and quick communication. Instead of the 25 to at the most 50 users per telephone line, which is usual for online dial-up work, we could deal with 100-200 users per telephone line. This is, of course, a function of the amount of data the users send and receive, the speed of their modems and the frequency of their exchanges with the server.
In Zagreb it took two years to get an additional (second) telephone line installed in Zagreb. It took another year to get another 2 lines, and lately, after another 6 months we had a 5th line installed there. Zagreb now has a total of 5 lines, 3 for public use, 1 for inter-system data exchanges and one for hot-line voice support of the users. Access is now is quite easy. But as we have reached the physical limit of telephone lines available in the building in which we are located. Further growth in the number of users will again create a very difficult situation.
In Belgrade, we still, even after 3.5 years, were not able to buy a second dedicated line for the system. This one line is used for inter-system data exchange and also for the users. The number of users is much to high for the available line. Access is therefore very difficult. The one line is usually busy.
In Ljubljana we have two lines and no access problem since there are not that many users there. This is due to the fact that there are a number of other providers of email connectivity and TCP/IP services.
In Sarajevo we were able to get an additional 3 lines after 1 year. We therefore now have 3 lines for public use, 1 for inter-system data exchanges. The BIT office voice line can be used for hot-line support for the users. But due to difficulties with the lines some of them are often not available. If all there lines are operating, then the access is quite good.
In Pristina there is no overload even with one line. This is because there is no overload of users.
In Tuzla we were extremely lucky to be able to set up the server in an office where 4 lines were immediately available from the beginning. There we have 3 lines for public use, 1 for inter-system data exchanges. Additional another voice line can be used for hot-line support for the users. Access is good.
One of the the biggest difficulties for our network is the general lack of telephone lines in the region. This bottleneck will continue until the telephone companies of the region are able to improve the infrastructure.Bad quality of telephone lines
In many places the quality of the telephone lines did not allow fast data transfer. Here are some examples:
Within Belgrade I experienced local telephone lines that wold not support any type of modem connection no matter what setting was used. some international connections from Belgrade would not support more than 100 cps even though the modems could have easily done 14400 cps. The quality of the line varied greatly, depending upon which local exchange or number was used. Parts of the telephone system in Belgrade were very old and caused problems for digital communication.
The telephone lines from Sarajevo to the rest of Bosnia (in so far as they existed at all) were so noisy that often no more than an average of 500 cps could be expected, even though the modems could do more than 19 000 cps. The result is that connections are often slow or get broken off before the data transmission is complete.
In Pristina there is such an overload of the telephone switching capability that telephone users must wait anywhere from seconds to even 30 minutes for a dial tone. And when the user gets a dial-tone, s/he has just a few seconds to dial (five dial-tone cycles) , otherwise another user who is waiting will get his/her chance. This makes it almost impossible for programs using modems to dial automatically. Fortunately, outside calls to Pristina are given priority so that the intercity connections usually get through to our server there reliably. The local users, though, still have to deal with the overloaded telephone exchanges there.
This problems can essentially only be improved by a better telephone infrastructure.Electrical outages
Unexpected loss of electricity has been a big problem for a number of our servers. In Belgrade, especially during the winter, different parts of the city would take turns being turned off for two hours at a time. In Tuzla there would at times a several hours loss of power. In Sarajevo the problem with power outages was even more extreme. At times the city as a whole would not have electricity for days and weeks at a time. Even during the time when electricity was nominally available 24 hours a day, there were unexpected outages of hours at a time. For some time the International Rescue Committee (IRC) shared their emergency generator electricity with us (but only 9 - 5 o'clock Monday to Friday). But when they moved out of the building that source was gone. We finally were able to arrange a connection with the high priority city emergency power. But even that disappeared for hours at a time. A large capacity UPS was created (including two huge lead-acid lorry batteries, a 12 VDC charger, 12 VDC to 220 VAC converter and relays together with a normal UPS and a 220 VAC voltage stabilizer) now give us 10 - 15 hour emergency supply for the server and modems.
These problems have been generally overcome by the use of normal or extended UPS's. The only time that we now have difficulties is if the power disappears for a longer period of time.PROJECTS
The "Letters" project helps refugees and displaced persons to find each other and helps them to exchange mail quickly. This project, has created an electronic mail <--> paper-mail interface which enables people without computers to access each other via the Internet. It has been mainly carried out with the help of volunteers in cities in Bosnia, Belgrade, Osijek, Tuzla and many other places in the world. In Tuzla it was possible to have one person working full time on the project. Many messages have been passed through this network. People have been found.
copyright 31 January 1996, by Eric Bachman, coordinator of the Zamir Transnational NetBack to contents of this pageBack to main Contents
We are not the mainstream media...
Juan Cole blogged this piece on Mainstream Media (MSM) and Bloggers Mainstream Media and BloggersMatthew Haughey says he won't read our blogs if we use the term "mainstream media"
A news flash for Matt: We don't care.
We don't care if you read our web logs.
The difference, Matt, is that we are independent actors, not part of a small set of multi-billion dollar corporations. The difference is that we are not under the constraints of making a 15% profit. The difference is that we are a distributed information system
, whereas MSM is like a set of stand-alone mainframes. The difference is that we can say what we damn well please.
If we were the mainstream media
(perhaps better thought of as corporate media
), we would care if you threatened to stop reading us. Because although we might be professional news people, we would have the misfortune to be working for corporations that are mainly be about making money.
We would be ordered to try to avoid saying anything too controversial (and I don't mean "Crossfire" controversial), because we would be calculating what would bring in 15% profits per annum on our operating capital. Would hours and hours of television "reportage" and discussion of Michael Jackson or of Terri Schiavo or Scott Peterson (remember?) bring in viewers and advertising dollars? Then that is what we would be giving the public.
Bread and circuses.
Would giving airtime to Iraq, where we Americans have 138,000 troops and are spending $300 billion that we don't have, be too depressing to bring in the audience and advertising and the 15% profit? Then we would dump it in favor of bread and circuses.
We'd dump Afghanistan as a story even faster, since there are "only" 17,000 US troops in that country, and it is only a place where Ben Laden may be hiding out and from which the US was struck on 9/11, leaving 3,000 dead and the Pentagon and World Trade Center smouldering.If we were the mainstream media as Ashley Banfield was
, our careers would be over if we mentioned a little thing like the replacement of journalism with patriotism in the coverage of the Iraq War.
Or if we said things like Ashley did of March-April 2003: "You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me. There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story . . ." /../
Coming sooN ... okya?
There are days... Down Time’s quaint stream Without an oar We are enforced to sail Our Port—a secret— Our Perchance—a gale. What Skipper would Incur the risk What Buccaneer would ride Without a surety from the wind Or schedule of the tide?
Emily Dickinson (1830–'86).Complete Poems - 1924
Part Five: The Single Hound XXIX
Blogosphere Blues in India ...
Remixed from Asiasource and other fora ---> Usual Apps 4 X-P---> Forwarded message from / To: AsiaSourceList Subject: [Asiasource-l] OFFTOPIC: Indian media blog shuts down after legal threats from Times of India ---> Forwarded message ---> http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050315glaser/
---> Indian media blog shuts down after legal threats from Times of India
---> The Mediaah Weblog is shuttered after the Times of India threatens libel lawsuits, causing an uproar and petition in the Indian blogosphere. Can media criticism gain a foothold in the subcontinent? ---> By Mark Glaser ---> In India, a flourishing business for print media doesn't translate to flourishing media criticism.
As of March 2003, the Registrar of Newspapers for India reported there were 55,780 newspapers in the subcontinent, with 3,820 new newspapers registered in the previous year and 23 percent growth in overall circulation. And the Times of India, owned by the Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., is the king of English-language newspapers with a circulation north of 2 million and readership of over 7.4 million people, according to Wikipedia. But along with that success has come a dumbing down of the news as large mega-media corporations have gained control of newspapers -- and have even invested in each other's stock. So when one of the few noted media critics, Pradyuman Maheshwari, criticized the Times of India on his Mediaah Weblog recently, the Times looked to squash him with a seven-page legal threat for libel. The threat worked, and Maheshwari decided to close his site, as he has a day job running the daily Maharashtra Herald in Pune and didn't have the resources to fight back. Maheshwari, 39, started the blog in July 2003, as a no-holds-barred look at the Indian media business, complete with cheeky commentary and gossip and rumors.
His original idea
was to create a Poynter-like institute in India that would provide training for mid-career journalists. While the blog became popular in the media business, with a readership around 8,000, his own business aspirations for it flamed out. He took a job heading up the Herald in early 2003 and shut the blog down to concentrate on his job."The site didn't work for me financially,"
Maheshwari told me. "I thought I would be able to monetize it, but couldn't, maybe because it was ahead of its time, or maybe I was being too idealistic. I wasn't willing to accept money and advertising from media companies because I thought that would influence me. "
After a year of downtime, Maheshwari started the blog up again in January 2004 and received his first legal threat from the Times of India after a posting about the newspaper making a deal with Reuters related to TV. Even though another newspaper picked up the same story, Maheshwari was unwilling to fight and took down the posting and apologized. But even the apology upset the Times, and they told him to take it down so there wasn't a backlash against the paper. Then on March 7, he received a much longer legal notice, asking him to remove 19 blog posts related to the Times, or the company would take legal action. Maheshwari says much of what upset the Times was his criticism of its MediaNet initiative where businesses can actually buy photos and profile stories in the Times' editorial section -- what it calls 'edvertorials.'
Almost all my calls and e-mails to the Times of India were ignored. I talked to its executive director, Ravi Dhariwal, who said he had "very little knowledge" of the legal letter against Mediaah, though he had heard of the Weblog and had read it. "I don't think it's a piece of journalistic caliber," Dhariwal said. "But I'm not here to express my point of view. You wanted to know some facts about the legal notice, and I'm not one to know."
The legal notice came from a Delhi lawyer named K.K. Manan, who would only confirm to me that he had sent the legal papers. "I'm not going to talk to you people on the telephone,"
was all he would say before hanging up on the transatlantic call.
The legal notice makes very clear threats against Maheshwari. "You are constantly engaged in criminal conspiracy against my Client, its employees, and business which has resulted in grave harm and loss of reputation to my client and its employees,"
reads the legal notice in part, under Manan's name. "It is clear that published material is injurious to the reputation of my client, which is done intentionally with ulterior motives or done in criminal conspiracy with someone as a proxy war. My Client reserves its right to take any criminal or civil legal action as it may be advised ..." Indian blogosphere springs to action
While Maheshwari has been reluctant to take on the Times in court, the Indian blogosphere hasn't been quite so shy. One anonymous blogger quickly set up Mediaha, a blog that contains the 19 blog posts in question (which Maheshwari had taken down), as well as the seven-page legal notice from the Times. One blogger, Sruthijith K K, a student who works at a public policy think tank in Delhi, launched a blog to follow the Mediaah/Times battle, while starting an online petition that quickly garnered 200-plus signatures. And another blogger, who goes by the online name Quetzal, ran a protest post on his blog, which is ironically hosted by the Times itself on its blog-hosting service O3. "The success of [The Times'] case depends wholly on the hope that Maheshwari will not fight back against a gargantuan media conglomerate,"
said Rohit Gupta, a freelance writer and engineer in Mumbai. "That's where the Times of India reveals its ignorance of changing times and the nature of the blogosphere. Maheshwari does not need to fight this himself -- this concerns the freedom of all bloggers from Indian origin, so we will fight the battle for him."
Gupta has experience rallying the blogosphere during the tsunami disaster, by helping set up the South-east Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog. He has hopes that the Indian blogosphere can rattle the cages for change in the media business there. "Maybe it's premature, but if this goes where I think it's going, it should go down in history as 'The Great Indian Blog Mutiny,'"
Gupta told me via e-mail. "The Times of India has simply shown how far they've come from being a respectable newspaper to being a common school bully. If bloggers can collaborate to provide humanitarian assistance for the greatest natural disaster the living world has seen, they can certainly tackle the Times of India, a man-made ethical disaster."
While the Indian blogosphere has had global success helping cover the tsunami, it doesn't have the domestic media clout of the bloggers in the U.S. "In the U.S., bloggers are a powerful community, and you wouldn't want to take them on,"
Maheshwari said. "Here, the bloggers are a very small community, and people like the Times of India will take them on. It will take some time. We don't have an association to back us up."
Peter Griffin, a freelance writer in Mumbai, contributes to a prominent group media blog, Chiens Sans Frontieres (C*S*F), which has kept the Times' feet to the fire over the Mediaah shutdown. Griffin told me that the Indian media has been slow to grasp the blogosphere and its potential to disrupt business as usual there. "I think it's pretty sad that an organization like the Times, one whose purpose is to provide information and opinion, should seek to suppress opinions it doesn't like,"
Griffin said via e-mail. "If they think that the blogosphere will let something like this go by without raising a stink, then they're seriously underestimating the power of the collective. On the other hand, if they think a blog with a small subscriber base can seriously threaten an organization that is the size of the Times and its group, then it's almost comical. They look pretty much like an elephant running away from a mouse."
/../The sad state of media criticism
While Indians are generally a gregarious people who read the news voraciously and have plenty of opinions, the idea of a media critic -- especially of the print media -- hasn't caught on. Maheshwari figures there are only a handful of print media critics in the entire country, despite the tens of thousands of newspapers. "While there are many seasoned journalists in India, there aren't many people who have chosen to critique media,"
he told me. "Being a media critic requires you to take on other media entities, which may find a person out of favor of a potential employer or friend. Publications possibly think that it's not good to write a negative story about a rival ... that it wouldn't be considered in good taste."
Maheshwari says he has worked in the media for 19 years, with more than 10 as a media critic. He points to Sevanti Ninan, who runs non-profit site The Hoot
under the auspices of the Media Foundation, as one of the other top media critics. Ninan has had trouble keeping the site funded and recently ran another appeal for donations. She told me Indian media houses are not keen on criticism. "The print media here has a very thin skin,"
she said via e-mail. "Newspaper proprietors are wary of letting their staff write about other newspapers, in case the scrutiny is turned on them too. I write a regular newspaper column on all media including print, but a regular media column on the print media is pretty much non-existent. Every paper however carries critiques on television. ... I started The Hoot four years ago primarily because newspapers and TV were so reluctant to carry media criticism."
In a recent report on the Mediaah brouhaha on The Hoot, Ninan said that Maheshwari's writing was "gossipy and irreverent" but that defamation could be alleged because he was targeting the Times "almost every single day." The problem for Mediaah, according to Ninan, is that this is not a national issue such as the RatherGate phenomenon that dealt with CBS and questionable documents related to President Bush's guard service. "If a blog is raising an issue of national importance and providing evidence to go with it, the mainstream media will pick it up,"
Ninan wrote. "But if it is a matter primarily concerning a media house with no larger implications, in India the media will not take on other media, no matter what. That has been Maheshwari's misfortune."
The writer/engineer Gupta also had the misfortune of doing media criticism of his own newspaper. "Most of the major Indian media companies are bedfellows of each other,"
Gupta said. "I was fired for voicing my opinion of Mid-Day, while being a columnist for Mid-Day. Who will want to follow my example? Blogs are our only outlet. This is why C*S*F was created, to protect freedom of expression."
Many people believe the blogosphere nullified the old saying from A.J. Liebling, "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one." However, Ninan sees a new cost for that freedom. "The thing about free speech though, is that it does not come for free,"
she wrote. "Its price, at the very least, is a lawyer's fees. Pradyuman Maheshwari was offering no-holds-barred commentary on the media. If you are no-holds-barred, it stands to reason, does it not, that the guy you are targeting will also be no-holds-barred? You have to be prepared for that and cover your flanks." End game or a new beginning?
If Maheshwari had a fault in his writing, it's that he was trying to please both his audience with saucy writing and the offended media houses with apologies and backpedaling. At one point, he started using asterisks in his writing to try to hide what he was talking about, in a weak attempt to prevent litigation. The legal papers from the Times even make reference to this style, saying "you are in the habit of doing malicious campaign against various media houses and when they object you immediately apologize to soften their anger."
Indeed, Maheshwari wavered on whether to shut the site and went through each of his options in minute detail on his blog. Plus, he simultaneously told me that he wasn't shutting the site out of concern for his day job as editor, but then said he didn't want me to mention his employer in my article.
One thing is certain, though. Maheshwari will not be away from blogs for long. He plans to make a comeback, with the hope that he'll have the backing of an organization. The blogger had applied to the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) just before his legal entanglement and will become a full member as of today. Robert Cox, co-founder of the MBA, told me he wasn't familiar with Indian law but will provide what support he can to Mediaah. "The MBA has agreed to assist Mediaah in so far as that is possible from New York to Bombay,"
Cox said via e-mail. "The Times of India v. Mediaah matter reflects a pattern we have seen here in the United States where media companies appear to be first in line to use bully-boy tactics disguised as legal concerns to threaten and intimidate bloggers. [It mirrors] my own experience with New York Times attempting to shut down The National Debate blog over a parody last year and more recently a case where an MBA member, Michael Bates, has been threatened by his local paper, The Tulsa World, for the 'crimes' of linking to pages on their public site and quoting World articles in his blog posts."
Following legal advice, Maheshwari likes his odds better as part of an organization or group instead of having to face the Times of India alone. "What I plan to do is set up a Web site now in the name of an organization instead of just my name,"
Maheshwari said. "The [legal] protection is slightly better for an organization than for an individual. But what I definitely did not want to do was delete those 19 posts or apologize for that. A lot of people told me in the past that I should not apologize, and I don't see why I should apologize for something that I see as honest criticism and constructive criticism."
As for restarting Mediaah, he said that would only happen if the Times withdrew its legal threats. "I was extremely upset and distressed about what happened,"
Maheshwari said. "Because this is just a labor of love, it is a lot more distressing. It's good to see so many people are championing the cause, but I also don't want to be associated with that because I don't want to be seen as instigating against the Times of India. I just want to be seen as an honest critic of the media, having spent my whole working life in this business. I just try to get on with my life."
* * * * *In Their Own Words - A sampling of thoughts on the Mediaah shutdown
On being fair to the Times: "I appreciate that criticism should have its limits. But in my case, being a journalist and being an editor, there are people that will testify that I was fair in my criticism, and I was willing to put my name on it. I had the most to lose. I have a full day job. It's not like I have a university funding me, so I have the most at stake. The objective was very noble, and the blog was getting very popular, so they were trying to silence me."
-- Pradyuman Maheshwari, Mediaah blog proprietor, interview with OJR
The Times as Saddam: "The Times of India has something of a Saddam Hussein hold on the Indian media here. I wouldn't say they're Saddam Hussein, but they are quite feared, and nobody wants to take them on. I always focused on issues and didn't want Mediaah to become a scandal sheet, and because I work at a newspaper, I know that if a newspaper makes a big mistake, I know what it is. I'm just taking issues, larger policy issues, but it's not nitpicking."
-- Pradyuman Maheshwari, interview with OJR
On the democratization of media: "I respect the Times of India for the fact that they have always adapted to new technologies, new ideas and attitudes. I hope they see and accept today's reality that media has been democratized. Today everybody has a way to let others know their opinion and make it count at very low costs. ... Also they would withdraw it if they realized that there is nothing they can do about someone who publishes on a free platform anonymously. Such actions will only motivate such people further."
-- Sruthijith K K, student and blogger who set up petition in support of Mediaah
On Mediaah's possible agendas: "Now that the last prayers are being said for Mediaah.com, we have a word of advice for aspiring media commentators. Do not think that all is fair in media wars. Do not put out unsubstantiated stories. Do not be driven by agendas and prejudices. Do not target any one particular company/group/person. Rumours and masala are good to hear and pass around, but not good enough to put in the public domain. Apologizing for something which was genuinely wrong is correct and gentlemanly. Retracting that apology citing popular support is not. ... Above all, stand by truth, not just your own story."
-- Dances with Shadows, anonymous online journalist who criticized Maheshwari
On the double standard at the Times: "While I think Pradyuman's conclusions on some of [the blog posts] are a tad harsh, and I also have issues with his tone of voice, he certainly is well within his rights as a critic to come to those conclusions, and his tone of voice is his privilege to choose. Let me put it this way. If an actor or director thought the Times of India's movie critic was being unduly harsh, would s/he sue the Times? If the Times' literary critic savaged Salman Rushdie's next book, would Mr. Rushdie have a case for slander against the Times? Would a court look at such lawsuits seriously?"
-- Peter Griffin, freelance writer and blogger in Mumbai
On the lack of media criticism in India: "In Pakistan, which is a dictatorship, you can't criticize the government but you can criticize the media. In India, which is a flourishing democratic economy, you can criticise the government - but not the media. As a result of prosperity, the guardians of our freedom of expression have become cheap entertainment portals and spin doctors."
-- Rohit Gupta, freelance writer and engineer in Mumbai
Event info: http://www.tacticaltech.org/asiasource/
>by way of patrice<
Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release
EFF Releases How-To Guide for People Who Want to Blog Safely and Anonymously
San Francisco, CA - With the privacy of bloggers and their news sources coming under fire in the court system (see, e.g., Apple v. Does), it's crucial that web writers know how to express themselves without risking their jobs or social lives.
Yesterday the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released "How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else)," a How-To guide for bloggers worried about protecting their privacy and free speech.
The guide covers basic measures people can take to keep their blogs anonymous and explores what the law says about discussing work-related issues online. Some advice is common sense; for example, don't post a picture of yourself if you want to stay anonymous. But for bloggers who want strong guarantees of privacy, EFF suggests using technologies like Tor
to prevent your blog-hosting company from logging your computer's unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Bloggers who fear they could be fired for blogging are also given an introduction to laws that prevent an employer from punishing them for speaking out online."There is a lot of misinformation out there about the ways people could get into trouble for blogging,"
said EFF Policy Analyst Annalee Newitz. "We hope advice about online anonymity and the law will help more people engage in free expression without living in fear of reprisals, legal or otherwise."
How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else)http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Anonymity/blog-anonymously.php
Apple v. Doeshttp://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/
For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_04.php#003506
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/www.streamtime.org was hacked yesterday... just back in Amsterdam from the island Suomenlinna in Helsinki (ferry <-> connectivity and a Night on Earth... tired ... but eating with taste :)
Mita pirua me taalla tehdaan?
Todays title should be Finnish for: "What the devil are we doing here?
The PixelAche Festival
in the Kiasma museum in Helsinki and on the island Suomenlinna is nice because it is always good fun to meet a bunch of people from different angles of the world, and to meet different points of view. And it is always sooo interesting to visit places that i had never been before. New food for curiosity.
Visiting a good old friend i had not seen in years. She could answer some of my questions about the company that is bigger than the state of Finland: and i did not know that Nokia is not only that bigggg company, but it is also a very small town in Finland.
She told me: "The 'N'company first produced rubber boots, condoms and toiletpaper. Later it started to produce televisions, and it took a slide into the forestry bizzz
(cutting trees that is)."There is a Finnish book about Nokia written by Staffan Bruun, journalist for Hufuudstadsbladet, a local Helsinki newspaper. The book is about a Nokia chief who committed suicide
(Nolaialano, but the name could be written wrongly)."And a woman of the *ethics departments* of Nokia seems to have left to work as a nurse" ...
This seems to be the story about a woman, Hannah Kaskinen, who was in the debate at IDFA (International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam) where the film about Nokia + ethics *A decent factory* (in China) was shown.
Another film shown at IDFA was *The Take* of Naomi Klein and Avi Evi, or maybe Evi Avi or whatever his name is ('tis Naomi's husband) and a debate found place between them and the woman who went to work as a nurse and who i mentioned above.
That debate was good, and it was quite clear that the interests of the company are not that much about the people, but of course about making profit.
Now Nokia in Finland is probably bigger than the state, and it says to the state: "Don't raise income taxes, otherwise we shall leave the country." (and probably move to China where people can easily be paid reduduced salaries).
So what is this 'N' story about connecting people? What this blablabla about *sharing*?
At the PixelAche conference www.streamtime.org could talk their presentation talky immediately after Marko Ahtisaari did his (he is the ex-presidents son and director of Nokia Insight and Foresight...) and Nokia is paying the bigger part of the costs for this conference.
As i found out a little late.
At the first presentations and opening it seemed like a private commercial for Nokia: around twenty of the present people were Nokia departments sis and so and the other fifteen were us, activists and so in otherwise developed or developing mediascapes for the section DOT ORG BOOM.
So i thought it was a good idea to start our www.streamtime.org session with an expression in Finnish -because there they don't understand Iraqi idioma- to outer my discomfort and alienation within this setting, that is to say, i started speaking the title of my todays bloggy. And i concluded with *Some people are more shared than others
* (free variation to Animal Farm). What was in between, maybe i will tell you later.
Military camps for refugees - the reality of off-shore centres
"Four years ago, the western press received first reliable reports on internment camps in Libya. In September and October 2000, pogroms against migrant workers took place in Libya and 130 to 500 sub-Saharan Africans were killed in the capitol Tripoli and the Tripoli area. To escape the persecution, thousands of builders and service sector employees from Niger, Mali, Nigeria, and Ghana fled south. Many of them were stopped at road blocks in the Sahara and taken to Libyan military camps. Le Monde Diplomatique reported on several camps in where migrants and refugees have been held since 1996 - about 6,000 Ghanaians and 8,000 people from Niger are supposed to be held in one of them alone. The Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings visited the camp to bring back some hundred compatriots. The Somali Consultative Council appealed to Gaddafi on 22 February 2004 "to unconditionally release the Somali refugees who are imprisoned in your country and who have started a hunger strike immediately and not send them back to the civil war in Somalia." In the beginning of October 2004, the Italian state TV channel RAI showed pictures from a Libyan refugee camp. Hundreds of people were depicted in a court yard, heavily guarded; the barracks apparently do not have sleeping facilities. Reports of some of the Somalis who have recently been deported to Libya confirm the existence of these camps. /../
"In the beginning of the current Iraq war, Tony Blair suggested the creation of refugee camps under the supervision of the EU but outside its territory. His "new vision for refugees", published in March 2003, foresaw returning those who would apply for asylum in the EU to outside the EU's borders. His vision was one of a 'camp universe', set up by EU officers and made up of Transit Processing Centres (TPC) in front of the gates of the EU, together with the UNHCR and the notorious International Organisation for Migration (IOM). From there they would be able to bring the refugees back to "safe" zones near their regions of origin and select a few for entry into the EU. When that plan became known to the public, it went down in a storm of protest. /../
This whole article can be read at Statewatch
International law? What is it? Guantanamo just-do-it-style? Disregard excisting international agreements and let ad-hoc war-like rule reign?
Just some weeks ago hundreds of people came with little boats from North Africa to the Island of Lampedusa, under Sicily. Without any kind of registration, or any particular attention to their situations the people were immediately flown 'back' into Libya. Special airplanes. No international observers. Among these people Iraqis, Chinese, North Africans, and so on. Did Linton Kweesie Johnson
mean this when he sung: *Europa - y'r rope* ?
Todays start of G-8 Genova 2001 trials (until 2050???)
Remember the massive international protests in Genova against the G-8 in July 2001? The white overalls, the 'disobbedienti? The extreme violence of the police, when they intruded the Diaz school and just beat the hell out of the people who were there?
Mark Covell, British Indymedia journalist, working at the Indy-dispatch center was not in the Diaz school then, he stood in front of it, until some policeauthorities beat the shit out of him, and left him, nearly dead, on the pavement.Today should be the day for the start of the trials against 28 police officers in Genova
, but yesterday the investigative judge told me that it is difficult, since the Court doesn't exist now... One old judge went into oblivian (pension) and another was transferred to another court. So there is no Court now, and there are no judges who want to deal with this case since it is very delicate. As well left as right wing political structures and peoples are involved in this.
Streaming Merbed adventures
April 1st -> a convincing short-circuit in the morning has made streaming impossible from the just build-up studio. Streaming transmission came from an internetcafe in Basrah.
April 2nd -> www.streamtime.org
was cracked during the night. Complete change of programs, but the streaming transmission went on as planned, with a public audio + photo screen output in the central hall of De Balie in Amsterdam. But were people able to find the in a hurry created ad-hoc site and url for the stream?
April 3d -> the stream went well, (learning experience, as martial art ;) and poetry and interviews from Basrah came through, with here and there an echo or hick-up. And the ad-hoc site was available.
April 4th -> getting streamtime back on-line again. Must be fine by tonite. Recordings and stories from Basrah will be available on-line on streamtime, in some time from now.
Ween? bil Merbed, Basrah!
Words from Basrah about the live stream yesterday:"Yesterday, it went fine, more or less. And today, we are going to stream early from 5-9 or even 10 p.m. Basrah time. So stay tuned!"
Lots of interviews and poetry have been made and recorded these days in Basrah, shiploads of new audio material to stream through the web are to be expected in the program.
Today also an interview with students from the Art Institute in Basrah, about the fight that found place about a week ago when al-Sadr's Mahdi army violently attacked the students, see for that story Zeyads blog: Healing Iraq
Urls to listen to todays stream from the Merbed Poetry Carnival in Basrah are described in my yesterdays blog...
To avoid words people don't want me to use: here some Distributed Creativity.
For news, stories and links to Iraqi blogs: Iraq Blog Count
Haan al-Irsaal - Kulshimaaku!
So yesterday streamtime streamed through a series of real difficulties from and about the Merbed Carnival in Basrah. In the midst of unsafety, electric short-circuits, with -technical- support in a chat people who had never done this before managed to stream some hours of poetry, interviews, music and what else was there.
But now it seems www.streamtime.org
(galbi!) was cracked
last night. Kulshimaaku!
(*** ***!!!) However, we are trying to get through that troubles as well. Akied! So we will be, as planned, streaming a Merbed program later this day, could be from 17.00 or 16.00 Basrah time (where it is two hours later than the central Europe Time CET).
Busy, sun is shining: baaysikil.
We had some serious damage as it seems now, so some work has been done:
Static temporary site: http://www.submultimedia.tv/streamtime/
The url for the stream from Basrah is: http://live.submultimedia.tv:8000/streamtime.mp3