Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Month: July 2008 (page 1 of 7)

OpenNet Initiative to Closely Monitor Chinese Internet

Seven years ago, during China’s bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese government promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a more open China, with unfettered Internet access for foreign journalists being used as a prime example of China’s commitment to openness.

Observers of China’s Internet filtering practices have long been anticipating how China would fulfill those promises to the IOC. The options were few and clear:

1. China would open the Internet during the Olympic period
2. An open enclave for foreign journalists would be created
3. China would break its promise

Unsurprisingly, China has so far not honored its promises. Not only do the government’s monitors continue to filter hundreds of sites; the press center for foreign journalists offers the same filtered version of the Internet.

With opening day of the Games only a week away and more web sites become accessible,OpenNet will continue to monitor China’s filtering practices. In particular, we will monitor Olympic coverage to examine how coverage within China differs from that accessible from outside the country.

For up-to-date coverage of China’s filtering practices, during the Olympics and beyond, check OpenNet’s China page frequently.

Originally posted on OpenNet.net

Geek

So I bought a new camera.  And I can’t help but blog about it.  Please forgive me.

This appeared randomly on the facade of the pharmacy down the street from me on Comm Ave.  Incidentally, some neighbors and friends of mine say that this pharmacy sells liquor.

Next time Voices without Votes does a post on Brazil, let’s be sure to use this.

The other thing I spent a lot of money on this year.

The camera is a Canon Digital Rebel XTI and was a pretty huge purchase for me, admittedly (not so much financially as because I’ve wanted one for a very long time).  I asked for advice from a lot of friends (or simply checked flickr to find out what camera they use) and it came down to the Nikon 60D and the Rebel XTI in the end.  I did peek at a Sony too, but it felt so cheesy in hand that I immediately disregarded it, despite it being $200 cheaper and coming with a better lens (better zoom, that is, plus Minolta is now owned by Sony).

Women (not allowed) in the Olympics

As the Olympic Games draw near, the media is abuzz with all sorts of issues – China’s human rights violations, harassment of Chinese media, the opening of protest zones in Beijing, all focused on China.  Even Iraq’s rejection from the Olympics got precious little media attention.

One story undoubtedly receiving the least attention is that of countries whose female population is banned from participation.  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Brunei prevent their talented athletes from participating in the most revered athletic competition in the world (as well as official sports in their own countries, of course).  Iran severely inhibits women from participation; this year, only three Iranian women will represent their country at the Olympics.

From HAMSAweb’s C.R.I.M.E. (Civil Rights in the Middle East) report:

While the International Olympic Committee bans any gender discrimination, these Gulf countries invoke “cultural and religious” reasons for forcing talented female athletes to stay home.

“Cultural and religious” reasons might as well read “blatant misogyny.”  What kind of an example does it set for young women in those countries?  Young Saudi women, many of whom do play sports, deserve strong role models too – and why should those role models come from other countries?  Why should a young Saudi athlete have to idolize Nibal Yamout, Yekaterina Kramarenko, or Amy Acuff?  She shouldn’t have to; she should have a strong Saudi woman to look up to.

Frankly, I think those countries should be banned from the Olympics until they can recognize the value in allowing their women to compete.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so; Ali Al-Ahmed’s Op-Ed for the International Herald Tribune argues the same point:

The International Olympic Committee charter states that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

But the Olympic Committee is failing to adhere to its own standards. While the hypothetical example of participating countries barring black athletes from the Olympic Games would have rightly caused international outrage, the committee continues to allow the participation of countries that do not allow women on their Olympic teams.

Al-Ahmed also encourages prominent female athletes to join in the cause and support their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Brunei, the UAE and elsewhere.

Although I’m rooting for several athletes from my own country, I will also be cheering for the women of Morocco’s Olympic team.  Unfortunately, I missed the 2004 Olympics in Morocco (it was right after I went back to the States), and winter sports aren’t really Morocco’s thing. So when August 8th comes around, expect cheers for Khadija Abbouda (archery), Mina Aithammou, Bouchra Chaabi, Hasna Benhassi, Siham Hilali, Btissam Lakhouad, Asmae Leghzaoui, Lamiae Lhabze, Hanane Ouhaddou, and Mariem Alaoui Selsouli (track and field), Mouna Benabderrassoul and Ghizlane Toudali (tae kwon do), and Sara Elbekri (swimming).

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