“So the real world boss land”: Obama in Jamaica

A selection of tweets from the day Obama arrived in Jamaica

Who knew how much Jamaicans love Barack Obama? I didn’t until he arrived yesterday and the country went into full One Love mode. “So the real world boss land” commented Colin Channer referring to the local self-titled Worl’ Boss, Vybz Kartel, languishing in jail. Meanwhile “We welcome the President on this hysterical moment” a newscaster is reputed to have babbled in his excitement. People congregated at key sections of the road from the airport to New Kingston but were disappointed when Obama was transported by helicopter instead of the Beast. Nevertheless as @wayneprawl tweeted: Marine One just frigging passed over my house. The entire Port Royal just erupted in waves and screams. Others noted that POTUS’s arrival had displaced the live draw of Cashpot, a national lottery, that never yields its airtime not even for the Olympics. Obama has managed to stop Cashpot and NOTHING stops Cashpot tweeted @jomariemalcolm in awe while Alison Stuart said: What! He stopped Cashpot!!!!! He mus really be a powerful man!!!!!!!

Meanwhile my neighbour Deborah Anzinger told me her daughter Zoe, 6, had asked if her parents could take her to talk to  Obama. What do you want to talk to him about? her mother asked. Her answer: she wants to ask him “why are you here?”

#outofthemouthsofbabes

On the future of America’s children or whether Obama will have a different approach this time around | Greenpeace International

On the future of America’s children or whether Obama will have a different approach this time around | Greenpeace International.

Barack Obama: Certified Worl’ Boss

Images of Obama after historic second term win…

The US Presidential race is over. And Obama has prevailed. What a relief.  The race was so close Zina Saunders who was asked to design a cover image for the New York Observer had to come up with three cover images to cover every eventuality:

On Sunday afternoon, Ed Johnson at the NY Observer wrote with a cover assignment that thrilled and terrified me at the same time. The thrill? Painting the election cover! The terror? They needed to have 3 variations to cover all possible election outcomes (Obama wins, it’s a tie when they go to press, and Obama…gulp…loses). So, yeah, the prospect of Romney winning struck terror in my heart. And it was an awful feeling painting a sad Obama face for the Romney Wins variation. Awful, awful.

Read Zina’s blogpost for the full 100….

Meanwhile below are some other images i acquired from Facebook. They say it all I think…

And my favourite tweet of the evening was the following just before Obama finally made an appearance to give his speech:

Rob Hyndman@rhh

I want Obama to come out in a huge Afro wig. To the soundtrack of Shaft.

And favourite Facebook update:

Colorado, yes we CANNABIS!

 

By Charis Tsevis, via Michael Thompson
Random images circulating on Facebook

‘A Voice for the Voiceless’: @Arundhati_Roy vs Arundhati Roy

A look at campaigns of different sorts from political, to personal, to religious to hate…also a focused look at @Arundhati_Roy’s late, great Twitter account which has been suspended for reasons unknown.

I like the way the author of this virtual poster has co-opted former US President Bush into such a neatly executed visual sabotage rescue mission. The USA’s political shenanigans. Will Obama survive the concerted effort to derail him? Waiting and watching…

Meanwhile the following terse message arrived by email this morning:

i am Mrs. Bintu Mahmud. Please contact my lawyer Ramli Sariman (barr_ramli_sariman09@gala.net) for a very important thing ALLAH wants you to do for Him. May ALLAH be with you always.

Surely no practising Muslim would be foolish enough to circulate such a message in today’s climate. Is it part of some anti-Islam campaign? All i know is that Yahoo has been really good about catching all such Spam messages with its filters, i wonder how this one escaped?

And by snail mail i received a tiny envelope, the kind the postman leaves for you before Christmas, postmarked Trinidad and Tobago. Inside: two business card-sized cards. You are not who we thought you were, says one, and We are not who you had in mind proclaims the other in 14-point serif type. On the back of each card is a green star in the upper left corner and –Les Argotieres, in the bottom right corner. My address is written in ink on the envelope in chiselled letters by a calligraphic hand. Is this a new company? an advertising campaign of some sort? What? Who? One awaits full revelations at the earliest.

Finally @Arundhati_Roy whom many believed to be the author of The God of Small Things has had her Twitter account suspended. I had written about the purported Roy account in its early days. More recently Roy’s Twitter avatar has been proclaimed a fake, something i find hard to believe, the tweets were so typical of Roy’s taut, tart x-ray observations on life in the late capitalist lane. What we do know is that before the account was suspended @Arundhati_Roy came under attack for views the activist had expressed on Pakistan and India’s Maoists among other things. Below are her/his last few tweets and some tweets from Roy’s critics. For convenience I have prefixed @Arundhati_Roy’s tweets with the label ARoy:

ARoy: As long as your heart beats, make sure it’s with good intentions… RT @vjlive: @Arundhati_Roy Should a good heart need contours to beat…
Wed 18 Aug. 12.46

ARoy: “Businesses resist ‘conflict minerals’ law.” First the Congo, then where? Who will mine the bauxite? http://bit.ly/dA9bAB
Wed 18 Aug. 2.31

ARoy: Glad you have that philosophy. Suiting you well? RT @krishnakacker: Unfortunately, the way to hell is also paved with good intentions!
19 Aug 14.14

ARoy: When I feel like I don’t belong, draw the strength from the words when you said, Hey, It’s about you, baby. Look deeper inside you, baby…
19 Aug 14.17

@KanchanGupta @Arundhati_Roy Pakistan wants you. Pakistan needs you. Won’t you rise to the occasion and buy a one-way ticket to the promised land?
19 Aug 14.19

ARoy: @KanchanGupta tickets i find are never one way. I have places to go. This WORLD is my home…Go be antagonistic to someone who cares for it.
19 Aug 14.20

@KanchanGupta @Arundhati_Roy I wouldn’t dare antagonise you, what with your bum-chums with big-big guns.
19 Aug 14.23

@Arundhati_Roy By the way, Maomata recently told me you are a “claash owan frawd” and a “tormooj” — green outside, red inside.
19 Aug 14.28

@Dilir123 @Arundhati_Roy earlier asked you a question. Just saw myself how an indian j0urno hates you! you were very calm. i’m not paki nor indi just
19 Aug 15.21

@Arundhati_Roy just a bangladeshi want to knw what did you do/write that these ppl r so mad about?
19 Aug 15.26

ARoy: @Dilir123 I think that one whom you’re speaking of is just jealous that I have a few more followers than him. Just ignore him… #noisemaker
19 Aug 15.51

ARoy: maybe in US RT @aurosan: Up to 10% of Pakistanis might die due to cholera in water http://bit.ly/9bhAZH Why isn’t anyone talking about this?
19 Aug 14.35

ARoy: Bad dreams in the night, they told me I was going to lose the fight. Leave behind my wuthering heights…
20 Aug 8.39

ARoy: http://bit.ly/bV0F1j
20 Aug 10.04

ARoy: I family on their lot in Pakistan, yes. RT @Libraryben: Pakistan? RT @Arundhati_Roy: http://bit.ly/bV0F1j
20 Aug 13.04

ARoy: If caring for ppl not part of a political agenda makes me one, so be it RT @mahasamant: @Arundhati_Roy PAKISTAN GIVES YOU POPULARITY#TRAITOR
20 Aug 13.04

@Shonatwits @Arundhati_Roy When you can serve people at your door step what will you serve in Pakistan? Stop this hypocrisy u r just losing ur respect!
20 Aug 13.19

ARoy: @Shonatwits Statements have been stated. Press releases have been released…Criticize policy makers, not a voice for the voiceless…
20 Aug 13.22

ARoy: Lost inside adorable illusion, and I cannot hide. I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside…
20 Aug 13.26

@Arundhati_Roy Ms. Roy, you ROCK.
20 Aug 13.57

ARoy: @aseemvadehra what “rocks” is reading the critics disassemble that one…
20 Aug 14.02

ARoy:  I am in love with what we are, and not what we “should” be. And I am. I am starstruck with every part of this whole story…
23 Aug 03.07

I echo the question asked by one of the tweeple quoted above: Arundhati Roy what did you do/write that these ppl r so mad about? Because their questions were addressed to the author and activist regardless of who was tweeting in her name…

True or False? Verifying internet reportage

Report on my appearance on BBC World Have Your Say, the Shirley Sherrod case

Yesterday was a busy day and there was more than one reason i was glad  i had the good sense to turn back from Reggae Sumfest and return to Kingston the day before. The following tweet should give you some idea of the first good reason:
endzoftheearth Organisers need to do something abt the mud! Stones, grAvel, cardbord boxes, plywood – something #sumfestismudfest.
Being rained on all night long in a mud lake i can do without.

The other good reason was that i got a good night’s sleep and was able to compile the first report on Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night by anyone anywhere by 9 am on Friday morning. And the reward for that came in the number of hits i got on this new blog platform I’ve been trying so hard to get people to visit.

Shirley Sherrod

The third good reason was that i was able to accept the BBC World Have Your Say programme’s invitation to participate in their globally aired discussion on internet rights and wrongs emanating from the firing and subsequent re-hiring of American civil servant Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod had allegedly made ‘racist’ remarks in a two minute video clip that later turned out to have been edited in a way that removed the context of her 43 minute speech. Whose responsibility is it to verify the reliability of material such as this? On whom should the burden of proof fall and thereby the penalty for purveying such misinformation? Is information transmitted via social media such as YouTube or Twitter making us ‘jump the gun’ as Obama said when the White House was forced to apologize to Sherrod and offer her another job?

As Obama put it “we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles.” The word for this is ‘blogswarm’.

So does the internet make us too quick to judge? Or is there wisdom in the blogswarm? asked BBC WHYS and the discussion that followed was a rich one that i was glad to be a part of. Also participating were former journalist Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR from Redding,UK, UK Guardian columnist, American Mike Tomasky, who is also  editor of Democracy journal. Other participants included Andrew Keene, author of The Cult of the Amateur: How the Democratization of the Digital World is Assaulting Our Economy, Our Culture, and Our Values, blogger Lola Adesioye from the US and Owais Ehsan, student of mass media and a blogger at Pro-Pakistan, in Islamabad.

The discussion was a lively one and was further enlivened by a caller from Jamaica, Omar, who made the point that it’s not only national media or internet bloggers that are guilty of posting misinformation but also international corporations; in Jamaica’s  2007 general elections, he claimed the BBC attributed something on their website to then Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller without verifying the accuracy of their source.

It’s true that the rapidly proliferating use of social media frequently lends itself to distortions and misrepresentations. For instance in my blogpost on Reggae Sumfest yesterday in which i was relying on tweets from the location for information i think i misinterpreted a tweet about Bounty’s ‘state of urgency utterance, and presented it in a particular way because of that. I thought he was castigating the government for the prolonged State of Emergency and recommending that they have a state of urgency instead about other crucial unmet needs when it turns out that he supported the SOE and was urging the government to go further by declaring a ‘state of urgency’ “towards correcting the ills that had been meted out to the people of Jamaica by successive governments” to quote Gleaner writer Janet Silvera in her article Bounty preaches change.

Rodney ‘Bounty Killer’ Pryce displays his award at the Sumfest show at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay on Thursday, which was designated Dancehall Night. The organisers of the event gave Pryce the award for his contribution to Reggae Sumfest. – Photo by adrian frater

The point i want to make is that while social media may sometimes tend to be less than reliable, it also allows faulty information to be corrected before serious damage is done provided the source is above board,  has no ulterior motive and is willing to make the necessary changes. This surely would be the case with most bloggers, tweeters and others whose popularity depends on the quality of what they put out.

For the others, that is those who deliberately put out misinformation for propaganda purposes, and have no intention of retrieving the situation–in this case, Andrew Breitbart— a blacklist or some other form of aggressive disincentive should be developed.

Click on the following link if you want to hear the whole discussion. Does the internet mean we’re too quick to judge?