The Best Blogs . . .

best_blogsMiguel’s blog was actually being read by people outside his village!  He could hardly believe it but wasn’t going to complain—he’d worked hard to learn how to blog and felt his message was worth reading—the oppression of his people…

Within a year, his blog was being more than just noticed; it was being quoted on other blogs and seemed to be reaching people who had some influence that just might aid his Cause…

Shortly after his blog’s first birthday, Miguel was asked to contribute to an international online journal about oppression of indigenous peoples. Miguel was very happy with his plight even though he had to take more care when he walked in the town near his village—word was reaching the authorities . . .

~~~~~~~~~

That little snippet of a story was created by me but inspired by real stories I’ve read about the “reach” of apparently humble blogs—about the surging energy of thousands of citizen journalists.

I’ve recently discovered a major source of journalism that honors bloggers, worldwide. Here’s a short statement from Deutsche Welle  who sponsors the BOBs—Best of the Blogs—Awards:

“Welcome to the BOBs, the world’s largest international awards for Weblogs, podcasts and videoblogs. Since its inception four years ago, the BOBs have grown to include 11 languages. The winners of each year’s awards are decided by both an international jury of bloggers and through online voting.”

Here are just a few of the top winners:

Generación Y ~ Best Weblog

Author: Yoani Sanchez
Language: Spanish
Date: 2008-09-03
More: Details
Comments93 
The Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has been transformed over the past year into an international personality. In Generation Y, she gives voice to a whole generation of Cubans and provides the world with a window into Cuba through her clear and poetic writing.

Voices of Africa ~ Best Videoblog

Author: Various
Language: English
Date: 2008-09-25
More: Details
Voices of Africa is a project to equip citizen journalists in Africa with mobile phones and/or portable digital recorders so they can report on the events happening around them. The local more…

Ohod ~ Best Weblog Arabic

Author: Ahmad 
Language: Arabic
Date: 2008-09-30
More: Details
Comments
Ahmad provides an introduction to independent culture in Egypt, the Arab world and elsewhere. His short commentaries on social issues and reflections are pieces of Arabic literature.

刘晓原的BLOG ~ Best Weblog Chinese

Author: 刘晓原
Language: Chinese
Date: 2008-09-24
More: Details
Comments112 
Liu Xiaoyuan is a self-educated lawyer. He got his official license to work as a lawyer in 2000. He has been writing his blog for the 3 years and helps people protect themselves in their more…

Spiritual Quote :

“In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were wellnigh impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one. And for everyone it is now easy to travel to any land, to associate and exchange views with its peoples, and to become familiar, through publications, with the conditions, the religious beliefs and the thoughts of all men. In like manner all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly interdependent. For none is self-sufficiency any longer possible…”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 31

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Who Are The Poor ?

poorAre you poor? Do you know someone who is?

Most of humanity is poor…

Even the richest people on earth run the risk of being poor in spirit.

I want you to contrast your memory of the largest, most exciting event you’ve ever seen (especially if it was in an affluent country)—full of cheering crowds, ecstatic children, thunderous music, and fantastic displays; contrast that with the following video—produced all over the world  and performed by some of the poor majority—then, tell yourself which event is more uplifting to your soul:

Produced by Playing for Change

I can’t help but feel that things like the Superbowl or the Rose Parade or the extravaganza of the recent U. S. Presidential Campaign not only don’t help my soul but probably darken it just a bit…

Our souls need to truly connect with other souls, not through massive productions that worship money and privilege but through events that let us truly participate, even if only to sing along with the video…

Spiritual Quote :

“They who are possessed of riches…must have the utmost regard for the poor, for great is the honor destined by God for those poor who are steadfast in patience. By My life! There is no honor, except what God may please to bestow, that can compare to this honor. Great is the blessedness awaiting the poor that endure patiently and conceal their sufferings, and well is it with the rich who bestow their riches on the needy and prefer them before themselves.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 202

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Citizen Media

mediaCalling all World Citizens!

Are you letting the rest of our human family know what’s really going on where you live?

Well, actually, I’m only able to call on all English-speaking  World Citizens. It’s a shame I can only afford a blog platform that costs nothing and, therefore, can’t install translation software…

I included a post about the problems of World Citizens having clear communications in my recent series, Path Toward Peace , but I trust there are those of you reading this who can translate for other World Citizens you know…

I was prompted to write this post today by the following news story:

From OneWorld.Net: Obama Urged to Reform Media, Protect Internet
“As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to name a new leader of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a chief technology officer at the White House, more than 100 advocates of a free and open media — including some of the most well-known musicians, bloggers, and policy analysts in the country — are urging him to remain true to campaign pledges to diversify media ownership; renew public media; and promote fast, affordable, and open Internet access.”

I felt this story, about a newly-elected President of the United States who’s received such acclaim world-wide, was a good lead-in to a series of papers I discovered recently that assess the state of Citizen Media and its interaction with the mainstream sources of what’s actually happening in our world.

That video is from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University  and they’ve published twelve fascinating papers on the topic of Digital Media.

I’ve uploaded (so you can download ) the Adobe .pdf of the Overview: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age.

You may feel you can’t take on the task of reporting events to the world but one example I can cite is this blogger, me , who’s on a small military pension, living in a small apartment, only able to use software that’s free, yet, still sending this report out to the world…

Also, CNN has recently started a site where they say, “…the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

Then, there are the many other efforts to aid Citizen Journalists as represented in this search page from Google.

Plus, there’s the beginner’s tutorial on Global Citizen Media (available in three other languages besides English) from RisingVoices.

We often feel we can only take care of our own lives in this crisis-ridden world, yet, telling the rest of the world about your struggles to live your life would be a fine beginning as a Citizen Journalist!

Spiritual Quote :

“People need to think of themselves as world citizens and understand their personal responsibility… Campaigns to raise public awareness of the challenges of world citizenship must make use of the full range of media and the arts, including television, video, film, radio, electronic networks, books, magazines, posters, flyers, theater and music. These campaigns should enlist the advertising and entertainment industries, the media—both traditional and non-traditional—the entire UN system, all member states, NGOs, and popular personalities. They should reach out to the home, the work place, public areas and schools.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Jun 14, World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development

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We All Have Rights, unless . . .

rightsPeople just love to shout about their personal “rights”. Groups love to petition about “our  rights”. Organizations love to write official papers about “human rights”.

So, why do so many people not have their rights respected?

And, which rights are Right ?

Not to mention, who decides what rights belong to which people?

Take a moment to consider these recent news clips:

From OneWorld.Net: Anger in Kosovo as UN ‘Muzzles’ Democracy Leader

From Times Online, UK: Call for access to education for all members of the Iranian Baha’i community

From GlobalVoices: “08 Charter” (blueprint for the democracy prospect in China) Signers Arrested and Questioned by Police

From Bahá’í World News Service: Faith groups sign human rights statement

Some people effectively have no  rights…

Some people spend almost all their time screaming about having their rights trampled on…

Some folks stay calm, put up with those who trample on their rights, and continue to work, quietly but effectively, to ensure the rights of all the members of our human family…

I have no “point” to make in this post; just want to stir things up.

So, I’ll urge you to let yourself be stirred up by 12-year-old Severn Suzuki speaking at the UN Earth Summit in 1992:

Spiritual Quote :

“Ultimately…the emergence of a peaceful and just social order animated by moral principle is contingent upon a fundamental redefinition of all human relationships—among individuals themselves, between human society and the natural world, between the individual and the community, and between individual citizens and their governing institutions. In particular, outmoded notions of power and authority need to be recast. A basic reconceptualization of social reality is thus envisioned, a reality that in spirit and practice reflects the principle of the oneness of humankind. To accept that ‘the body of humankind is one and indivisible’ is to recognize that every human being is ‘born into the world as a trust of the whole’.”
Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions

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