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97-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor scoring high on TikTok

Tik Tok a youngster gadget

We know already of Hadassah Tirosh who has amassed over 2 million followers on TikTok, where she proudly and openly shares about her Jewishness. She is not only Jewish, but also a Mexican Israeli trans content creator. whose early content, which begins in December of 2019 was posted under her previous name, David, who she remembers fondly and has taken the time to thank for helping her become the person she is today — she’s seen proudly wearing different colourful kippahs, her Star of David necklace and being generally proud and open about her Jewishness.

In 2021 Tik Tok is the seventh most used in the world, with the majority of its users being millennial and Gen Z. But it might be a very high surprise to find a 97-year old lady being a “hipster”.
Lily Ebert isn’t your typical 97-year-old. In June, after only joining the platform earlier this year, Ebert reached 1 million followers on Tik Tok and has now amassed over 1.2 million in total.
How?
Ebert is a Holocaust survivor and, together with her great-grandson Dov Forman who runs her account, is teaching the internet about her remarkable life and experiences as a survivor of Auschwitz and how she made a life for herself after liberation.

Lily Ebert from the camps

Lily Ebert

Lily Ebert, born in Bonyhád, Hungary on 29th December 1923

Originally from Hungary, Lily Ebert, the eldest of six children in a happy and loving family. When the Nazis invaded Hungary in March 1944, her family got to face the worst nightmare one can wish for.

Shortly after Germany invaded Hungary, Lily, her mother and her siblings were sent to the ghetto, and soon after were put on a train, crammed into dark and almost airless cattle wagons, to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Lily at the age of about 4 or 5 had received from her mother a small gold pendant. Even then it wasn’t very expensive or unique but young Lily was very pleased with her present and now in the camp she did not want it to be taken by the Nazis. The small pendant had gone hiding, safe inside the heel of her mother’s shoe. Lily and her mother wore the same size of shoe and as they arrived at the camp her mother asked Lily to swap shoes with her.

Although this happened over 70 years ago Lily can still remember her arrival at the camp. After the long and terrible journey, ‘everyone was half-dead’. They were ordered to climb out of the train and stand together five in a row. There was a man with a stick in his hand. It was Dr Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor who became known as the Angel of Death for his brutal experiments on inmates, though at the time Lily didn’t know who he was. With one movement of his hand Dr Mengele sealed the fate of the people before him. He sent people right or left — to life or to death. When they had arrived, Lily and her two sisters Renee and Piri were sent in one direction, while her mother Nina, brother Bela and sister Berta were sent to the left, the way to the gas chambers and crematorium. Lily never saw them again.

Lily had put on her mother’s shoes and was ordered to take a shower, whereafter her hair was cut, and their remaining belongings were stolen. It was her only remaining possession and a reminder of her happy childhood. It was a link to her murdered mother and a symbol of defiance. The Nazis would not be allowed to steal it! The Nazis left them with only their shoes, not having any idea of what was hidden in the heel of Lily’s shoe, the tiny pendant Lily’s last link with her mother. When the shoes wore out, she placed the pendant in her daily ration of bread. After about four months in Auschwitz, the sisters were transferred to an ammunition factory near Leipzig. The pendant went with them.

March to liberation after a human and a viral war

When the Front started closing in on the area, they were forced to leave Leipzig and sent on a two-day march. After seeing and suffering unimaginable horrors, on the second day of the march, April 13, 1945, they were finally liberated by Allied forces.

Lily tried to rebuild her life. She wore the pendant every day in memory of her murdered family. Eventually, she married and had children. In 1953 she was reunited with Imre, one of her brothers, who had been imprisoned in a Nazi labour camp. In 1967 she came to London with her husband and three children.

Having become a proud grandmother she came to face another life-threatening struggle: COVID-19. In January, she struggled with a brutal bout of the virus, but true to her nature, she fought through. For her it was her second chance to be alive.  It was then that her great-grandson Dov Forman decided to share a photo of his great-grandmother to Twitter celebrating her miraculous recovery.

Dov Forman

My 97-Year-old Great Grandma, Lily Ebert BEM – Auschwitz Survivor, has just recovered from Covid- 19. Today she went on her first walk in a month after making a miraculous recovery. A fighter and survivor

Image

The response was extraordinary; the photo has since been retweeted over 17,000 times and has received more than a quarter of a million likes, with people from all over the world responding to send their well-wishes and express their admiration for Lily’s strength and bravery.

Finding viral fame

On the back of this unexpected reaction, Dov set up a TikTok account for Lily. At first, their videos mainly consisted of Dov introducing his great-grandmother and encouraging people to follow the account in order to have her story reach as many people as possible. But once they started building up a following, people quickly began expressing an interest in the details of Lily’s extraordinary life.

Soon enough, the account became dedicated to answering followers’ questions about the Holocaust and Lily’s experiences of it, with questions ranging from asking what they ate in the camp, to what happened to babies that were born there, and what the sleeping conditions were like.

She also remembered some Hungarian poems and recites them on the application.

No human anymore, but just a number

Though it is not always easy to answer all the questions she gets, she finds it a necessary act:

“Of course it is hard but if I could survive it, I can talk about it. And for the future, to ensure that something similar [to the Holocaust] cannot happen again, I have to talk about it.”

Lily’s most viewed video, now with over 20 million views, shows her answering the question,

“How did it feel to get your number in Auschwitz?”

Revealing a faded tattoo on her left arm, Lily confidently tells her followers:

My number is A-10572. That is what I was, they did not call us by our name. We were no longer humans. We were only a number and we were treated like numbers.”

The video now has over 29,000 comments from people expressing their solidarity with Lily and gratitude for her honesty and strength.

Downsides of Tik Tok and Twitter, also platforms of hate talk

However, despite the overwhelmingly positive reactions and encouraging words of support, like all social media platforms, TikTok comes with its downsides, too. For Jewish creators on TikTok, the fun comes with a hefty dose of antisemitism.

It seems as if the kids on TikTok are churning out a new trend nearly every week. The never-ending scroll of the “For You Page” sends users on a twisting path of all sorts of niches and topics. The app truly has something for every interest, from sea shanty challenges to tortilla wrap hacks to — antisemitic caricatures?

In May, around the time when violence was escalating between Israel and Palestine, Ebert’s account received a slew of hateful antisemitic comments. In one particular instance, under a video of Lily simply wishing her followers “a lovely, peaceful weekend”, and by a repeated similar wish in Hungarian, her native language, she added “Shabbat Shalom,” despite the mundanity and kindness of this video, it quickly became the subject of a swarm of hateful comments. it went even so far that she was called to be responsible for the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Another said, “Happy Holocaust,” while another said,

“Ask her if she thinks the treatment of Palestinians reminds her [of] the treatment she got in the camp.”

Another response was

“Peace be upon Hitlar [sic]”

to one which asked if she believed the treatment of Palestinians reminded her of her treatment in the camps. All of this for a grandmother’s simple greeting. Sadly, this experience of antisemitic hate isn’t exactly unique.

Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert's TikTok account was hit with antisemitic messages. (Campaign Against Antisemitism via JTA)Although these comments were clearly abhorrent, unjustified and unacceptable, like everything else Lily and Dov handled them with the utmost dignity. Posting to Twitter, Dov wrote:

“Over the past few days my great Grandmother (Auschwitz survivor) and I have continued to receive messages of hate on Tiktok and Twitter… We will not allow this to stop us from educating about the horrors of the past, and what hatred can lead to. Hate only breeds hate.”

Hero Magnus, a university student and TikToker, explains how her Judaism-related content would often get slammed by offensive comments.

“The really vicious comments are usually from actual Nazis, and I just block and delete. When I was making a ton of Jewish content, I would get a couple of those on practically every video,”

she explains.

“I often also got casually mean stuff from Christians or culturally Christian atheists who wanted to tell me that Judaism is backwards, cultish or stupid.”

Additionally, Jews of Colour on TikTok experience vitriol both from outside the Jewish community and within.

Shekhiynah Larks, a Black Jewish TikTok creator, describes that, in fact, most of the antisemitism she experiences on the app comes from white Jews and Black non-Jews, not Neo-Nazis.

“When I do receive antisemitic comments, it’s more coded with anti-Blackness at the same time,”

Larks says.

“It’s more people posting ‘free Palestine’ on my page and asking me how I can be Black and a Jew, I’m being brainwashed by white Jews, and that I don’t care about Black people.”

She also notes that many white Jews comment on her videos asking her invasive questions that probe into her Jewish identity and conversion, showing they don’t really view her as Jewish enough.

Aviva Davis writes:

There are many white and white-passing Jews using their platforms to share information and educational resources about systemic racism and anti-Semitism and how one’s identities intersect and influence the way one is treated in society. This is great! Better yet, share resources created by Jews of Color (hint hint, nudge nudge).

Aviva Majerczyk remarks

While the invalidation of Jews of Color is rampant throughout the Jewish community in real life as well, on TikTok, these racist commenters may feel more empowered to voice their backwards views behind anonymous accounts.

Still going strong

Lily Ebert keeps going strong. She still wears the tiny gold pendant and shares its remarkable story with all those who have time to listen.

As part of their mission to teach people about the Holocaust and its devastating effects, Lily and Dov have now co-authored a book together called “Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live.” to come out coming September.

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Angry Iranians marching on capital over water shortages

Blazing heat and water shortages hit Iran in July, especially the province of Khuzestan. The situation prompted protests from angry locals, which have been harshly suppressed. Reports say Iranian security forces used live ammunition and killed at least 8 people.

Dozens of Iranians marched down a major street in Tehran on Monday, online videos show, amid ongoing protests over water shortages in southwestern Iran.

The demonstrators are seen in the videos marching down Jomhuri Islami Avenue — or “Islamic Republic Avenue” in Farsi — and calling on police to support them. Men on motorbikes and those in cars behind them honk their horns in time with their shouts.

The demonstrators later dispersed peacefully. Security forces have maintained a heavier-than-normal presence recently in the Iranian capital.

The semi-official Fars news agency later reported the demonstrations, but blamed them on a power outage at a nearby shopping center on the avenue known for its electronics shops. Fars published a video online that shows police on motorcycles and on foot, at one point talking to the crowd.

While the protests were peaceful, several demonstrators shouted, “Death to the dictator!”

That phrase can lead to the demonstrator being arrested and prosecuted in the Islamic Republic, where the civilian government is overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

Iran has faced rolling blackouts for weeks now, in part over what authorities describe as a severe drought. Precipitation had decreased by almost 50% in the last year, leaving dams with dwindling water supplies.

Iran has faced rolling blackouts for weeks now, in part over what authorities describe as a severe drought. Precipitation had decreased by almost 50% in the last year, leaving dams with dwindling water supplies.

The protests in Khuzestan come as Iran struggles through repeated surges of infections in the coronavirus pandemic and as thousands of workers in its oil industry have launched strikes for better wages and conditions.

Iran’s economy also has struggled under US sanctions since President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, crashing the value of the Islamic Republic’s currency, the rial.

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The Iranian American Frieda Afary looking with (republican?) American eyes at Iran

We wonder where the Iranian American Frieda Afary  gets it from that it would be

leftists and so-called socialists around the world who support the Iranian regime as “anti-imperialist” or refuse to criticize it.

Lots of leftists and communists groups are totally against the Iranian regime and any form of oppression of citizens in general. We do know that there are several by Americans “so called leftists” or “communists” are doing good work to support people in Iran and Afghanistan and even are working hard to get them out of the hands of the Islamic murderers.

Frieda Afary should also wonder who is helping a lot of the protesters in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. the “leftists” and “communists” are bringing slogans on the streets like:

“Down with Dictatorship.”, “Down With Khamenei”, “We Don’t Want An Islamic Republic”, “The People Want the Regime to Fall.”

InIran: A New Wave of Mass Protests and StrikesFrieda Afary for the rest of her wrong remark (perhaps part of her American citizenship and paranoia for everything that seems “social”) seems to bring a very good overview of the terrible situation. She also seems to overlook that there are leftist groups who support the people and not the regime, even though she brings the words of a statement of solidarity by the Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate:

“The lack of water in Khuzestan today is rooted in the unprofessional, rapacious and profit-centered policies of the prior decades of capitalism in oil extraction and use of water for the steel industry, the income from which does not go to the people.  These insatiable policies have deprived the people of Khuzestan of safe drinking water.  Water is shut off for long hours and it is lacking for basic needs.  Farmers and cattle growers have also been damaged and lost their livelihoods.”  (https://www.akhbar-rooz.com/%d8%b3%d9%86%d8%af%db%8c%da%a9%d8%a7%db%8c-%d8%b4%d8%b1%da%a9%d8%aa-%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%ad%d8%af-%d8%b3%d8%b1%da%a9%d9%88%d8%a8-%d9%88-%da%a9%d8%b4%d8%aa%d8%a7%d8%b1-%d9%85%d8%b1%d8%af%d9%85-%d8%ac%d8%a7/)

She writes:

The latest protests have followed a series of nationwide strikes of temporary contract workers in Iran’s oil and gas industry which is also heavily based in Khuzestan. The strikes which began on June 19 and have spread to a hundred production sites, are demanding permanent employment status, a $500 monthly wage, safe working conditions and the right to organize and be free of police surveillance. Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers on strike in Khuzestan are also asking for COVID vaccination and expressing solidarity with protests against the lack of water.

In her interesting article she further looks at:

  • Economic Crisis and COVID Pandemic
  • Women Prisoners and Afghan Refugees
  • Iran’s Continuing Regional Ambitions and U.S. Imperialism’s “Solutions”
  • Needed Progressive Solidarity with Struggles inside Iran

Any effort to engage in solidarity with the struggles inside Iran begins not only with calling for the removal of U.S. sanctions and an end to Israel’s attacks, but also simultaneously holding the Iranian regime accountable for its repression and exploitation of the people and environment of the region.

Frieda Afary should know that several “leftist”, “socialists” and “communists” groups go against all the American interferences in the Middle East and urge for the immediate release of political prisoners, expressing solidarity with striking workers, feminist and environmental struggles, oppressed ethnic, sexual and religious minorities, and demanding Iran’s withdrawal from Syria, Iraq and an end to its interventions in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Yemen.

Please find the article to read > Iran: A New Wave of Mass Protests and Strikes

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Iran’s water crisis stokes another round of protests

The 42 years of Islamic fundamentalism proved that this so religious system is as corrupt like any other system where people in power try to earn as much they can for themselves (at the cost of the population).

We shall have to face not only political refugees but soon more ecological refugees.

Democracy for Iran

By Struan Stevenson

July 26 (UPI) –Prior to the 1979 revolution, Iran’s population of 34 million people relied on a stable water supply, sourced from millennia-old underground canals and aquifers. The Iranian revolution, hijacked by the mullahs, changed all that.

The theocratic regime handed control of the nationalized water industry — and indeed over 80% of all other business, industrial and service sectors — to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime’s equivalent of the Gestapo. The IRGC answers directly to the elderly supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It pays no tax and corruptly siphons vast financial resources into its own pockets and into financing proxy wars and terrorism across the Middle East and further afield.

The IRGC members use oil revenues stolen from the Iranian people to race ahead with the clandestine construction of a nuclear weapon and ballistic missile delivery systems capable of reaching Tel Aviv, Israel…

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Europe’s catastrophic flooding was forecast well in advance – what went so wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Hannah Cloke  advises the Environment Agency, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, local and national governments and humanitarian agencies on the forecasting and warning of natural hazards. She is a Council member of the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, a fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, a fellow of the Centre for Natural Hazards & Disaster Science in Sweden and is also affiliated to Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is funded by the UKRI Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am a flood forecaster who helped to set up the forecasting system that was used to predict the recent floods in Germany and surrounding countries. I saw days in advance that they were coming. I read reports of rainfall and river levels rising. And then I watched with growing horror as the death toll surged.

The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), which I helped to set up, is part of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. It provides early information on flooding to national and local authorities across Europe. I work closely with people there in my role as an independent flood scientist at the University of Reading to improve and analyse EFAS data. I don’t work in the team that issues early flood information to authorities, but looking at the data with colleagues, I could see early on just how serious the floods looked.

Forecasts on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 for the Rhine catchment, covering Germany and Switzerland, had shown a high probability of flooding that would begin on Tuesday July 13. Subsequent forecasts also showed the Meuse in Belgium would be affected. The forecasts in the following days showed that there was little doubt that a major flood was coming.

EFAS sends out bulletins of early information which are designed to be read, understood and acted on by experts. They are not directly available to the public. Public flood warnings come from the national and regional weather, environment and civil protection agencies, and EFAS information needs to be used by these authorities alongside their own forecasts.

The first EFAS bulletin was sent to the relevant national authorities on Saturday July 10. More updates continued over the following days as more precise predictions became available. Formal flood notifications were issued to authorities in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission throughout Monday and Tuesday. As the event neared and uncertainty in the forecast shrank, the predicted start of the flooding was pushed to Wednesday for smaller rivers and Thursday for the larger downstream rivers. Around 25 individual warnings were sent out to parts of the Rhine and Meuse.

The German weather service, DWD, had independently forecast extremely high rainfall too and issued warnings for more than 200 mm of rain in the same areas several days ahead of time, saying that flooding was possible. Regional warnings were also issued, for example by the Environment Agency in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the areas hit particularly hard by flooding.

The floods that did happen matched the scale and distribution of those that were forecast several days before. I was very surprised, therefore, that so many people died, given that authorities knew about the event and had sufficient warnings to get people to safety before the floods began.

Where flood warnings fail

Clearly, tragically, the whole system designed to save lives by ensuring people act on warnings before floods arrive, did not work as it should have done. It may be that individual parts of the system worked exactly as they were designed, and it is certainly true that forecasts were accurate, and there were some warnings issued through official channels. In some areas, many authorities did act in time, to evacuate people, erect temporary flood defences, and move vehicles to higher ground. But this clearly did not happen everywhere.

In the middle of an election campaign, some German leaders in national and regional government still seemed to defend the locally-devolved nature of disaster management in Germany, insisting that the warnings were adequate and agencies did their work well. It is like claiming that the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a success because 99% of its engineering worked perfectly throughout. While their arguments may be true on an individual scale, unless those in power admit that the system ultimately failed, they risk failing to learn lessons and put others at risk in the future.

Science, in large part, is about helping people see the invisible. What is the use of a perfect forecast if the people it is supposed to warn cannot see the danger they are in? Effective flood warnings require people to be able to see into the future and imagine their house full of water, to assess the likelihood of that happening, and to see the multiple paths they could take to keep them, their family, and their property safe.


Read more: Report from Europe’s flood zone: researcher calls out early warning system gridlock amid shocking loss of life


I recently took part in an exercise encouraging scientists, from senior professors to school pupils, to trace the path of water in a river through time using just their imagination. Weeks later, we are seeing what happens when people cannot visualise the threat of a river ripping down their street, or a lake appearing in their house. These are the elements of flood warnings that must improve.

As climate change increases risks from heatwaves, fires and floods, we need to not only slash emissions but prepare ourselves for the problems we already have in store. Even with sufficient decarbonisation measures – which we are still yet to see from any major government – there is no avoiding the consequences of a hotter, more turbulent environment.

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Suggested further reading

McEwan, L., Garde-Hansen, J., Holmes, A., Jones, O. & Krause, R. (2016). Sustainable flood memories, lay knowledges and the development of community resilience to future flood risk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 14 – 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12149.

Alexander, M., Priest, S. & Penning-Roswell, E. (2017). The risk of ill-informed reform: The future for English flood risk management. Area, 50, 426 – 429. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12393.

Forrest, S., Trell, E. & Woltjer, J. (2018). Civil society contributions to local level flood resilience: Before, during and after the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Upper Calder Valley. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44, 422 – 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12279.

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Europe Floods: Death Toll Over 110 as Rescues Continue

Probably we are looking at more than 150 victims of the heavy rain and flooding which took parts of Germany, Belgium and the South of the Netherlands. Authorities said late Thursday that about 1,300 people in Germany were still listed missing, but cautioned that the high figure could be due to duplication of data and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone connections.

In Belgium, Pepinster, Theux, Chaudfontaine, Spa, Liège a.o. got enough water to forget draughts for months. Most of the drowned were found around Liege, where the rains hit hardest. Skies were largely overcast in eastern Belgium, with hopes rising that the worst of the calamity was over.

Please find this report about the flash floods this week which followed days of heavy rainfall, sweeping away cars and causing houses to collapse across the region.

“Some parts of Western Europe … received up to two months of rainfall in the space of two days. What made it worse is that the soils were already saturated by previous rainfall,”

said Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization.

Those who keep saying Climate chance is an invention of revolutionaries and lefties, should have a better look of how our weather becomes unpredictable.

Extreme weather events are hitting Europe more frequently as climate change warms the continent, experts agree.

2020 was Europe’s hottest year since records began over 300 years ago, according to analysis of global weather stations by Berkeley Earth, and eight of the 10 hottest ever years have been in the past decade.

The continent’s average temperature is now roughly 2C warmer than it was at the start of the 20th century – an increase that has come with a growth in extreme weather.

For example, warmer air holds more water which, in turn, can lead to extreme downpours.

Please find to read and watch another video > Europe Floods: Death Toll Over 110 as Rescues Continue by Frank Jordans

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France, Germany Propose EU Summit With Russia’s Putin, Diplomats Say

Brussels (Reuters) – France and Germany proposed on Wednesday a European Union summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to improve relations, two diplomats said, potentially paving the way for the first such meeting since 2014.

Such an event would follow U.S. President Joe Biden’s summit in Geneva with Putin earlier this month and reflects concern in Paris and Berlin that the EU’s approach to Russia in recent years has mainly been focused on sanctions on Moscow.

“Germany and France have given some ideas for the EU-summit-debate on Russia. Merkel has mentioned before that not only the U.S. should talk with Russia (and China) on the highest level. Russia is a neighbour. Such a format existed already in 2007 in Finland,”

a person dealing with the preparation of the summit told Reuters.

“The entire post-war history of Greater Europe confirms that prosperity and security of our common continent is only possible through the joint efforts of all countries, including Russia,”

the Russian President pointed

A strategy paper by the European Commission and the EU’s diplomatic service said earlier this month that despite years of tensions,

“the EU and Russia have a fundamental common responsibility for peace and security on the European continent.”

It can well be that Russia is open to honest and constructive cooperation with Europe. It calls for the recovery of a comprehensive partnership with it, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in an article “Being Open, Despite the Past” timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).

“I reiterate that Russia is in favour of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe. We have many topics of mutual interest. These include security and strategic stability, healthcare and education, digitalization, energy, culture, science and technology, resolution of climate and environmental issues,”

the Russian leader said in an article published on the Kremlin website.

“We are open to honest and constructive interaction. This is confirmed by our idea of creating a common space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, which would comprise various integration formats, including the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union,”

he noted.

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Necessity of free press for Hong Kong

We are convinced there always has to be free independent press. We find that freedom of expression, speech, press, is essential for a community.

Since more than a year that freedom of thought has been brought in danger by silencing critical writers. With regret we have seen the many difficulties which inhabitants of Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR) have to face.

The highly developed territory and ranks fourth on the UN Human Development Index, its pictures show us a city that has the largest number of skyscrapers of any city in the world. Ranked 4th in the Global Financial Centres Index, one would think everything must go incredibly well in that city. But that is without regard to the overlooking and dominating power of the parliamentary communist apparatus.

What never should have happened, was presented by the agreement of the United Kingdom and China, Hong Kong being transferred to China on 1 July 1997, after 156 years of British rule. This instead of making Hong Kong an independent sovereign country.

Political debates after the transfer of sovereignty have centred around the region’s democratic development and the central government‘s adherence to the “one country, two systems” principle. After reversal of the last colonial era Legislative Council democratic reforms following the handover, the regional government unsuccessfully attempted to enact national security legislation pursuant to Article 23 of the Basic Law. {Wikipedia}

Before the British government handed over Hong Kong in 1997, China agreed to allow the region considerable political autonomy for fifty years under a framework known as “one country, two systems.” But probably they use another calendar than ours with very short years!  Soon they started to limit the inhabitants their movements and way of thinking.

From the central force in Beijing, everything was done to reduce the movements and influence of the Hongkongers. Beijing has cracked down on Hong Kong’s freedoms, stoking mass protests in the city and drawing international criticism.

In the wake of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement as a non-profit outlet funded by Hongkongers, the newspaper Hong Kong Free Press was launched in 2015. Hong Kong Free Press is a non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.

In 2020, we got to hear how Beijing passed a controversial national security law and came to see how dozens of pro-democracy activists and lawmakers were arrested. We could also see the inappropriate violence coming from the government, and violence provoking actions of the police force, dimming hopes that Hong Kong will ever become a full-fledged democracy.

On 15 October 2015 a video shot by a TVB film crew appeared to show seven police officers haul off a handcuffed protester from a freshly cleared Lung Wo Road to a dark corner in nearby Tamar Park, Admiralty. As the officers circled the protester, some allegedly took turns kicking and punching him while others stood over him, keeping watch. Despite an effort by the station to downplay the footage and remove it from subsequent broadcasts, the video quickly took Hong Kong by storm, stirring public outrage and catapulting the victim of the apparent attack, Civic Party activist Ken Tsang, to the status of an instant icon. The Occupy protests were violently crushed without mercy, and up to today we regularly get new shots of press people and protesters being arrested by the police. From some people apprehended by the police a few months ago, nothing is heard any more.

No wonder the public lost their trust in the local police after the many secret missions of the forces and the many police interrogations, certainly after the 2015 blockage of the Hong Kong Free Press website in China. Any websites or apps that undermine Party rule, or have the potential to, are typically blocked. This consists largely of western news media, social networks, and sites built on user-generated content. Other content deemed vulgar, pornographic, paranormal, obscene, or violent is also blocked. Some western websites, apps, and services are blocked in order to prevent competition with domestic, homegrown alternatives.

blocked in china hong kong free press
(Find which sites are blocked in China by the Chinese Communist Party’s technological and legislative efforts to regulate the internet: >  censorship watchdog websites greatfirewallofchina.org and blockedinchina.net.)

The easiest way to access censored websites in China is to use a VPN (Short for virtual private network) But because VPNs being not so cheap subscription services that encrypt internet traffic and route it through an intermediary server outside of China, this allows only a limited audience to use it to bypass the Great Firewall and freely access the web.

In 2020 Hong Kong Free Press has been shortlisted by the UK-based Index on Censorship for their annual Freedom of Expression Awards.

index censorship hong kong free press

Hong Kong pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily continued its operations and printed 500,000 copies of Friday’s paper after its headquarters were raided by the police on Thursday 17 June 2021, and five senior executives were arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law.

Apple Daily raid June 17, 2021

Dozens of Hong Kong police enter Apple Daily’s headquarters in Tseung Kwan O on June 17, 2021. Photo: Apple Daily.

It was the second time in 10 months that the newspaper, founded by Jimmy Lai, had been raided. Police said the warrant used on Thursday was issued under the security legislation, and gave them power to search for and seize journalistic material.

Lai, 73, who was arrested during the first raid last August, is serving 20 months in prison for protest-related offences and also faces charges under the Beijing-imposed security law, which provides for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

According to local media, those arrested included Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Chief Operating Officer Royston Chow, Apple Daily’s Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Associate Publisher Chan Pui-man and Cheung Chi-wai, who manages the newspaper’s online news platform. All were arrested in the early hours at their homes.

Police said their operation was not targeting the press, adding the force “had no choice” but to enforce the law inside a media company.

 

Please find to read:

  1. Hong Kong justice chiefs accused of ‘shameless double standards’ for dropping charge against reporter from state-owned media outlet
  2. Two senior execs at Hong Kong’s Apple Daily formally charged with national security ‘conspiracy’
  3. ‘Very heartbreaking’: Hong Kong media reel as security law targets democracy paper’s reporting
  4. Hong Kong police raid Apple Daily office, editor-in-chief among 5 arrested under national security law over articles
  5. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily may halt publication this Sat, pending Fri board meeting
  6. ‘#Hong Kong is very beautiful’ hashtag trends online after Watsons Water bottles taken off shelves
  7. Taiwan pulls trade office staff over Hong Kong ultimatum
  8. Embattled democracy coalition cancels Hong Kong’s annual July 1 march; will discuss disbanding

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Related

  1. Two Hong Kong newspaper executives charged under security law: police
  2. HK democracy supporters snap up Apple Daily copies
  3. Apple Daily: Hong Kong police raid sparks rush on newspapers
  4. Hong Kong’s RTHK fires popular pro-democracy radio host Tsang Chi-ho
  5. Post-Work Life in Hong Kong
  6. Blockchain could boost fintech in HK, but city is lagging
  7. Hong Kong newspaper chiefs on trial for security charge
  8. Pro-democratic executive of Hong Kong Media appears before court
  9. This is the worst of times
  10. Hong Kong court denies bail to Apple Daily’s editor, publisher
  11. Sunday Morning: News From Zurich, London, Copenhagen & Hong Kong
  12. Hong Kong seeks integration with mainland China, says Carrie Lam
  13. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily paper to shut within days
  14. John Ross: from Trotskyism to power-worship
  15. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily may halt publication this Sat, pending Fri board meeting
  16. Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily says to decide on closure on Friday
  17. UN rights chief eyes visit to China’s Xinjiang ‘this year’
  18. Hong Kong’s Biggest Pro-Democracy Newspaper Likely to Shut Down This Week After National Security Law Raid
  19. Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper may be forced to suspend operations after government crackdown

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A magazine with Each month a true story

Reading is part of cultivating and educating yourself. We would love to have more people who would not mind presenting some stories on this site. Though we do not get much reaction of people willing to write or to publish some poetry, short stories or novels on this site. Also for articles on psychology, history, environment and ecological matters we still look forward for willing writers to share their ideas with others all over the world.

Part of our mission is to support and empower storytellers and publishers of all sizes. We also want people to think about several matters and not just to agree with everything they come to read. We are convinced one has to be able to have different opinions living together in peace and being part of building up a balanced surrounding. For that reason, we also mention additional readings as well as further related articles when we publish some article. The further related articles often are not in accordance of our way of thinking, but we dare to present their articles to our public so that people can make up their mind themselves. We hate one-sided information. We are convinced that different opinions do not undermine society, but enrich it. Regularly we get some complaints from some blogger that we dared to mention their blogs. They do not see that we are willing to give free advertisement for them. But because we are unitarians and not Trinitarians they probably feel offended or often do not want to be associated with us. As if a mentioning of an article would mean that there would be an association with us. (!?!)

When requested to take the reference away we shall always prepared do that, even when it would have meant to take away a full article presenting a new publication. (A few months ago we introduced a new book, but the trinitarian writer of the book was not pleased with it. That was not the first time we were told we were not given the right to discuss a book or article. Some people who complained we discussed their article we wrote that if they have an article open on the web, should know that everybody shall be able to read it but also should have the possibility to react on it.) Though remarkable, lots of trinitarian writers write a lot of ‘rubbish’ about unitarians or give a lot of disinformation about Biblical matters, but do not allow anybody to react on the article on their own site. As such they only leave it to make reactions about the article on other sites (like here).

Today we once again shall present some site which could be interesting for some of our readers. Please do know that we are not paid for representing some other websites or blogs.

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For more than a decade, The Atavist Magazine has been a pioneer in digital storytelling, publishing one blockbuster story every month. The Atavist Magazine, one of Automattic’s flagship longform publications, in April 2021, the magazine moved to WordPress.com, joining the Newspack community of publishers.

Supported by Newspack, a publishing and revenue-generating solution for small- to medium-sized newsrooms built on WordPress, Atavist joins a network of 100 news publishers and counting, including Reveal, Sahan Journal, Hong Kong Free Press, The Oaklandside, Transitions Online, and other local and regional news outlets worldwide.

According Cheri Lucas Rowlands from WordPress each story on The Atavist Magazine showcases a unique, sophisticated, immersive design.

Perhaps you would also be interested to have a look at that nine-time National Magazine Award nominee and one-time winner — and the recipient of many other accolades — Atavist.

Feeling that young or starting writers need to have enough opportunities to reach a readers platform we only can hope that the atavist Magazine shall be able to give them a space on the web for offering thoughtful, deeply reported stories, and as an outlet eager to publish up-and-coming writers at a time when journalism opportunities are narrowing.

Please find the Atavist Magazine, and enjoy reading the many stories.

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April a month of sunshine and drought (April weather report as seen in local newspapers)

March and April have been so bad this year, it looked like those months themselves were caught by Covid. Raindrops kept falling on our heads but the other heavy rainfalls and hailstorms did not bring enough water into the ground so that we still have to face the already three years shortage of groundwater level.

Often people want to see the neighbours green grass, thinking it is much greener. Though we know better, it sometimes gives comfort to look at some other weather reports, showing us that we are not alone sitting in a deep pit.

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To remember

  • April 2021 = driest in Leicestershire since 1938.
  • Normally 50mm of rain during month of April > 2.5mm
  • Mountsorrel > 2.2mm = 4% of average
  • Hinckley > 3.6mm = 7% of average
  • 26 days of the month totally dry for them whilst here we had several days we saw some raindrops, but not really raining. Just to get wet
  •  a few isolated snow showers on 3 days + showers on the 28th making up the small totals. I
  • exceptionally sunny month > 209 hours recorded at Cosby = 39% above normal. =>2° sunniest April ever recorded in the county

Phil's Weather Blog

April 2021 was the driest in Leicestershire since 1938. Normally we would expect 50mm of rain during the month but this April Dave in Cosby recorded just 2.5mm the driest for 83 years way back to 1938 in his long standing weather records going back to 1836, most of which were recorded at the Towers hospital site in Leicester before he started his own records in Cosby in 1959. At Mountsorrel I recorded just 2.2mm just 4% of average and Dean Whitaker at Hinckley recorded just 3.6mm just 7% of average. 26 days of the month were totally dry with just a few isolated snow showers on 3 days and showers on the 28th making up the small totals. It was also an exceptionally sunny month with 209 hours recorded at Cosby which was 39% above normal. The sunniest day was the 22nd when Dave recorded 14 hours the maximum possible…

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