As hundreds of thousands of civilians die in the civil war in Syria, it appears that the country’s embattled dictator, president Bashar Al-Assad, has launched a new social media strategy to go along with his chemical weapons: showing lots of pictures of how everyone loves him.
If you followed Texas state senator Wendy Davis’ epic, 11-hour filibuster efforts against a bill that would have shut down all but five abortion clinics in the state (and quite possibly still will), you probably also know her shoes. As demonstrated by their newfound popularity on Amazon, the pink Mizuno Wave Riders she wore have become their own symbols of political resistance.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents legally married gay couples from receiving benefits, is unconstitutional. Shortly thereafter, it dismissed a Prop 8 appeal, paving the way for sex marriage in California.
The Supreme Court ruled today that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriages granted by states, was unconstitutional because it “singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”
It also declined to uphold Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage legal in California.
According to a Turkish news site, the country’s broadcasting watchdog, RTUK, has fined several TV channels for their coverage of the Gezi protests. Halk TV, Cem TV, EM TV and Ulusal TV have all been reprimanded for live-streaming content that is "harming the physical, moral and mental development of children and young people."
…had it not been for social media, the government would likely have succeeded in hiding the protests from many Turks. Turkey is a country that jails more journalists than Iran, and it is hardly surprising that the mainstream Turkish media, which has been additionally co-opted by the authorities through financial measures, broadcast pictures of beauty contests and cooking shows for several days while parts of Istanbul and other cities were blanketed with tear gas.
“On Friday [May 31] I saw on Facebook that there were riots, and I came here [to the center of Istanbul],” a 29-year old teacher named Ulas said in a bar near Taksim Square. “There were many people and we fought them [the police] all night. But on Saturday I spoke to some of my friends here in Istanbul, and they had no idea what was going on. One, a leftist, was at the zoo. This is because they were watching penguin documentaries on the mainstream channels.”
“Social media is a bliss. I even tweeted to Jack Dorsey, thanking him for inventing such a big thing that gives all information to people who want to stay impartial and get to the real knowledge through checking through all this information and using their minds.”
25-year old Esin, who has been active in the Turkish protests, both in Gezi park and online.