Syria. It’s not just what’s in all the media.

Let’s play a little game. You have less than 3 seconds to think about the answer to the following question. Be honest. What are the first 5 words that come to your mind when I say: Syria?

Now, does any one of those words that came to your mind relate to: revolution, civil war, killing civilians, protests?

When overwhelmed by the media, sometimes art helps to counterbalance all of the misery you hear about in the world. Sometimes, videographers show you the other side. Ruslan Fedotow does just that.

I discovered him by chance on Vimeo. Ruslan Fedotow is a Belarussian student at Academy of Arts who has had the occasion to visit Syria, twice for a couple of months altogether in the past year. Expert in Cinematography, he teamed up with Editor Artem Yakimov to make “Syria. The Other Side”, a video showcasing Syria’s ancient landscapes, age-old traditions, and unique culture along with an inspiring soundtrack.

Click on the link to watch “Syria. The Other Side” on Vimeo (sorry, I couldn’t post the video here due to restrictions).

Below is another work by Fedotow introducing the bright side of Syrian life:

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Bjork releases new “Moon” music video

Bjork released her new single “Moon” along with a fresh music video straight from outer space. In this eccentric, performance-oriented piece, written and directed by Bjork herself, the eclectic pop star hangs out in the moon and seems to be singing to the universe. And we love it!

The single was released early and is part of her upcoming album Biophilia, which is due to come out on October 1oth.  This 7th album is a multimedia project “encompassing music, apps, internet, installations, and live shows”, Bjork explains. Once again, she dazzles her fans taking bold steps in her musical exploration, evermore exploring unbeaten trails and embracing the digital world.

Watch “Moon”:

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UpRise 2011 – London’s Anti-Racism Festival

UpRise is a multicultural festival in London celebrating anti-racism through poetry, debates, storytelling, art, talks and walks. The theme this year was about taking a look at “our community and our planet as Home”. As a grassroots one day event, UpRise was a colorful event spanning over 14 venues in the heart of the Dalston district in Hackney, Greater London. Here’s a glimpse of the festival…

The Garden Venue

With a map of the festival in my hands, I begin my journey by following a trail exploring various venues of the festival. My first stop brings me here at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and I'm welcomed by a colorful painted wall that fits with the spirit of the event.

The map in my hands tells me I shall find music and poetry performances on the top of this building.

In this green environment of Dalston's Garden, a disco shed plays host to music while kids and adults alike take part in face painting, soap carving and other joyful activities.

On one side of the roof, visitors of the festival enjoy drinks and converse.

On the other side of the roof, poetry and music delight the ears.

Beyonder performs a poetic act on the Lyrix Organix stage.

The London Jazz Orchestra played at The Patio, in the cultural center of Hackney in Greater London.

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Strauss Kahn copies Clinton barefaced

In his first interview since he’s back in France, Strauss Kahn repeated Clinton’s apology concerning the Monica Lewinsky scandal word for word.

See this:

Many french journalists have accused Strauss Khan of preparing his come-back to politics, delivering a finely-prepared speech instead of honestly answering questions.

According to a survey, 53% of French nationals wanted Strauss-Kahn to confirm his withdrawal from politics before the interview which was broadcasted on TF1 last Sunday. But apart from not taking part in next year’s presidential elections, he didn’t mention quitting the game.

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Discover A website with a mesmerizing concept for people who wish to make a difference in the world, but maybe not all of them.

Created in 1998 by Randy Paynter, Care2 is a website that makes available, “fast, easy, and free ways to make a difference everyday”, according to its motto. Care2 thereby encourages activism for various causes.

How Care2 promotes activism.

By filling out a profile with information about, for instance, our personal involvement, Care2 links us to other activists with similar interests. Each day, this social networking website proposes a simple daily action visitors can take part in.

Today, for instance, you could “send some love and good wishes to Barbcat”, a young handicapped woman who “has spent hundreds of hours signing petitions, sharing stories about animals in need”.

Care2 also encourages its members to take various other social actions like creating or signing petitions, clicking for free to donate, sending green e-cards, helping you find a green job and other inventive uses of the internet to help non-profit organizations or causes.

Care2 – should we like or dislike?

Some users have expressed their discontent with the website. Wowsux, a user from Texas, accuses Care2 of promoting “far left” ideologies. He thinks that it is a “liberal site that misrepresents issues and encourages political activism. Stories are slanted to the left ideology and encourage people to sign petitions based on incomplete information.

According to his experience, he says “they also unfairly censor and ban posters that have a Conservative political position. […] All in all, it appears to be site dedicated to the Progressive political agenda, thinly disguised as an environmentally concerned site.”

Other users, like zippyd, from Washington D.C, praise it with all their hearts. Zippyd wrote on, “I highly recommend Care2 for anyone concerned about global warming, human rights, improving education or simply making the world a better place.” In fact, this social network platform has attracted more than 16 million members and continues to grow at an incredible pace. In six months, I’ve witnessed a growth of almost 4 million more members.

I haven’t tried creating a petition with a conservative stance on the website myself to see whether it would be rejected or not, but we could consider the idea that making it easy, fun, and free for us to take a specific action may be a good way to push us into doing something we might not agree with.

What is your opinion about Care2?

Find out more about Care2 here.
Read more reviews of the website here.

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Playing For Change – or how music and the web are being used to promote peace.

Can music change the world? The “Playing for Change” project proves how music can unite nations.

All over the world, musicians and singers express themselves in the only places that welcome them: the streets. Very few of these street artists get to be recorded, yet so many have undeniable talents.

Ten years ago, a small group of American documentary filmmakers set out on a musical road-trip to make a film with these musicians. They recorded various artists in different countries playing the same song and edited the footage together. Two independents films ended up being made, one of which appealed to audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The young filmmakers then used the web as an instrument of distribution for their work. Their unique music videos, like the one for Stand By Me above, created a buzz on social media platforms like Youtube and Vimeo. Today, the videos have been seen by more than 10 million viewers.

Later, the project evolved into an incredibly inspiring website, which then became the “Playing for Change” Foundation. As explained on the website, the Foundation “was born and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so. The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to the fundamental idea that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music.”

Through “Playing For Change”, street musicians from all over the world unite to promote peace and positive changes.

For more info and to get involved, visit the “Playing For Change” Foundation’s website:

Mark Johnson, Co-founder of “Playing for Change”, explains the project in his own words:

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