IN A NUTSHELL 3/2019-20

”TANKER TRUCKS OF SHAME” JOIN POLITICAL CAMPAIGN

Political campaign before the Parliamentary elections has started for good. Apart from discussions about real propositions we are surely going to be fed with thousands of examples of anti-campaign. One of them is the recently launched action called ”Cysterny wstydu PO-PSL” (PO-PSL tanker trucks of shame). Within the initiative four tanker trucks will travel across Poland until the election day with the aim of informing people how many holes there were in the system of public finances when the country was governed by the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasant Party. Tankers were chosen because, as the authors of the campaign point out, over the 8 years of the opposition’s rule, every single day about 600 tanker trucks with illegal fuel entered the borders of Poland, which led to total losses of about PLN 68 billion. All this information is presented on the trucks. The government of Law and Justice says they introduced much stricter controls and as a result managed to already reduce the number of illegal fuel entering Poland to 150 tankers a day. 

Source: newsweek.pl, an article from September 6, 2019 about tanker trucks of shame

WIFE CAN TAKE OVER HER HUSBAND’S MONEY, COURT SAYS

There is hope for many families where one of the spouses spends money only on their own needs and does not care about their family. Polish media have recently discussed the case of Maria whose husband, an alcoholic, would disappear for a few days each time he got a salary, get repeatedly drunk and come back giving her only PLN 400-500. Obviously, she had no chance to support a family of five for this amount (the couple have three children – a 12, 13 and an 18-year-old) and decided to sue her husband. The court decided the husband does not contribute enough to meet all the family’s demands and the salary of Maria’s husband is now transferred to her private bank account instead of his. With PLN 2,700 compared to PLN 400-500 the family’s living conditions should radically improve. The case is an important one because it shows all husbands and wives they can fight for their families’ better future. A question probably still remains if the transferred money isn’t going to be taken by the husband by force.

SPECTATORS AT A STADIUM WILL WATCH A FOREST

Football stadiums in almost every country serve the purpose of hosting the most important, loudest, most entertaining events. What started on September 8, 2019 at Wörthersee Football Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria probably forgets about elements two and three, yet ”the most important” remains safe on the list. People who visit the venue rather than attend a match or a concert will be confronted with a forest. Yes, a forest, nothing more. And nothing less. The forest has been brought to the stadium as a part of art installation whose purpose it is to draw attention to the problems of deforestation and climate change. Being presented at a football stadium the peace and silence of a forest can be more striking than the loudest demonstration. Just think of a situation when forest is so rare you can only experience it when you go to a special place, like a stadium. The Austrian installation consists of 300 trees (some six tonnes in weight) and was inspired by an Austrian artist who drew a similar image 30 years ago. The forest will stay at the stadium until October 27 and later will be replanted in open public spaces nearby.

Source: edition.cnn.com, an article from September 6, 2019 about a ”forest exhibition”

SOCIAL MEDIA AS WAR TOOL IN SUDAN

In April 2019 a military junta came into power in Sudan and on 3 June its security unit “Rapid Support Forces” carried out (what is now known as) the Khartoum massacre, brutally killing over 120 protesters and throwing more than 40 of them into the Nile river – all this on top of other unspeakable atrocities. The extent of the tragedy and the exact casualty numbers are impossible to estimate because the first thing the new rulers did was shut down the Internet in Sudan. As soon as they were ready, they turned it back on and started using social media to soften the military’s image. Its leader appeared in Facebook posts cooking meals and promising higher wages to teachers. At first Facebook was slow to take action stating that Rapid Support Forces had now become a “state actor,” but then in July in an effort to shut down “coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” the American social media giant started closing down suspicious profiles and fanpages. In early September it turned out that an Egyptian company “New Waves” run by a former military officer and a self-described expert on “internet warfare” was hired to do the dirty work online. The company paid its employees USD 180 a month to write pro-Sudanese military messages on Facebook (their audience reached 14 million followers there), Twitter and Instagram (several thousand combined). In 2018 the owner of New Waves, Mr. Amp Hussein, was a guest on the Egyptian state TV where he warned his countrymen of the dangers of the Internet, citing the old Nazi motto “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.”

Source: September 7-8, international edition of The New York Times, an article on war via social media in Mideast and North Africa

DISCUSSION:

  1. Political campaign showing flaws of the opposition do not work.
  2. Transferring money to a different account will not help wives whose husbands are alcoholic.
  3. Art is the powerful tool in discussing important matters.
  4. Democratic governments should have full control over all social media in their countries.
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