Sunday, November 24, 2013

Interactive Map of #Euromaidan Protests in Support Ukraine's EU Integration

Interactive protest map on November 23, 2013. Screenshot by Tetyana Bohdanova.
Interactive protest map on November 23, 2013. Screenshot by Tetyana Bohdanova.
A Lviv-based Facebook user, Bogdan Tsap, has set up an interactive map of pro-EU Association Agreement protests in Ukraine. On his Facebook wall, Bogdan described [uk] his creation:
Створив інтерактивну карту #Євромайдан з усіма містами які брали участь. Будь ласка поширте та давайте знати що упустив
[I] set up an interactive #Євромайдан map with all cities that participated. Please share and let me know what I have missed.
At the time of writing this post the map has grown substantially, with users adding protest sites across Ukraine, in the EU and the US.
As Global Voices reported, the protests dubbed “Euromaidan” [#євромайдан]erupted on November 21, 2013, after the Ukrainian government announced it was suspending the preparations for signing a EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, a historic deal that would secure the post-Soviet country's European integration.
This post was originally written for Global Voices, and published on  ·

Follow #Euromaidan Protests in Ukraine

Today, over a 100 000 people came out in Kyiv in protest of EU-Ukraine Association agreement suspension (dubbed #Euromaidan protests). Social media played a crucial role in organizing the protests in Kyiv and elsewhere.

For latest information from social media, go to an aggregator [uk] of all posts tagged #євромайдан. It also includes an interactive map of  #euromaidan protests around Ukraine and abroad: http://euromaidan.eu/#/posts

My own screenshot from a webcam in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine. Approx. 1.00 pm Nov. 24, 2013
For more information also follow hashtags #euromaidan #євромайдан and #евромайдан on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ukraine Suspends EU Deal, Protesters Fill Kyiv's Independence Square

For latest updates follow #euromaidan #Євромайдан on Twitter, Maidanua.Org and Євромайдан Facebook page.

Ukrainians protest in support of EU integration in Kyiv. November 21, 2013. Photo by Instagram user zenantipop. Used with permission
Ukrainians protest in support of EU integration in Kyiv, November 21, 2013. Photo by Instagram user zenantipop; used with permission.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Ukraine's capital, hours after their government pulled away from a historic European Union (EU) partnership deal that would help the former Soviet country integrate further in to Europe and warm up to the West.
The move comes after Russia offered Kiev loans and imposed painful restrictions on some Ukraine exports, which were interpreted as aggressive measures to derail the EU deal. 
On November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian government officially announced that it would suspend preparations for the EU-Ukraine Association agreement, which was expected to be signed next week. Soon after the news broke, opposition politicians called on citizens to join in a protest against this decision, scheduled for Sunday, November 24.
However, journalists, activists and other citizens on the Internet immediately began to spread invitations for people to come to Kyiv's main square on the very evening of November 21. Sometime after 10 pm, people began to gather on Maidan Nezaleshnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv to protest the government's decision and demonstrate their support for Ukraine's European integration. The protest has been dubbed #євромайдан (#euromaidan or #eurosquare) by protesters on social media sites.
Taras Demchuk, a blogger from Kyiv, tweeted [uk]:
думаю їхати на , хз чи щось змінить, але годі мовчати
[I am] thinking of going to #євромайдан, who knows if it changes anything, but [we] should not stay silent anymore
Yana Suporovska, a Ukrainian television reporter, explained in one quick tweet [uk] that this, to many Ukrainians, was one bad decision too many by their government:
Вперше за багато років щиро хочу вийти на . І вийду.
For the first time in years I genuinely want to go to #євромайдан. And I will.
Oleksandr Arhat, another Twitter user from Kyiv, reported [uk] when he arrived to the venue of the protest:
Прийшов на . Тут @GrishynUA @OlhaSnitsarchuk @nerodyk @ja_olga @sodel_vlad і ще купа народу)
I came to #Євромайдан. @GrishynUA @OlhaSnitsarchuk @nerodyk @ja_olga @sodel_vlad are all here, and a bunch of other people)
User @Roman2the_world on Twitter said:
View image on Twitter
I am Ukrainian and I support EU-UA association agreement Євромайдан . Come together.RT show your support
EU officials were quick to blame Russia for Ukraine's decision on Twitter. The European commissioner for enlargement, tweeted:
:hard to overlook in reasoning for today's decision impact of 's recent unjustified economic & trade measures against Kyiv.
Carl Bildt Sweden's Foreign Minister point-blank blamed Russia: 
Ukraine government suddenly bows deeply to the Kremlin. Politics of brutal pressure evidently works. http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=246864953&cat_id=244276429 
Russia wants Ukraine to join its own customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, which it sees as a potential rival to the EU.
Even those who disagree with EU integration, like Dmitri Pavlenko from the Belgorod region of Russia, were humorous about what they had to say [ru]:
Даешь ответный за немедлен. вступление в ! Геть ! Ганьба подлым предателям- приспешникам Вашингтона и Брюсселя!

How about #майдан [a protest] in support of #ТаможенныйСоюз [Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia] instead? #ЕС [EU] go away! Shame on despicable henchmen of Washington and Brussels!
In the meantime, the number of people on Maidan has reached a thousand [uk]. Soon enough, UStream user КПІ-live set up a live online broadcast of the protest. At the time of writing this post, the number of users watching the broadcast reached about 10,000 viewers.
Twitter user @kraft99 wonders [ru]:
Похоже в может начаться твиттерная революция

Looks like in #Украина [Ukraine] a Twitter revolution is about to begin #Майдан #Євромайдан #UA #Ukraine #Украіна #Евроинтеграция #twitter
Many have noted that this protest comes exactly on the eve of the 9th anniversary of the Orange Revolution, a series of protests that took place in the Ukraine.
According to on-going online comments and conversations, it appears the protesters plan to stay the night and hold their ground. For the latest developments on the protests follow Maidanua.Org [uk] or the hashtags #євромайдан and #euromaidan on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, November 8, 2013

‘Women Should Be Submissive', and Other Google Autocomplete Suggestions

series of ads by UN Women, revealed in late October, used the Google Autocomplete feature to uncover widespread negative attitudes toward women. Global Voices followed reactions to the UN Women campaign and conducted its own experiment in different languages. The results of searches conducted both within the UN Women campaign and Global Voices revealed popular attitudes not only about women’s social and professional roles, but also about their sexuality, appearance and relationships with men.
UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase "women shouldn't"
UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase “women shouldn't”
The creators of the UN Women ads used search phrases like “women cannot”, “women shouldn’t”, “women should” and “women need to” completed by genuine Google search terms to highlight overwhelmingly negative stereotypes, sexist and highly discriminatory views held about women by society globally. The ads quickly went viral and sparked a heated discussion online. Last week, creators have announced that they are planning to expand the campaign in response to the mass online reaction.
The auto-complete function for searches, according to Google, predicts users’ queries based on the search activity of all users of the web as well as the content of indexed pages. The predictions may also be influenced by past searches of the particular user if they are signed into their Google account.
Global Voices asked its contributors from around the world to carry out Google searches using the same or similar phrases as those used in the UN Women campaign, in their own languages. The searches done between October 19 and October 25, 2013, revealed attitudes about the roles women are expected to take in society, often demonstrating the same global prejudices, but sometimes showing contradictions in different countries. Below are searches in 12 languages from different countries and continents:
Spanish
Chile
"Women should not...". A screen shot by Silvia Viñas, October 21, 2013.
“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Silvia Viñas. October 21, 2013.
Women should not…
Women should not preach
Women should not work
Women should not talk in the congregation
Women should not drive
Peru
"Women cannot..." A screenshot by Juan Arellano. October 21, 2013.
“Women cannot…” A screenshot by Juan Arellano. October 21, 2013.
Women cannot…
Women cannot preach
Women cannot be pastors
Women cannot donate blood
Women cannot live without man
Puerto Rico
"Women should...". A screenshot by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle. October 21, 2013.
“Women should…”. A screenshot by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle. October 21, 2013.
Women should…
Women should be submissive
Women should use the veil
Women should preach
Women should work
French
France
"Women should...". A screenshot by Suzanne Lehn. October 21, 2013.
“Women should…”. A screenshot by Suzanne Lehn. October 21, 2013.
Women should…
women should stay at home
women should work
should women preach
women should wear skirts
women should be submissive
women should know
women should vote
women should stay at home
should women work
women should do the cooking
"Women don't know...". A screen shot by Rayna St. October 21, 2013.
“Women don't know…”. A screen shot by Rayna St. October 21, 2013.
Women don’t know…
women don't know how to drive
women don't know what they want
women don't know how to be in love
women don't know how to read cards
Arabic
Egypt (similar results in Jordan)
"Woman cannot...". A screenshot by Tarek Amr. October 21, 2013.
“Woman cannot…”. A screenshot by Tarek Amr. October 21, 2013.
Woman cannot…
Woman cannot live without marriage
Woman cannot live without a man
Woman cannot keep a secret
Woman cannot interpret man's silence
Chinese
"Women cannot...". A screenshot by Gloria Wang. October 21, 2013.
“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Gloria Wang. October 21, 2013.
Women cannot…
Women cannot be too smart
Women can't drive
Women cannot give birth
10 topics women cannot discuss with their husbands
Romanian
"Women should not...". A screenshot by Diana Lungu. October 21, 2013.
“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Diana Lungu. October 21, 2013.
women should not…
women should be loved not understood
women should not be understood
women should not wear pants
what women should not do in bed
 Italian
Italy
"Women should...". A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.
“Women should…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.
Women should…
Women should stay at home
should play hard to get
should stay in the kitchen
should be subdued
"Women should not...". A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.
“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.
Women should not…
Women should not be understood
should not work
should not be understood but loved
should not read
 German
Germany
"Woman should not...". A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.
“Woman should not…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.
Woman should not…
Woman should not teach
My wife should not work
"Woman can...". A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.
“Woman can…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.
Woman can….
Woman cannot come
Woman cannot get pregnant
Woman cannot cook
Woman cannot get a baby
 Hebrew
"Women don't...". A screenshot by  Gilad Lotan. October 21, 2013.
“Women don't…”. A screenshot by
Gilad Lotan. October 21, 2013.
Women don't…
Women don't work
Women are not modest
Women don't know how to drive
Women don't want to have kids
 Hungarian
"A woman should be...". A screenshot by Marietta Le. October 21, 2013.
“A woman should be…”. A screenshot by Marietta Le.
October 21, 2013.
A woman should be…
a woman should be a chef in the kitchen
a woman should be pretty and ruthless
 Danish
"Women cannot...". A screenshot by Solana Larsen. October 20, 2013.
“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Solana Larsen. October 20, 2013.
Women cannot…
Women cannot drive
Women cannot control vagina
Women cannot be color blind
Women cannot barbecue
In Danish, the searches for “women cannot” and “women can” yielded the same results.
Russian
Russia
"Women should not...". A screenshot by Veronica Khokhlova. October 19, 2013.
“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Veronica Khokhlova. October 19, 2013.
Women should not…
Women should not be believed
Women should not lift heavy things
Women should not drink
Women should not be trusted
 English
The UK
"Women should...". A screenshot by Annie Zaman. October 25, 2013.
“Women should…”. A screenshot by Annie Zaman. October 25, 2013.
Women should…
Women should be seen and not heard
Women should stay at home
Women should know their place
Not all searches carried out by members of Global Voices community turned up negative terms. Nevertheless, the results of the experiment largely confirm UN Women’s worrying conclusion that a great deal of work still remains to be done in order to advance women’s rights and empowerment around the world.
Note: Google autocomplete suggestions in Ukrainian are: "women should not serve in the army" and "women cannot enter the altar area [in the church]". Search done in late October 2013.

This post was originally published on Global Voices on Nov. 5, 2013, with the help of GV contributors from fifteen countries. On Nov. 7 I gave a short interview about it on BBC Newsday morning new program of the BBC World Service Radio.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ukrainian Lawmakers Propose to Ban Abortions


This post was written for Global Voice Online and published on April 29, 2013. It is mostly based on Facebook discussions that took place after "Svoboda" MPs proposed the bill and reflect a variety of opinions on the issue, although most comments on Facebook have been rather critical.
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In early April, three MPs from the opposition political force “Svoboda” ["Freedom"registered a bill that would ban abortions in Ukraine. The only exceptions foreseen in the proposal included cases when the pregnancy threatened a woman’s life, when a fetus had grave pathologies, and when the pregnancy was proven to have resulted from rape. This initiative comes only a year since the Ukrainian lawmakers’ last attempt to ban abortions.
In the explanatory note to the bill, the authors of the proposal justified the need for such restrictions with the following arguments [uk]:
Despite the declining tendency, the level of abortions in Ukraine remains among the highest in Europe and amounts to 21.1 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age; 45.8 abortions per 100 pregnancies or 84 abortions per 100 births.
[…]
It must be noted, that [when the previous regulations on abortions were adopted] the following fact was not taken into consideration: according to a series of scientific medical researches, a child that is being aborted experiences the same level of suffering as a grown up person who is being tortured to death. Moreover, abortions have negative consequences on the psychological and physical health of all those involved.
[…]
In most [regions] of Ukraine, the number of deaths is nearly three times the number of births. During the last 20 years, the population of Ukraine has decreased by 5 million people (from 52 to 47 million). If such demographic dynamics persist, in a few years immigrants, mostly from Asia, would constitute the majority of the Ukrainian people.
One of the major reasons behind such discontenting demographic tendencies is the legality of abortions.
The lawmakers also stressed the negative attitude toward abortions shared [ru] by all Christian churches of Ukraine.
The proposal has proven quite controversial and sparked active discussions both online and offline.
Many commentators immediately focused on the issue of proving the occurrence of rape in court. Reporters of a major Ukrainian TV channel, TSN, noted that only 10 percent of rape charges become court cases and asked Olexandr Sych, one of the bill’s authors, what a woman should do if she became pregnant but failed to prove the fact of rape. The MP replied [uk]:
I do not work in the law enforcement and do not know what a woman can or cannot prove… But first of all, [she] should lead such a lifestyle as to not be exposed to the risk of rape. In particular, [she should not be] drinking alcohol beverages in a questionable company.
This excerpt was widely circulated online and discussed on Facebook by regular users, journalistsand activists.
User Serhiy Masliuchenko wrote [uk]:
This law is yet another attempt of the state and the bureaucrats to interfere with an individual’s life… when [they] lack brains to do something about the economy, science, education, ecology, [they] invent laws like this one […]
User Vasyl Martyuk disagreed [uk]:
I do not consider “Svoboda” to be a cure-for-all, but I support this bill! Ukraine as one of the leaders in the number of abortions – this is terrible!
Facebook user Andrey Anthony wrote [ru]:
Before proposing such laws [you] should restore the order in the country. How can you propose such initiatives in a state where there aren’t even any roads, no rule of law, and endless corruption around? […]
User Elena Bondarenko wrote [ru]:
[This is just] another opportunity for gynecologists to [make a fortune from] underground abortions!!! Are there too few newborns found in dumpsters? Too few in [orphanages]? IDIOTS!! Create social and economic conditions for parenthood, not restrictions!!!
User Marianna Goncharova commented [ru]:
This is one of those cases where gender-sensitive approach is needed. Why is this issue being raised by men? […]
User Vitaliy Diachenko mocked the proposal [uk]:
Svoboda should adopt another law where their members are prohibited from having sex, unless they obtain a written document certifying that the sole intention behind this sexual act is [procreation].
User Yevgeniy Ikhelzon wondered [ru] why so little public reaction followed the introduction of the bill:
[What a] paradox, people who resent Muslims making women wear headscarves, calmly accept deputies attempting to ban abortions […].
Journalist Iryna Slavinska criticized the proposal [uk]:
[…] to fight the high numbers of unwanted pregnancies, sex education should be introduced in schools and there must be places where condoms and oral contraceptives are disseminated free of charge, instead of putting a ban on abortions.
Many users addressed the moral and ethical aspects of abortions. In particular, such a discussion took place on the Facebook page of a physician and activist Evgeny Komarovsky.
User Yulia Zheleznova wrote [ru]:
Those commenting here, unfortunately, have not convinced me otherwise, but only strengthened my previously held convictions. Regrettably, in our modern society there are so many women who do not consider not only the morals aspects of abortions, but even the elementary [issues] of their own health. […] There are no arguments to justify murder. Full stop.
Adding to the same discussion, user Olga Shandra wrote [ru]:
I think abortion is a choice of every individual woman, [based on] her moral and ethical principles, and definitely not the MPs, psychologists, public moralizers and so on.
User Enela Adonieva wrote [ru]:
I am against abortions. But a woman should have a choice. And it is not to be made by politicians.
Currently, abortions in Ukraine are legal until the 12th week of pregnancy (the 22nd week in emergency cases). Ukraine is one of the leading countries in Europe in the annual number of abortions, although there is a clear downward tendency. “Abortion tourism” from the neighboring countries where the laws are more restrictive, such as Poland, has also been documented.