Video

Aserbaidschan startet Kampagne gegen Frankfurt

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German Berliner Zeitung has put together a piece about the anti-German video report broadcasted on Azerbaijani AZTV channel on March 5, and linked my blog post on this topic. Here is the article:

Vor dem Eurovision Song Contest prangerten deutsche Politiker Menschenrechtsverletzungen in Baku an. Nun wehrt sich Aserbaidschan mit einer Schmutzkampagne gegen Deutschland. Besonders Frankfurt kommt schlecht weg.

Arbeitslose hausen in Zelten im Schatten der Bankentürme, Frauen müssen in Sex-Shops arbeiten, die nichts weiter sind als getarnte Bordelle, und die Zahl der Drogenabhängigen, die durch die Straßen wanken, steigt stetig.

So berichtete das aserbaidschanische Staatsfernsehens AZTV kürzlich in einer Reportage aus Frankfurt am Main, unterlegt mit Bildern vom Occupy-Protestcamp vor der Europäischen Zentral Bank und einer Kamerafahrt durch das Bahnhofsviertel der Mainmetropole.

Continue Reading...

The Empire Strikes Back: Anti-German Video Report Presented on Azerbaijani State TV

Due to the upcoming Eurovision contest to be held in Azerbaijan in May, German media has been paying a lot of attention to the country lately. A number of major German outlets like Der Spiegel, NWZ Online and ARD have published and broadcasted pieces on human rights violations in Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijani state AZTV channel decided to strike back. That is what I call Azeri media at its best.

The anchor presents the piece, saying: "Even though Germany is the most powerful country in the EU, homeless and unemployed people there demand bread from their government. The number of drug addicts is increasing."

Then we see AZTV's correspondent in Frankfurt - business capital of Germany.

"This is Frankfurt, and this is the building of the European Central Bank," the reporter starts and promises to show us the other side of the European economic crisis - the one that "hit ordinary citizens in the face."  The guy points out to several tents in front of him (which is actually the Occupy Frankfurt movement, which was never mentioned in the video), explaining that people from all over Europe and Germany in particular, come there to demonstrate their life conditions to the employees of the ECB and European financial institutions.

Then he interviews one of the "protesters". The first guy says he has a degree and a job, but his salary is only enough to afford rent and, occasionally, new shoes. The young man claims he requested financial help from the government, was sent to different institutions and, eventually, denied in one. He finishes his speech by threatening to leave the country if nothing changes any time soon.

Next we see the conditions the interviewee lives in: his tent, his chair, personal belongings.

The next person interviewed is another young German, complaining about Germany's attempts to help other European countries, while the country itself remains in "this condition." "One of our main concerns as protesters is Germany's readiness to help out other countries," he says and mentions the case of Greece.

Once the "super-reliable" and "credible" vox populi proves the inhumane conditions German youth lives in, my favorite part of the video report begins. The editor didn't hesitate to use the same shot three times, probably because there was more text than footage.

Anyway, back to the point.

The reporters hop in the car and start driving around the block with a dramatic background text: "While preparing this video about Frankfurt, Germany we have witnessed scenes, that would drag anyone's attention to the city's streets," promisingly says the journalist. And now, my favorite sentence: "Look, these people are drug addicts. Right in the middle of Frankfurt," says the reporter while the footage shows ordinary people walking the streets. "We had no other choice but to do this filming from our car because it's not even possible to approach them." Then he goes on describing how dangerous these people are and how the journalists were actually going to approach them and ask how they got to this condition, or how they manage to buy, sell and use drugs in the middle of Frankfurt. However, a nice policeman who was hanging around the violent drug addicts and scared Azeri journalists, told them he cannot guarantee their safety. Apparently, not so long ago another group of journalists wanted to interview "them" and got "seriously injured."

Then the journalist ends the "drug" part of the video saying they've been told that nowadays one can even buy drugs right in front of German middle schools and that the age of users is sometimes as little as 13-14 years.

Now we're moving to the next part. The reporters shows us sex shops, calling them "undercover brothels." And even though they have been told that these places are completely legal and even pay taxes, highly upset Azerbaijanis ask the "Azerbaijani viewer": "But who is exploited in these undercover brothels? Women, of course. And let's say these women do what they do voluntarily. What about their freedom, human rights and gender equality that Germany talks so much about?"

The End.

Throughout the report, we neither hear any statistics or opinions of officials, nor see people using drugs, women sell their bodies, or even the policeman advise the journalists. All we see is a couple of dudes riding around in their car, making assumptions and interviewing two random guys.

And that is pretty much what Azerbaijan state media is about.

10 Opening Credits You Have To Recognize...

...if you were growing up in 80-90s in a post-Soviet country. Special thanks to my brother for having an awesome memory!

I'll go chronologically backwards, from the ones you remember for sure, to the ones that'll awaken your earliest memories.

1. Sunset Beach 1997-1999

Yes, we were young, stupid and were watching this blah

2. Hélène et Les Garçons 1992-1994

I mean... Yeah, we were all in love with this cute bass-guitar guy, who probably had no idea how to play it.

3. Twin Peaks 1990-1991

Would scare me to death every time they show the dead girl.

4. Agatha Christie's Poirot 1989-2010

Loved reading it, loved watching it.

5. Crime Story 1986-1988

This was one of my favorites. It was my favorite time of the day, when I would climb on my dad's laps and pretend to understand why these men shoot each other. But I definitely loved the theme song.

6. Moonlighting 1985-1989

This was when I fell in love with Bruce Willis and I'm still faithful, even after a number of trashy action movies. When the series ended, me and my brother were dreaming about writing the continuation.

7. Santa-Barbara 1984-1993

The most favorite guilty-pleasure of our parents.

8. Mike Hammer 1984-1987

The cool guy.

9. La Piovra 1984 (Mini-series)

Every Azerbaijani remembers and loves this one.

10. Return to Eden 1983 (mini-series)

I even remember some quotes, goddammit.

Of course there was much more - I didn't include the Latin American ones. I'm just wondering did no one have lives back then?!

Anyway, enjoy :)

Sandmonkey on MSNBC

Sandmonkey and yours truly being scared at Stassi archives in Berlin, Germany in 2010.

Sandmonkey and yours truly being scared at Stassi archives in Berlin, Germany in 2010.

Famous Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, whom I recently interviewed for RFE/RL and who later was arrested, assaulted and basically robbed by the Egyptian police, is talking on MSNBC from Tahrir square here.

10 Best Super Bowl Ads

I love creative commercials. I mean, who doesn't? Viral Video Chart has put together Best Super Bowl Ads, according to the number of times they have been shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Mashable shows the top 10. Enjoy.

10. Budweiser: Wassup

And Wassup's remake made during the last presidential campaign in the US.

9. Snickers Super Bowl Commercial 2010 with Betty White

8. Audi 2010 Green Car Super Bowl Commercial

7. Doritos® - Crash the Super Bowl 2010 Finalist - Snack Attack Samurai

6. 1984 Apple's Macintosh Commercial

Also, check out the new Motorola - Empower the People.

5. NEW E*TRADE: Baby - Girlfriend

4. Doritos®: House Rules

3. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

2. 9/11 Bud Commercial: AIRED ONLY ONCE

1. Volkswagen Commercial: The Force.

Democracy Freedom and Dignity

As the resistance in Egypt continues today, these are today's updates.

Egypt in Tweets:

@alfredoboca: If your government shuts down the internet, shut down your government.

@hasanalikhattak: women expected to take active role in protests today after men spent the night protecting neighborhoods #Egypt #Jan25

@samihtoukan Arab people are not extremist nor terrorists.Our time has come.We deserve democracy and to live with freedom and dignity #jan25 #egypt

‎@sandmonkey: 5 years ago my beliefs made me a minority opposition, today I am the people #jan25

@chrisalbon: AJE in Egypt is shut down. If there was ever a time for citizen journalism, this is it.

UPD:Dan Nolan updates information on the closure of Al Jazeera on his Twitter.

AlJazeera crew leave Suez as no longer safe to be there. Direct threats made against jazeera. Unsure where anger originating? Thugs? 

#Jan25

Aljazeera Cairo bureau has been shut down. Just visited by plain clothes government security, TV uplink is now closed 

#Egypt

8 guys here. Angry discussion at our live position that’s been bringing you all those dramatic pictures 

#Jan25

#Egypt

Packing our equipment. We have been kicked out of office. Jazeera only network being shut down according to these guys 

#Jan25

#Egypt

Gov’t agents say they’ve been watching our coverage but also listening to our phone calls. 

#Jan

25 

#Egypt

UPD:

@bbclysedoucet just saw a man in a suit and tie directing Cairo traffic..police nowhere to be seen #Jan25 # Egypt

Dan Nolan

Fighter jets now streaking across the skies of downtown Cairo as curfew approaches 

#Egypt

(via phone)

A show of force to intimidate protestors. Doubt it will work, nobody seems to be leaving Tahrir Square 

#Egypt

(via phone)

@CNNbrk Fighter planes fly low over crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square, 10 minutes before state-imposed curfew. news.blogs.cnn.com/…

@CNNbrk#Egypt opposition leader ElBaradei calls for Mubarak to "leave today and save the country." news.blogs.cnn.com/…

UPD:

@sharifkouddous Tahrir is packed. Crowd has swelled. Jets keep passing overhead. Mood is celebratory. Chanting for Mubarak to get out. #Egypt

@ellozy: Thousands chanting in Tahrir Square: "Hosni [Mubarak] has gone mad!" #jan25#Egypt

UPD:

@Tahirimran: The soldier says if I don't want to get injured I should leave, I ask him what do you mean? He tells me things wold turn nasty#Egypt#jan30

@sharifkouddous: sitting next to my uncle. He's been protesting alone on the streets for years.  My uncle: "remember when I would stand alone and protest? Now look at everyone here. "this is a dream come true" #Egypt

@sharifkouddous: People wave and hold up victory signs whenever the helicopter flies low overhead #Egypt

UPD:

@Dima_Khatib: Clinton: we expect free fair elections as an outcome of what is happening in Egypt. FIRST TIME US SAYS THAT !!! #egypt#jan25

@Debbas#Egypt Demonstrators are being taken to jail in Tahrir Square in Cairo . Source OTV Lebanon

@CNNbrk: #Egypt troops fire warning shots into air in Cairo's Tahrir Square as demonstrators defy curfew. http://on.cnn.com/eJR2rB

UPD:

Dan Nolan: In Tahrir Square I see a soldier pull a woman,child+ #Egypt flag on top of his tank.Dancing/waving to chants of 100's of cheering protestors

@Aljazeera: ‎#Egypt army has just told the crowd gathering at Tahrir Square that military will not go against the people #Jan25 #aljazeera

UPD:

@sharifkouddous: Crowd chanting now: "Mubarak has lost his mind" #Egypt

@sharifkouddous: A soldier was carried on shoulders through the crowd. Loud chants of "mubarak this is your last night" #Egypt

@dancefromiraq: another big protest happening on Abdel Moneim Riad Sq. #jan25

@behzad77: please hospitals in Egypt are in need for blood. Please donate if you can! Spread the word and save lives, iA. #Egypt#Jan25

UPD:

@CNNbrk: Nile TV reports prison outbreaks throughout #Egypt. Number of escapees unclear, but more than 3,000 arrested. news.blogs.cnn.com/…

@rhyssumm there r 100,000s of ppl across egypt. do the math of excluding the too young&too old & add protesters' families = most egyptians

@octavianasr#ALjazeera Arabic reports #Egypt Army chief told the protesting crowds: army "won't go against them." #Jan25Via AJ English

UPD:

@sharifkouddous: The energy is indescribable. Huge part of crowd clapping in unison, chanting together. #Egypt

@sharifkouddous: Mubarak is finished. He cannot beat this. They will stay until he leaves. And they are so many now. #Egypt

@sharifkouddous: I am in the middle of a sea of people. Chanting together. "Mubarak get out. We are the children of #Egypt."

@AlArabiya_Eng: @ElBaradei heading to Meydan Tahrir (Liberation Square), Cairo to address the crowds. Estimated at over 100,000.

UPD:

@noornet: AlJazeera: Just confirmed that Mohamed El Baradei (opposition leader of IEA) & son Ali join protestors in Tahrir #jan25#Egypt

@asa_wire The Arab Revolution has spread to Algeria: 10,000 marched yesterday http://bit.ly/fcmY8O#egypt#jan25

***

Egypt in news:

UPD: "Muslim Brothers" are nothing like Islamic fundamentalists of Iran or Afghanistan. Egypt will not repeat their destiny", says El Baradei while being interviewed by CNN. --- Agence France-Presse reports that "thousand" prisoners have escaped from Wadi el-Natroun prison today. The exact number is not clear though.

UPD: Thirty-four members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, including seven members of the leadership, walked out of prison on Sunday after relatives of prisoners overcame the guards, a Brotherhood official said. The relatives stormed the prison in Wadi el-Natroun, 120 km (80 miles) northwest of Cairo, and set free several thousand of the inmates, Brotherhood office manager Mohamed Osama told Reuters. No one was hurt, he added.

UPD:8 HAMAS members have also escaped the Wadi el-Natroun. Two of them, reportedly, are already in Gaza.

---

The employee of Azerbaijani Embassy in Egypt Nijat Khojayev has been shot dead on his way home from work, confirmed by MFA Azerbaijan. His body will be delivered back to Azerbaijan later today. Azerbaijani government, however, didn't make any statements on this issue yet. Allah rehmet elesin!

---

Reuters puts together key elements of the USA-Egyptian relationship, giving brief recent historical overview and publishing the sums of financial aids provided to Egypt by USA in exchange for diplomatic relations with Israel.

---

Probably the biggest news for today so far, is the shut down of Al Jazeera bureau i Egypt. Their license has been revoked, journalists deprived their accreditations. Channel's online producer Evan Hill tweets: "State TV announces Al Jazeera's broadcasting license and press cards are being revoked. Our bureau is packing up. #jan25""The team is working on a plan if the shutdown does occur. For obvious reasons, won't be tweeting the details here. #jan25", he adds later. Al Jazeera's UAE correspondent Dan Nolan has also shared channel's plans: "Don’t worry we’ll still report what’s happening in #Egypt no matter what new restrictions they put on us. #Jan25".

***

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Egypt in pictures:

MSNBC's slideshow on Egyptian bloggers and their destiny can be found here.

A Facebook collection of pictures named Women of Egypt picturing Egyptian female prostesters.

Another great Facebook collection of January 28 protests by Roberto Pitea.

UPD:

Totally cool pics from Egypt at Totallycoolpix

***

Egypt in videos:

An impressive video of an open clash between police and protestants in Egypt on January 28:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXbRdumboZ0&w=480&h=390]

Egyptian army cleansing Cairo museum after looters. Reportedly, a group of protesters has built a human chain around the museum, protecting it from looters until the military forces took over:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3K6RWDLp8U&w=500&h=311]

Al Jazeera's report from last night. Cairo men organizing neighbourhood security groups to protect their homes and property:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7EcB5_fyRY&w=500&h=311]

And of course, a hilarious report on Egypt by Jon Stewart's Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c

The Rule of the Nile

www.thedailyshow.com

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:372456

Daily Show Full Episodes

Political Humor & Satire Blog

The Daily Show on Facebook

A Man and a Woman... And Lider TV.

One of my first posts on this blog was about the powerful word "ayib" and it's importance for our society. Well, now you can forget it. Why? Because, apparently, that's what the state media wants us to do. The closer parliamentary elections, the funnier things here get. Now, we get to watch free porn in prime time. So here's the story.

Imagine an ordinary Azerbaijani family, preparing to have dinner. The father just came home from work, checking the grades of his kids. Probably, slapping them a couple of times for bad behavior. The daughter putting plates on the table, dreaming about getting married with the neighbor boy, mother finishing with cooking. They all gather at the table, mother pouring juice in glasses, father taking TV's remote, switching it on. They're going to watch news on Lider TV. The news start, the anchor tells news on President's trips and meetings, talks on Armenian army breaking the ceasefire again and announces a video report. And the TV shows THIS.

BAAAAM! How is it?

Two weeks before parliamentary elections, the pro-government television channel Lider has aired a secretly filmed video of an opposition newspaper editor and a woman having sex, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The video was first made public on October 12, when a user under the name of "Mohammad Azadi" posted and distributed it on social-media networks. Several local media outlets also received a DVD version of the video in the mail.

But the broadcast of parts of the video on October 25 was the first time a nationwide TV station aired it. It was labeled "The Naked Truth of the Opposition."

They showed all the important moments. The man taking woman's clothes off, the scenes of oral sex, lovers changing poses. The only thing they cared about doing is hiding the genitals of two. And of course, the voice on the background, using strong phrases and stressing the immorality of the picture.

The announcer says that what is happening in the video is a result of the "asymetric policy from the West."

While engaging in oral sex, the Lider TV moderator said "we have to show this to the Western world, especially to France, so they know that their methods are very close to our opposition."

The moderator added that the video was leaked to other opposition newspapers and was distributed publicly by a rival opposition group. "This shows how 'united' our opposition is," the moderator concluded.

The man on the video is Azer Ahmedov, a technical editor of the opposition newspaper "Azadliq". The chief editor Ganimat Zahid and reporter Mirza Zakit of this same newspaper have spent years in jail on obviously fake hooliganism and drug-possession charges. Its investigative reporter Agil Khalil, who I personally know and respect, left the country after being stabbed in 2008. State run media later portrayed him as being "a homosexual." By the way, this story was also widely shown on other state channel, and is still available on Youtube.

Azer Ahmedov, a technical editor of the opposition newspaper "Azadliq," admitted a few days after the video appeared online that he is in the video. Ahmedov, who is separated from his wife, then resigned from his job and reportedly went to Turkey.

So, basically "A man had sex with a woman", reported Lider TV.

P.S.

Nushirevan Maharramli, the head of the National Council on TV and Radio, refused to comment on the decision of Lider TV to air the video.

"I haven't seen the show yet, I will talk after I see it," he told RFE/RL.

Have fun watching it, Mr. Maharramli.