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Reform & Revolution

I arrived to the country of Georgia on an unusual night of riot police and torrential rains. My handler advised me that it was too dangerous to leave the hotel. I had not heard this from anyone since my time in Iraq.

Risk To Transmit

In this podcast, digital advocate Mark Belinsky talks with Fortnight Editor Samantha Hinds about training young people to safely organize political action online.

"In the digital era, it's easier to conflate participation with democracy. This is a dangerous and unfortunate trend as it degrades the very concept of what a democracy can and should be: a transparent, participatory, and accountable means of representative governance."
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This Can Get Mark Zuckerberg Arrested

Mark Zuckerberg faces 15 brutal years in a Thai prison.

According to the Computer Crimes Act of Thailand, a website owner is responsible for anything written on their site, not just the actual author of the content. So if anyone posts anything on Facebook that is considered illegal in Thailand, Zuckerberg could be held responsible. The problem is that even talking about this law in Thailand is an offense, so if someone clicks the “like” button on this article from inside their borders, it could mean trouble.

Training in the Field

Young activists seek digital democracy. Mark teaches tech in Burma & Haiti.

Iraq: A Digital Dissenter

Shortly after this interview, Hamzoz’s phone was seized in Tahir Square by individuals allegedly linked to Iraqi security forces. He was assaulted and received threats via Facebook and email. But to date, he has not ceased publishing.

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Do It Yourself

Music  eventually drove me to the internet’s dark underbelly.  But first, it connected me to an innovative community I’d been pining for as a teenager. Through liner notes in Dischord and Lookout! Records cassette tapes, I discovered not just a directory of information, but a network.

Punks used the post office to bridge distance. Mainstream music stores didn’t and wouldn’t stock their art, so they circulated tapes by mail instead. A band from one city would call up their fan in another, asking to sleep on their couch after playing a concert in their town. This reciprocity grew their community into an organic movement, with a method and ethos called “DIY”: Do It Yourself. After all, who else was there to rely on?

The American punk movement seeded communities across a 3,717,813-square-mile piece of land, forming a web of trust, and an alternative economy.

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Kosher Coding

My bread is black. Everyone else’s is white. Theirs is generously lathered with peanut butter and jelly. Mine is open face, revealing butcher-cut meat, fresh greens and Russian spicy mustard. My dessert is a fig. It looks like a turd. I couldn’t be more embarrassed.

Fortnight Bio Video

Bio video of Fortnight Journal Edition II contributor Mark Belinsky. Mark is President & Co-Founder of Digital Democracy, a nonprofit empowering marginalized communities with technology. His family fled the Soviet Union as refugees and their experience informs his work as a technical consultant, documentary filmmaker and grassroots human rights trainer.

Fortnight Journal: Edition II
For more on Mark, visit Fortnight Journal at fortnightjournal.com.

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A Wired City Versus A Hurricane

My grandma was trapped in mandatory evacuation zone with hurricane Irene fast approaching. As an elderly Russian immigrant, she didn’t have much access to good information about the storm. I rushed to the internet to see what I can find so that I can give her the best advice I can.

Flash back to the earthquake in Haiti and I was part of an exciting example of how technology tools can be used in the face of a disaster. The non-profit I work for, Digital Democracy, had two staff in Port-Au-Prince when the earthquake struck. One of our advisors put up a crisismapping platform, Ushahidi, to help them and others crowdsource messages of help and emergency. SMS, Tweets and Facebook posts were placed on a map by concerned students in Boston so that emergency responders could save lives in Haiti. Thankfully our staff made it back safe, though they were shaken up and our equipment was crushed in their collapsed residence.

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