The BOB blogging awards

imageYesterday I sat through my first blogging awards, an experience I found surprisingly inspiring. All the winners are worthy, but two of them are particularly worth visiting.

Visualizing Palestine is a website that takes data from Israel and Palestine and weaves it into soaring graphics that actually tell a story. The skill with which they translate numbers into a reality is nothing short of astounding.

Mosa’ab Elshamy is a young pharmacy student who, when the reality of people power in his native Egypt began to emerge, grabbed a camera and hit the streets. His photo blog is an inspiration to those of us who are more photographically challenged. When accepting the top award of he evening, he said his main goal for the next year was “staying out of jail.”

Both blogs are well worth a click or more. Whether it is through the use of innovative graphs or the use of harrowing images, both sites remind us there is more than one way to tell a story, that sometimes words fall short. This is a lesson I hope to keep in mind as CC continues moving forward.

15 thoughts on “The BOB blogging awards

  1. Visualizing Palestine appears to be a collective of conflicting opinions and conflicting facts. I don’t have the time to fact check. If there is anything to learn from that site, I couldn’t figure it out. My impression, however, is that ideological people are not really interested in learning from facts. They already have their conclusions!

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    • You just have to click on the top bar and drag and choose your point.
      The data is actually very clear and most of facts are not controversial and all can be identified by the sources from the different entities. The blogger still clearly identifies them, puts them for you to do the thinking. The site, evidently, is for people who want to get a clearer picture of what is going on there.

      As someone who has friends on both sides of the wall, I think it is a neat project.
      I do think the idea of the bar on top could be improved as many people might think the bar has only the frames one sees at the start, whereas there are a lot of them.

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  2. Mosa’ab Elshamy Site is interesting. Ideological arguments, opinions, political news do not reach the bare realities of how events impact individual people like photos do. I believe that we humans have an enormous sense of empathy that responds to seeing pictures of real people in real circumstances. Words completely fail at that. Words fail in other important ways as well. For example, the words in the Venezuelan constitution failed to preserve democracy!

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  3. Shukran/Danke, chamo. I am curious about what else you discover in that event. Don’t be scared to be surrounded by so many lefties and “lefties”. :-)

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  4. While I enjoy the dynamic graphics and design,Visualizing Palestine is sometimes using misleading or simply wrong facts – I wish they would be more dedicated to research and objectivity!
    For instance they prepared a graphic telling that there was segregation on buses in Israel which banned Palestinians from using public buses,comparing the situation to the horrible discrimination of coloured people in the US. In fact there are no “Palestinians Only” buses in Israel: There’s only a way to present a new service that’s supposed to benefit Palestinians as something discriminatory to tarnish Israel´s reputation.Before, Palestinians wishing to cross legally into Israel (with a working permit) had no direct line from their place to the border crossing. So they either took some unauthorized taxi service (at expensive fares, since the service is uncontrolled by transportation authorities), or they had to walk or travel to an Israeli settlement (Ariel, for instance) and there take a bus into Israel. So now, the relevant bus company opens two lines that will serve Palestinians, going from their place of residence into Israel, saving them the trouble of going to Ariel first, or taking those taxis. Nothing wrong there, especially since the bus company made it clear, in an official announcement, that no Palestinian shall be shunned or rejected if they choose to travel on the Ariel line (together with settlers, that is). And if someone tells you they get different treatment upon entering Israeli territory – well, that is normal: Israelis can enter Israel unhindered, Palestinians have to show a valid entry permit (a visa of sorts),that’s how border crossings go around the world. Just wanted to clear that because someone without knowledge of the situation may take the facts at face value without trying to verify them.

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    • That’s your version of the story. I got two different versions from people living there.

      Even within the occuppied territories, an area slightly larger than the Carabobo state, Palestinians often have to cross several controls, spend hours doing so. Quite paradoxical, taking into account that most Palestinians are the descendants of people who before were Jews who converted to Christianity and then mostly to Islam and did not move from there and who before being Jews were simply Cannanites.

      This is not correct:
      “that’s how border crossings go around the world”
      because usually the US does not have troops also South of the border and does not make controls South of the Border and it doesn’t build walls separating part of Mexico from the US just to protect Texas.

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      • Yor are correct with your observations,unfortunately Palestinian citizens face a lot of difficulties when crossing the boarders and there are many human rights violations (from both governments and people from both sides of the divide) which do need to get addressed,but still the statement that there are race-segregated buses is not true.The Supreme Court has issued a decision that everyone can use the public transportation system regardless of race or religious affiliation, the buses are definitely not segregated by race like in the US of the 1960ies as the VP-infographic is telling its readers.

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  5. Visualizing Palestine has top grade graphics. Unfortunately, in all its propaganda it fails to mention that most of the problems of non-Israeli Palestinians have been brought by them upon themselves. For example, voting, Palestinians have the right to vote for their own governments but both Hamas and PA have refused to call overdue elections. Moreover, Gaza is run by legally elected terrorists, why would anyone let them decide Israeli politics? The little voting box icons are deceptive. Lebanon and other Arab countries deny Palestinians voting, citizenship, property ownership, and employment. Etc, etc, etc.

    But the site has really sweet graphics.

    Chavistas have also been hiring the best public relations experts that corruption can buy. Sometimes they can be convincing but it is still lies on lies.

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  6. The way to getting to the bottom of things is to propose a switch , for example : how many cubans living in the island would like to switch places with their cousins living in the US ?? We all know the answer to that one . !! and by the same token how many israelis would like to lead the life of their palestine cousins in terms of how their lives are restricted by current israeli rules and controls ?? We also know the answer to that one . Of course being a palestine means being a potential terrorist while being an israelite means being a potential victim of terrorism and since the israelites have total military dominance that justifies all . There is too much cruelty born of historical fears on both sides !!

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    • There are a lot of people who are instrumentalising the Palestinian cause for their own agenda, I have noticed over the years that outrage over Israel is huge while the many human rights violations against Palestinians by the PA&Hamas or the discrimination of Palestinian immigrants in Lebanon & Jordan are not even mentioned. Anyone who is really concerned about the safety and well-being of Palestinians should also address those,otherwise I doubt their good intentions. A comprehensible report on the human rights situation in Palestine which discusses violations from both sides can be found here:http://www.ichr.ps/en/2/6/1209/ICHR-19th-Annual-Report–Executive-Summery-ICHR-19th-Annual-Report–Executive-Summery.htm#.U7Wv6bHlfx8
      I wish that there were more journalists like Khaled Abu Toameh (Arab-Israeli-Palestinian who has worked in Palestinian areas for more than 30 yrs ) who is very balanced and objective,he is critisizing Israel but also reports on the corruption and lawlessness of PA & Hamas, this is the kind of attitude & dedication to truthfulness I expect from a journalist!

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