My name is Valerie. I don’t think I’ll much longer, and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography that I’ll ever write, and God, I’m writing it on…
02 1 / 2013
01 1 / 2013
11 12 / 2012
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10 10 / 2012
03 10 / 2012
01 10 / 2012
“At the heart of it, data markets enable organizations to access data in new ways, where the currency does not only have to be money, but can be in the form of data or insight.
There is also a trend where companies can outsource certain aspects of data management, especially around reference or canonical datasets, to a third party that specializes in assembling and curating datasets or creating value from data in other ways. As a result, new data economies are being formed where data can be created, accessed, rented, and perpetually maintained in a more simple and affordable way.”"
Gil Elbaz, Founder of Factual, writing for TechCrunch
The article does not list DataSift, but it does belong in it. Also, it doesn’t discuss privacy issues that lurk in the background; “data” is presented in such a neutral tone of voice.
01 10 / 2012
"By singling out one persuasion strategy per person, companies are addressing customers in the way that best suits the user. In the age of increasing personalized data and a greater understanding of the tools of persuasion, companies will no longer need to communicate with customers as an amalgam of an “average user” that doesn’t actually exist. Instead, by marrying psychology and customer data, smart companies will give customers more of what they want: someone who speaks their language."
Nir Eyal on Persuasion Profiles, writing for TechCrunch
30 9 / 2012
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30 9 / 2012
21 9 / 2012
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19 9 / 2012
Serial Injustice: Slain
I wrote this article for MDP Newsletter issue 16 (15-31 July 2004) after the Sattar Commission Reports on the inquiry in to the deaths of Evan Naseem and subsequent prison massacre were published. Editing by Mohamed Latheef.
On the night of September 19th, 2003 in Maafushi Prison - an event occurred that would touch the hearts of Maldivians and move a nation into solemn reflection. A nation riddled with uncertainty would embrace violence, and say never again.
A vicious murder.
Those who witnessed it were overwhelmed by the fate of their fellow inmate. Such was the brutality, that his fellowmen would challenge authority against all odds. Those who had witnessed the murder of Evan Naseem, went on strike at the risk of their own lives. Words left unspoken were spoken. Hands, once shackled, broke out of their clutches. It seemed as if the climax of torture has been reached. Yet what followed is still difficult to comprehend. Why were the inmates at Maafushi Prison shot and killed?
The Massacre at Maafushi Prison
(The events in this article are based on the documents produced by the Sattar Commission)
When the news of Evan’s death reached the inmates of Block C, Maafushi Prison, presumably they would have been still wondering what had happened to their mate Evan the previous night. They surely would have heard his cries, as 12 NSS guards beat him to death. They would have heard his cries go faint as he struggled to breathe with blood in his lungs. It would not have surprised them if he had fainted in his torture. It’s almost a regular event, and knowing the fact that Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed - infamous torturer - had stopped short his vacation and come just to do that. Daily someone gets beaten up for no reason, other than his mere existence in the cell. But, death…?
Death, of a person whom you look up to, someone as popular as Evan, would have been difficult to comprehend. Especially when they knew that he was innocent, of the previous days’ events. From the description of the events by the guards of the Department of Corrections it is known that, after the news of Evan’s death, the inmates were talking of a funeral prayer and refused their lunch. The guards also reported “the deterioration” of the situation inside the cells.
Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed, still with the blood of the previous night, had instructed a fall-in of the company of Maafushi Jail Security guards. From the Sattar Commission findings it may be reasonably assumed that he was keeping regular contact with “Mission Control” in Male’. The depiction of events by the Sattar Commission, does not describe the instructions given by Captain ‘Fusfaru’ (2.3.3). Nor does the Sattar Commission investigate the commands given by “Mission Control”. It is apparent form the statements (2.1.7) and (3.6 and 3.8 of investigation into the death of Evan’s death) that the state of emergency declared in NSS and the ongoing meeting as described in 2.13.1, that there was a “Mission Control”. Detailed reports of the number of times Captain ‘Fusfaru’ contacted NSS members and government officials is not revealed. Further, what happened after the death of Evan Naseem was not investigated. The Commission, carried its mandate given by the Commander-in-Chief Gayoom, and as instructed by Gayoom listed both events of Evan’s death and Prison Shootings as two separate events, when it’s clear that both were related and intertwined. The chain of events that followed should have been investigated as one single event that culminated in the massacre of Maafushi Prison inmates.
How and when did the transfer of Evan’s body occur? Did Captain ‘Fusfaru’ sleep that night? After the death of Evan, who was informed of the death? What was Captain ‘Fusfaru’ still doing in Maafushi Prison after the death on his hands? Did his superiors think he was mentally capable of handling the deteriorating situation in Maafushi Prison? Wouldn’t the presence of the murderer make the situation worse? What is crystal clear is that as described in 2.1.7, Major Ibrahim Latheef and Brigadier Adam Zahir instructed a deranged murderer - who had killed the previous night - to handle the worsening situation in Maafushi Prison. Business as usual in Maafushi Torture Spa?
After the funeral prayer at Maafushi Prison, the inmates were still trying to grasp the murder of Evan Naseem. A group of NSS guards were sent to assess the situation and they reported that the inmates had refused to take their lunch and the situation was worsening. When Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed received the assessment report he instructed his subordinates to lock up the entire prison (specifically G, H, and I, since inmates of Block C were not released from their cell for their lunch). As the guards passed Block C, they were spotted by the inmates followed by a tremendous uproar in Block C.
This was when the inmates forced themselves out of Block C and released the inmates of the other cells. Retreating from the incoming hoard, the guards were forced behind a gate near Block C1 toilet. When the inmates started throwing stones at the guard, the latter abandoned the areas and set up a cordon outside the prison.
After a while of confrontation between guards armed with riot gear and inmates armed with stones, the guards gave up and the cordon was forced open. The was when a group of inmates confronted Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed, who was armed in riot gear, near the Officer’s Block, and tried to talk to with him. Behind Captain ‘Fusfaru’ was the Officer’s Block and inside of which is the armory. The group of inmates was shouting at Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed and between them was Mohamed Faseeh, who was instructing the crowd to remain calm. They were asking Captain ‘Fusfaru’ about the death of Evan and where he was then. During this confrontation, Captain ‘Fusfaru’ turned towards the guards behind him and made a gesture with his baton, and ordered them to take arms. With this “gesture” arms were take and the massacre proceeded. The first to shoot was Sergeant Shahid Ali Manik. His first victim was Mohamed Faseeh, who was trying to calm down the crowd.
Shooting lasted nearly thirty minutes. When the shots were fired most of the crowd turned back and ran. Most of the victims received wounds from behind. Twenty people were shot, of which four died. Fifteen guards took part in the shooting with twelve rifles. It seems that they were running after their victims like rabid dogs hunting for their prey, while exchanging guns between them, as if it was a sadistic pleasure to shoot a human being.
The Sattar Commission report state in 5.5.13 that “some of the inmates who received gunshot would were those noted by Maafushi Jail Security personnel as lead characters in disrupting the peace at the Jail”, and also notes that the inmates were not shot at because they were attacking the armory (5.5.14). This is obvious targeted killing. The guards had picked their prey cunningly and by choice. Meanwhile, none of the documents describe what Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed was doing for the thirty minutes during the shootings. Instead, we get a 2.8.6 (removed for National Security purposes). This raises serious questions. What is the government trying to hide here? How is 2.8.6 relevant to National Security?
Soon afterwards, Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed calls Major Ibrahim Latheef who was at “Mission Control” and informs that “some have fired shots” and “some are injured”. Major Ibrahim Latheef would later tell the commission that he followed that remark by several questions. Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed would later reject them, in his own words “I was never asked any such questions”.
Was Captain ‘Fusfaru’ Adam Mohamed instructed to shoot? If he was instructed to do so, then that instruction could only come from, according to the rules and regulations of NSS, the Commander-in-Chief Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Please also note that no deliberate shot have been fired at a Maldivian citizen by the government in the last thirty years before this. This begs for a special authorization by Commander-in-Chief Gayoom. Also, the one statement, which negates all the “discoveries” made by the Sattar Commission, is 2.7.1 - the “gesture”, order to take arms. Why did he make that gesture? Was he given the “go” to shoot under certain predefined circumstances? Why did his subordinates take arms and shoot so easily? Were they instructed before hand that they were to shoot with his “gesture”? Was this what “Mission Control” had planned, all morning up till 12 noon? Were these the instructions at the fall-in before the inmates broke out?
One of those fifteen who carried weapons on that fateful day, one has been sentenced to 6 months in exile. Others are still on trial. Compare that with the 10 years in jail for Fathimath Nisreen who was only a supporter of free speech.
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18 9 / 2012
A Brief Note on the #MuslimRage Phenomenon
#MuslimRage started trending, around this time yesterday, after Gawker subverted Newsweek’s cover page story titled “Muslim Rage & The Last Gasp of Islamic Hate” - written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Gawker published a post titled “13 Powerful Images of Muslim Rage”, basically parodying the stereotypical portrayal of Muslims as an angry violent mob by Newsweek. The images showed Muslims of various ethnic backgrounds going about their everyday lives, much as others across the world would. Newsweek also tweeted this tweet -
Want to discuss our latest cover? Let’s hear it with the hashtag: #MuslimRage.— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 17, 2012
To which Gawker responded -
Basically, the article was an invitation to join in on the fun, which was when it all started.
Curiously though, on close examination, #MuslimRage hashtag took on a life of its own, and many of the tweets didn’t correspond to either Gawker’s or Newsweek’s intention. Gawker may have liberated the hashtag from the stereotypical, border-line racist definition given to it by Newseek, yet those who joined in on the fun gave the hashtag altogether new meanings.
Gawker’s intention was to use irony, and exaggerate #MuslimRage to absurd proportions. So you get tweets like these -
NO BEEF PEPPERONI AT PIZZA HUT?! #MUSLIMRAGE— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) September 17, 2012
Wrestling is fake? #MuslimRage— Omar Mohamed (@Collabrone) September 17, 2012
What followed was a bit of confusion, and then twitter users settling in to their own very personal and subjective take on #MuslimRage. These are some of the patterns that I could identify (merely judging by appearance, and very rough), that did not correspond with either Gawker’s or Newsweek’s definition.
1. Muslim travelers expressing disgust at the absurd and racist travel requirements imposed on them (resistance to tyrannical institutions through parody).
Lost your kid Jihad at the airport. Can’t yell for him. #MuslimRage— Leila ليلى (@LSal92) September 17, 2012
Randomly selected for additional screening in ever single fligh #muslimrage— Ahmed Ateyya(@Ateyya) September 17, 2012
Needing to travel and your name is Muhammad Jihad Allahuakbar. #MuslimRage— Nader نادر (@BonsaiSky) September 17, 2012
When creepy old dude slaps on latex gloves at security check point at airport then tells me that this may feel awkward #muslimrage— The Brown Paper Bag (@BaggyDizzle) September 17, 2012
Or in a similar vein expressing disgust at the panopticon style monitoring of Muslims after 9/11 (again, resistance to tyrannical institutions through parody).
Not shaving for a while then getting accused of being part of al-Qaeda#muslimrage— Mate. (@WaheedALii) September 17, 2012
I can’t make bomb jokes on twitter. #MuslimRage— Amenah A. (@Aimiekins) September 17, 2012
2. Muslim minorities living in the western or developed countries resisting racism and islamophobia through parody (slightly different from resisting institutions)
Yes I have a British passport, I was born here you idiot #muslimrage— AssedBaig (@AssedBaig) September 17, 2012
“So, you can speak Arabic?” #MuslimRage— Sara Yasin (@missyasin) September 17, 2012
Yes I wear hijab, no I’m not oppressed #MuslimRage— Rowaida (@Rowaida_Abdel) September 17, 2012
3. Faux pas, Muslim etiquette and others in the similar vein (communicating your cultural background with others, inviting empathy)
I’m having such a good hair day. No one even knows. #MuslimRage— Hend (@LibyaLiberty) September 17, 2012
A sudden knock on the door & realizing there’s no hijab in sight. #muslimrage— haneen (@hanoonibanoooni) September 17, 2012
Can’t stand in line for the iPhone 5 without missing Fajr. #muslimrage— Saad Malik (@SaadMalik) September 17, 2012
4. Making jokes of less religious Muslims (indirectly trying to strengthen community values)
There’s no prayer room in this nightclub! #muslimrage— AssedBaig (@AssedBaig) September 17, 2012
The waiter didn’t tell me the meat i was eating was pork; I was so angry I dropped my glass of wine. #MuslimRage— Yousif El Helw (@elhelwy) September 17, 2012
5. Just crazy stuff only people living in the Muslim world will understand
Moon sighting debates. #muslimrage— .. (@dotfuz) September 17, 2012
Dude praying next to you takes “foot to foot, shoulders to shoulders” way too seriously. #muslimrage— Saad Malik (@SaadMalik) September 17, 2012
The plucking eyebrow debate #MuslimRage— HelloThere (@DhaalPower) September 17, 2012
Of course, then there was the Maldivian variant of expressing disgust at the authoritarian Islamic state.
What was most interesting though was that, around this empty core (#MuslimRage no longer had a stable meaning and can be defined in anyway anyone liked), what formed - even if momentarily - was the recognition of new type of agency, resistance and community for Muslims and Cultural Muslims. Ummah 2.0, if you will.
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18 9 / 2012
17 9 / 2012