Ukrainian Dispatches 2: The border

The situation looks much worse than the day before

Cats in a car. Photo by Abel Polese, used with permission.

This is the second of a three-part series by Abel Polese about his escape from Kyiv to Romania with his children, two cats, his ex-wife and her husband after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Polese is a researcher, trainer and development worker and is currently leading several research projects on shadow economies in Ukraine. He flew to Kyiv on the night of February 23, only to have to leave the city at dawn the day after.

Country roads and more country roads. Everyone is feverishly on their phone to get updates from the fronts. The belief, by many, that western Ukraine will remain a safe space crumbles. They are attacking almost everywhere. All around is silence. Few cars, beautiful landscapes, winter trees, mountains, frozen rivers. F can’t help praising how beautiful all this is. She does not say anything, but you know that your ex-wife’s heart is bleeding, having to abandon all this beauty.

It’s so quiet that you wonder if Russians will ever be able to come here. But then you start meeting concrete blocks to slow down circulation, checking points and soldiers even on minor roads. You wonder how on earth the Russians would be able to get from there to here but you prefer your question to remain unanswered. After all, even Ivano-Frankivsk, one of the farthest provinces, was hit, so the only place is out of the country.

A bridge, a hydroelectric power station. Traffic stops. They are checking every car. You’re so naive to think, “Why are they doing that so far from the conflict?”Long wait, your turn finally comes and you go out to translate for F, who is opening the trunk upon their request.

– Do you have any explosives?

– We are fleeing Kyiv, we took some clothes, the cats and hit the road, of course not.

– Well, just asking; you could have your personal supplies, just asking (maybe he hoped we have and could share with them?)

– No, we have nothing; can we go now?

The road is still long but a friend finds out you’re passing near the village of some relatives. A bit hesitant you cancel your reservation and re-route the car warning the passengers: get ready to eat borshch!

Faraway from Kyiv felt like a different world. Photo by Abel Polese, used with permission.

The road to the border is not what you expected. Actually, there is no straight way to get there so you have to take detours through non-asphalted roads. Yet, even on these small roads, you see trucks dropping soil to slow down cars. You ask yourself where will all this stop, is there really nowhere safe in the country? What is worse is that the crossing point you’ve chosen is closed. You were keen to avoid the main one because this is where most people will go but it turns out all minor borders with Romania have been closed. Your friends call but nobody picks up the phone. This is not the time when you’d take a chance. You need to go to the main border.

You start calling your Romanian friends and settle everything hoping you can make it by the night or early morning, but when you arrive at the border you understand that things might not turn out how you hoped. There is a line of cars that makes you stop even before the illumination poles that introduce the border post. You wonder how long the line is and there’s only one way to find out. You start walking to the border. 

After 30 minutes you have not yet reached the post. It’s hot, excessively hot for February, but you are glad that it’s not classic February weather. How many people would collapse if waiting under a snowstorm? The line of cars becomes two, then three, then two again. The police are trying to bring order but for the number of people (usually in SUV or expensive cars) overtaking everyone in the hope to get faster through the border. It’s war out there and it’s war down here to find a way out of the country. You shiver thinking what could happen if more and more people start pushing from behind in the hope to leave the country in case of rumours that Russians are arriving. It would simply be manslaughter. 

Walking to the post you ask people how long they’ve been waiting. The longest is 24 hours. You regret your late departure or even not having reached the border the day before, no matter at what time. But you are also glad that you got a good night's sleep, could take a shower and you ate some warm food, something that, you reckon, you won’t be able to do for a few days. 

Cars at the border. Photo by Abel Polese, used with permission.

You ask the guards and they say yes, they will let you past, you just need to wait, so you devise a strategy to leave the car in Ukraine and walk through the border but you still need to convince the rest of the company. But you learn that the other car, with grandpa and grandma, her mother and the dog is on its way and will reach you by the evening. Evening becomes night because of a roadblock and that they will only arrive next day in the afternoon. But it makes sense to wait and help them cross.

By the time you are back to the car your phone reads, “Congratulations, you’ve reached your 10.000 step target for today.” Sure, you walked almost 14 km to and from the border, now have blisters on both feet and no other shoes than those you’re wearing. For the first time, you feel hunger. The Portuguese biscuits you carried all the way become the best meal ever, with a sip of fruit juice. 

But you can’t stop worrying. The shelves are getting emptier and the point-of-sale terminal stopped working. With little cash in your pocket, you wonder how long you and everyone else will be able to hold out since the number of people camping is increasing and water and supplies go the opposite way. 

Night falls, warmth becomes cold and you curl up in your clothes to keep warm. The line is slowly advancing but at irregular times. Sometimes the car remains still for an hour, sometimes you can advance a few meters. You start fearing you will run out of petrol by advancing like this and know you have to take turns at the wheel since, if you fall asleep, you will be overtaken by other cars. 

Border traffic jams by night. Photo by Abel Polese.

The car before you does not move, the driver might be asleep or have gone somewhere. F does something he promised not to do and overtakes. One, two, many cars, but when he tries to get back into the line people stop you and urge you to go away. What to do? You cannot go back now, your place is no longer there. The only way is forward. You tell him to drive on since you’ve seen that lines make no sense here. There will be two, then three and people will get angry, anyway. So the car stops a few meters from a truck, from what seems to be the truck line from which you have to move since you won’t be allowed to cross as a truck. 

In the first 16 hours you’ve advanced some 800 metres. You’ve seen some evacuation buses with Indian students and are amazed at how fast this was organised. More people are coming and the situation is getting tense. Some young men try to organise a group of people stopping the cars that do not respect the line. A middle-aged man starts yelling and swearing at a woman who complains he’s trying to pass. You agree with your new friends to go and check the crossing point again. This time, your youngest son also comes. He has too much energy and needs to do something to spend it so a walk is a good option. 

The situation looks much worse than the day before. You see some cars turning around and leaving, their occupants maybe in despair, the insurance company has exhausted the forms (Ukrainian-number cars need international insurance to enter the EU and all online services have been blocked so only hard copies of the insurance policy are acceptable). Even the line to walk through the border is thicker and no longer a line, just a crowd of people spread around the entry gate with guards admitting them at snail's speed. 

On the way back, your friend tries to grab a coffee somewhere. The first place is too crowded, the second also. Then the third one says, “We have coffee but we have no cups. If you have your own cup we can make you one.” Increasingly worried, you notice that the shelves are getting even emptier. Sparkling-water bottles are the last ones, regular water has all been sold out.


Diving tragedy plunges Trinidad & Tobago into mourning and prompts calls for accountability

‘Leadership, poor. Empathy, absent. Communication, terribly wrong.’

Cops break up the protests related to the divers.

Yet, all ok with the maskless carnival madness.

When Paria defended its position, one Twitter user quipped:

Those divers were treated as though they were tools that simply fell into a pipe. No urgency to retrieve them. Human life clearly viewed as replaceable. Extremely sad. Poor emergency response from whichever companies/organizations are involved. Come on Trinidad and Tobago.

Leadership, poor. Empathy, absent. Communication, terribly wrong.
At the core it’s about people and human connection.

More than 24 hours after tragedy struck, there was no formal response about the fatalities which occurred under your watch. […]

It is shameful that yet another state company has been caught with no communications crisis plan and a newspaper editorial is inspired to comment on the apparent absence of protocols and plans for handling a crisis.

I wonder if there will be any accountability for this tragedy. I wonder if the CEO will be held accountable and what plan will be engaged to prevent a recurrence. I wonder if there will even be a report released about what happened and what plans are now in place to prevent it from happening again.

Now we all calling for procedures and when Paria executed them they are being vilified. If Paria allowed [the volunteer rescue divers] to continue the rescue attempts and they also got vacuumed in, who would be held liable? We’d be singing a different tune.

Nevertheless, several Twitter users had little faith that those responsible would face consequences:

Absolutely disgusting the way the situation with those divers was handled. We'd expect resignations and firings, but this is Trinidad, so we know that's not going to happen.

Let’s be real, unfortunately those families aren’t gonna get actual justice for those divers cuz Trinidad ain’t real. They gonna get all expenses paid funerals, some money with counseling and that angers me.

Another felt that the public outcry was overinflated:

I don’t like how ppl blame Trinidad for things that happen everywhere. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation but divers have accidents and die all the time all over the world. It’s not a Trinidad thing

ZMG, however, thought the crux of the matter lay not in the event itself, but in the response:

Those divers were treated as though they were tools that simply fell into a pipe. No urgency to retrieve them. Human life clearly viewed as replaceable. Extremely sad. Poor emergency response from whichever companies/organizations are involved. Come on Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago is facing a crisis of leadership at all levels and we have tainted every process with our politics. Unless there is a fundamental redesign of our systems, processes and procedures, tragedy will continue to befall us. We have the talent but we seem to lack the political will to do what is right every time.


Koalas face bleak future after being listed as endangered

Australia's iconic marsupial is threatened on many fronts

Koalas will be listed as endangered, instead of vulnerable, across much of Australia’s eastern seaboard to try to protect dwindling populations.

But conversation groups warn the listing – which covers Queensland, NSW and the ACT – won’t be enough to bring the marsupial populations back from the brink.

The announcement followed recommendations from The Threatened Species Scientific Committee. This came shortly after the federal government decided to allocate funding of AUD 50 million for koala conservation.

…until the problems of habitat loss and land clearing are addressed, national koala populations will continue to dwindle.

The primary driver of koala population decline is the clearing of its habitat. No amount of money can save koalas unless we tackle this.

In addition, they are threatened by droughts and bushfires, which are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis. Rising temperatures are changing forests, reducing their food supply and quality.

Collisions with vehicles and attacks by feral and domestic animals also take their toll on koala numbers.

In addition to the Federal government funding, there are numerous recovery programs and public awareness campaigns run by governmental and private organizations in response to the threats.

The following video explains their work in more detail:

But rather than there being too many koalas, the AKF believes there are too few trees.

These Koalas were placed in habitat that was not good enough in the first place, as a result of translocations.

Retired journalist Neil Naessens took aim at those whom he sees as to blame:

The tourism minister’s publicity stunt was met with derision on social media:

Dan Tehan at the airport. And they are giving toy koalas to the newly arrived! You can bet they don't have a tag on that says “endangered species”.

Kailas Wild, who worked rescuing burnt koalas on Kangaroo Island in 2020, is no fan of the current Federal government:

With just months before a national election, it is no surprise that many people are cynical about all the political posturing:

A gingerbread koala biscuit . Courtesy of the author.


Research reveals Serbian media outlets’ bias in 2021: Positive on Russia and China, negative on the EU and US

The one-year analysis showed bias and extreme polarisation in coverage

Magazine shop, Serbia. Photo by Zoran Drekalović/Istinomer, used with permission.

In the course of 2021, Serbian media outlets presented Russia and China primarily as positive, while the European Union, the United States and NATO typically came out negatively, as witnessed by the results of the media monitoring carried out by the Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) from December 2020 until November 2021. The survey’s main findings indicated the presence of bias and extreme polarisation in coverage, led by the national frequency TVs that had the greatest impact and audience reach.

The one-year analysis carried out by CRTA included media content on foreign actors (European Union, United States, Russia, China and NATO) from the 12 most powerful media outlets with the largest viewership and readership in Serbia: TVs: RTS 1, TV Pink, TV Prva and TV Happy; daily newspapers: Informer, Blic, Kurir, Večernje novosti and the Internet portals: Blic, Kurir, Novosti and B92. In the last 12 months, the monitoring recorded different tones in mentioning these powers — positive, negative or neutral perception, and the research included full media coverage about politics, army and armament, health care, economics, Kosovo, human rights, culture and the Yugoslavia break-up wars.

America was compellingly the first in media outlets’ news, with 26,853 mentions in media content. There was a tie for second place between Russia (19,735) and the EU (19,555), while behind, we had China (8,834) and NATO (5,075) (Figure 1).

However, it was not only important how many mentions they had but also what those were like, what signals about these powers the public opinion creators, in fact, emitted. If we excluded the neutral coverage, there was lagging NATO with 30 percent of negative media coverage and only 3 percent of positive content. Although the first in the number of mentions, the USA was second to last regarding the perception — only four percent of the content presented America in a positive light, and 18 percent was negative. The middle of the table included the EU with three times more negative than positive content.

The first two places were reserved for “Serbian friends,” which we could often hear and see in the media. China won second place with a good ratio of positive (18 percent) and negative (6 percent) statements, while the first place went to the most popular Russia with 25 percent of positive statements compared to 6 percent of negative (Figure 2).

The source of negative articles and features on China and Russia primarily came from foreign media sources, used to report on foreign policy. For example, when US president Biden or some EU representative would criticise Russia, while both foreign and domestic actors shared production of negative content on the EU, USA and NATO.

The topic of politics was the centre of attention for 12 months and the foreign powers were mostly mentioned in the context of interior, foreign and regional politics or EU integration.

The second place was unstable, shifting between various topics. In December 2020 and the beginning of 2021, when another wave of COVID-19 shook both Serbia and the world, the issue of health care came second. The main narrative in this period referred to the fact that the EU failed to meet the promise and deliver the guaranteed amount of vaccine doses to Serbia and the Western Balkans region, while, on the other hand, huge amounts were secured through China bringing salvation from coronavirus in that period.

In May 2021, when with the fair weather, the pandemic lessened, the health matters lost their relevance, so the world would continue its war in peace, securing arms, making alliances among different forces, and army topics took over the second place, peaking in August during the Afghanistan crises and withdrawal of American troops (the USA presentation here was extremely negative).

Until recently, to be precise, until October, the army was the second most represented topic, and then the economics pushed it out. The analysis showed that energy-related topics were four times more present in the scope of economics than in September of the same year.

Finally, Kosovo-related topics were the least represented, so only during the July peaks, when President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti met in Brussels, did these topics occupy more media space, particularly in September during the dispute about vehicle licence plates (Figure 3).

In the context of these topics, the presentation of Russia and China was more positive than negative, while in contrast, the EU and the USA were predominantly negative. The only topic presenting the EU more positive than negative was economics. It was observed that the donations from the EU, the entity providing the largest financial support to Serbia, were in fact recognised (Figure 4).

Aleksandar Vučič, the President of Serbia, was the most present political actor in the media, with the most mentions in articles and features with foreign powers references, far more than any other government official. This made a huge difference since Vučić was in charge of everything, obvious from the fact that the President’s words were quoted 4,444 times in the monitored media content with the identified presence of foreign powers.

At the same time, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić came second with 1,022 mentions, followed by Ivica Dačić (739), Nikola Selaković (454), Petar Petković (439), Aleksandar Vulin (362) and others (Figure 5).

If we disregarded the neutral tone, the President of Serbia was mostly quoted in news programmes with positive mentions of Russia and China, and the ones with negative tones about EU and USA activities (Figure 6).


In the media outlets we monitored, television was the most powerful means of information since citizens of Serbia predominantly received their information through this communication channel. The TV, in fact, stood for the most radical approach with more contrasted differences between positive and negative coverage.

The national frequency TV viewers were offered the black and white image of the “evil West” and “friendly East,” and the loudest advocates of such image of the world were TV Pink and TV Happy. The morning news programmes represented a significant stereotype generator as the audience was being offered an extremely dichotomous view of the world by pro-government analysts, journalists and members of the ruling coalition (Figure 7).

The daily newspapers were not different from their mightier TV brothers, and the loudest voices were coming from Informer, Večernje novosti and Kurir. Front pages, reserved for promoting the government and continuous negative campaigning against the opposition, represented fertile ground for creating negative discourse on Western countries, conveniently designating opponents as “US mercenaries,” “NATO agents,” etc. Of course, not only on front pages but also in other columns and pages, an opportunity was not missed to extol Russia and China and belittle the USA, NATO and the EU (Figure 8).

Finally, the Internet portals offered a more balanced approach, but with remaining tendencies of reporting on behalf of one side and against the other (Figure 9).

Since public opinion polls on citizens’ attitudes towards foreign actors monitored such correlations, Russia and China were usually observed as Serbia’s friends, the attitude towards the EU was ambivalent and unfriendly towards America and NATO, it was obvious that in their coverage, the media outlets not only fostered but instructed citizens’ attitudes.


Bread & Net panel to explore intersection of digital rights and MENA languages

Session will take place on November 24th at 17:00 hrs GMT+2

We’ll hear the experiences from three MENA minority language digital activists working with the Amazigh, Kurdish and Nubian languages who are taking a “Do-It-Yourself” approach to ensuring that their languages are present on the internet by creating digital content, helping to build tools, as well as training and mentoring other speakers of their language to participate online.

The participating activists are:


“Nothing can break these people”: Social media dispatches from Ukrainians

Online, Ukrainians share what's happening to them in real time

Ukraine has been shaken to the core by Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country. On social media and in private correspondence, Ukrainians talk about what is happening to them, to their families and the people around them.

openDemocracy selected several short Facebook posts and social media messages from Ukraine. We have translated them with little to no edits and without comments. We publish them here with permission.

After spending the night in a bomb shelter, I woke up at 6 pm, took part in a Zoom meeting entitled “No war” [titled in Ukrainian and Russian] and fell asleep again. [Then I awoke and] read that the oil storage facility in Vasylkiv had been blown up and that everybody should run to the bomb shelter, because everything that can fly in the air is flying towards Kyiv.

I decided not to wake up my parents. There were explosions during the night, three explosions, only five minutes apart at some point, but I still decided not to wake up anyone. I sat on the couch and read a postmodern French novel about managers without heads. My mother woke up in the morning, she was surprised it had been such a quiet night.

I have a rare gift for getting into comical stories in any given situation. It happened again. I read that we were going to get bombed. The metro was far away. The basement door was locked. Before the war started, I had called the management office and they told me someone would come and open it. So I freaked out and broke the door down with a hammer.

Unsurprisingly, the neighbours came running. They said, ‘what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I said: “Well, it seems we’re getting bombed.” They said, “this is not a shelter, it just has electric wires. The war will end and we’ll have to repair the door because of you. Show us your documents anyway.” I did and it says that I am from Russia. They said: “Do you realise how serious this is?” They ran to call the cops. But that was an hour ago and no one came.

I’m going to bed. I’ll fix this tomorrow. This is more serious than a Russian bomb. I’ll have to fix this door and to sweep the mess. One mustn’t panic. Glory to Ukraine.

Update: I went back this morning, swept the floor, put the guard back in place.

It’s the second day and the second night we spend in the metro. They just announced that they have sealed the station and that the doors won’t open. We don’t know for how long. We can’t hear what is happening outside. The kids are asleep and don’t know about this for now. Well done me, I put all their gadgets on to charge before they fell asleep.

We have chargers, a bathroom, even if there’s huge lines for [both]. For now, we haven’t eaten all our food, we haven’t drunk all our water. We have two cats and a hamster with us.

I don’t see a reason to keep it to myself. This is just an account of what is happening. To Russian friends who have been living under a rock: we’re experiencing a real war, your troops seized Crimea, terrorised the Donbas for eight years and now they have come for us. To sensible Russian friends: no, you are not to blame. There is no collective responsibility, only individual.

To hyper-patriotic friends: no, language is not magical. No, internal enemies are not worse than external ones. They’re not even enemies. To sensible Ukrainian friends who went to the military registration office to get enlisted to defend the country: that’s cool. To those who left to evacuate their family: that’s cool. To those who stayed and are doing what they can in the circumstances: that’s also cool.

We’re holding on.

“Where are you now?”

“On the bus outside of Kyiv, we’re going slowly, there is a battle ahead.”

“Oh my God. What’s the fighting? What’s the target?”

45 minutes later:

“There is a military airfield in Hostomel. Several Russian helicopters were shot down there. But it looks like we’ve made it through.”

Having been in Donetsk in the summer of 2014 I can tell you that doing simple things really helps. All summer I pickled tomatoes, aubergines, peppers. Of course, in the end I left it all to my neighbours. For their good health! Now I’m in Odesa. It’s become a reflex. I’ve done two rounds of laundry, vacuumed and fed the cats. I’ve baked a fish and had a beer but it’s not working :(( Yes, it’s scary, yes, I’m scared, even though I thought I had already gone through all possible circles of hell with Crimea. I look at the sea from the balcony and I believe in my country. Roll call with all cities every hour. He missed again, the old prick! Nothing can break these people.

“My uncle is in bed with COVID. He’s 80. It’s good that his relatives took him to Kyiv on the 23rd, as he lives in the country. He barely spoke. He’s not going anywhere, from the fifth floor of a Khrushchev-era building with no lift. Mum is also unable to go down so if anything we will just sit in the bathroom.”

Note: this post lists common expressions in messages between people and in group chats.

I’ll sleep, it’s quiet at the moment

Did you sleep at least a little bit?

How are you?

Air raid siren

I’m running to the shelter

I’m safe

I love you


Hang in there


Go downstairs

I understand

Take care of yourself

I can’t speak right now

Is it far?

Something’s fucking exploded

Roll call!

Have you eaten?

Have you slept?

Write me

Don’t worry

I’m praying

I’m here

I’m scared

We will win

I believe

There’s no light

Don’t worry about us

My phone is dying

Yesterday was a relatively good evening – there was a temporary relief, no siren all night where I am (maybe we just didn’t hear it anymore…). A long chat about economic theory of barter and resilient networks with a friend – felt like falling out of the reality of war for about two hours, we couldn’t believe it ourselves. We felt temporarily grounded, feel stronger and rebooted today. But what allowed it is the happy news that my friend, her mother, daughter (my goddaughter) and their dog finally escaped the “wrong bank” of Kyiv, the bomb shelter where they were for days with just brief periods outside, and have left for Lviv on a train. The relief of that news… knowing they are in relative safety… Nothing in the world feels better than that. Nothing.

There are still many friends and thousands of other people left in danger, dying and getting injured. We will win. And in the meantime, I wish everyone in Ukraine to at least get the news I had yesterday.

I am looking at the photos of the destruction of Kharkiv and I am choking with tears. My city, which I love more than anything in the world, which even the wild beasts who call themselves ‘liberators’ will not force me to leave. I am bad at forecasting what is going to happen. Since 2008 I have said many times that having tasted blood, Russia will not stop, though I didn’t believe it would attack in 2014. And even now, when we were facing a big war, I still did not believe and did not even evacuate my family, who are now hiding from bombs in a basement. I could not ask myself the question – and what will happen if this happens to me? I was living with my own concerns, I thought about my career and family. And at that time, the inhumans in the neighbouring country had already approved their plan for exterminating my country. When we win, we will restore my city and country quickly, like a fairytale. I want to spend all summer helping my city wipe away the scars of war. I don’t really know how to do that, but I can definitely carry cement and bricks 🙂 And for those who don’t live to see this happiness, we will raise the best monument, not an idol, but of people, how we remember them, and every one of their names will be revered by everyone of us.


How Taiwanese social media users responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

A disinformation campaign has taken hold

However, President Tsai soon found that she is facing another kind of warfare in Taiwan, too. While Russia has invaded Ukraine, China launched its own cognitive warfare in Taiwan.


While the Russian tanks are marching into Ukraine, there is no sign that the US will let their troops help Ukraine. The effect of sanctions would be limited. It is more effective to send the troops to stop the war, and there will be casualties at that time. […] We can see that the stance of the US is shifting all the time and is not reliable. […] It is clear what Ukraine can teach Taiwan: A small country should never irritate a big country! Taiwan is very close to Mainland China. We earn USD 1,700 hundred billion from China every year, and it is very important to keep cross-strait peace. If we keep irritating China, we are doomed to be in trouble one day. At the end of the day, it is Taiwan that is hurt most.




Some people say, “Ukraine also did something wrong, and NATO should not press Russia too much.”
It seems to them that Ukraine must be a perfect country before we could support them to resist the invasion. […]

To support Ukraine is to support a democratic country resisting invasion, and that is to support ourselves.




While Russia started the invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also started its propaganda war in Taiwan. The wind of public opinions became turbulent immediately, and there was anxiety filling in the air of our society.

Now the Ukrainians have resisted the Russian army for more than 120 hours, and they impress all of us. We have learned from their resistance that: The invasion from a superpower is not irresistible. The defense of a small country is not futile. Support from the allies also play a key role.

The most important thing is the belief and courage that Ukrainians, “men and women, senior and young, people working in various fields, all stand up to defend their homeland.” This “will to resist the invader” is what CCP plans to destroy in their propaganda war in Taiwan.


I have been glued to the internet watching the information and images about Ukraine for two nights. Mimi was sitting beside me. She asked me questions sometimes, and I explained to her succinctly. … Just before she went to bed today, she came to the living room to hug me. To my surprise, she asked me “Will Daddy leave us if there is a war?” I was stunned. I explained to her that when our country is invaded, I have the responsibility to join the army because I had been trained before. “If I do not go, and others do not go, there will be no one to protect Mimi and your sister.”
She asked me again and again, “Do you need to do it?” I nodded, and she cried. Listening to her crying, my eyes watered. Later I brought her to bed and promised her that “I will try my best to avoid the war.”


“Sunflower in Ukraine“

I put the seeds of sunflower
into the pocket of my military uniform
ready to turn my flesh in the battlefield
as their medium on earth
and irrigate them with my blood
on the sovereign territory in Ukraine.





Trinidad and Tobago gets a transgender senator for a day, but a series of tweets turns congratulations into chaos

De Souza claimed her Twitter account had been hacked

Jowelle De Souza, the first transgender woman in Trinidad and Tobago to sit in the senate. Screenshot taken from a YouTube video of a NOW Morning Show episode on Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT), in which she was interviewed about animal rights.

For now it shows that TT is maturing as a country. So I'm very grateful for both sides for having me today. I was treated really well. I'm just very thankful that we have a country that was able to accept people who are different.

The move caught the attention of a few Twitter users, including local journalist Kejan Haynes, who tweeted:

At least one mischievous Twitter user was quick on the draw…

…while another was upset that local celebrities weren't tagged:

What about our local celebrities? I bet Ravi B or some other local famous person would have responded.

De Souza soon responded to the social media commotion, saying:

23/2/2022 I want to say that this account was used by a group to discredit me for no good reason and those tweets did not come from me ,I have had a hard time dealing with this and I hope those who went this far can understand what they did I thank all those who know me better

Fastest somebody get hack and got their account back the next day. How you do that? You know Twitter management puhsonally?

In fact, one Twitter user alleged that this type of thing was part of De Souza's modus operandi:

Stop lying. This is your style. You've done it before.


Global Voices seeks Project Writer for participatory research project

Project focuses on the digital security and safety challenges and opportunities for language communities

Illustration remixed by Rising Voices utilizing the Data Security by Anwar Hossain from NounProject.com

The research project aims to support current members of Rising Voices’ networks of digital activists working in indigenous, minority, or low-resourced language communities in identifying their local language communities’ digital safety needs; setting priorities regarding data privacy and security, communications, and advocacy; and raising awareness and mobilizing their communities to act upon these priorities.

For this stage of the project, we will select 18 researchers from Latin America, Asia, and Africa who will collect data on the challenges, opportunities, and needs of their language communities in regard to digital safety and security. Each researcher will work in collaboration with our project team to produce a report that will provide the basis for 18 articles to be written by the Project Writer and published on Global Voices. These articles will eventually be translated into relevant languages to further engage these communities.

The Project Writer will also collaborate with our visual designer on the production of 18 infographics (one for each case study), contributing concepts and text for use in the designs. In addition, the Project Writer will assist in outreach efforts to disseminate the articles and infographics.

This position is a part-time position based on the completion of deliverables and tasks taking place between the period mid-March and August 2022. The bulk of the writing will take place during the months of May and June.

There is no geographic requirement associated with this position. Please note that Global Voices has no office or physical headquarters. Candidates must be comfortable setting their own schedules, meeting deadlines, and working in a wholly virtual environment.

We strongly welcome candidates from outside North America and Western Europe and encourage people currently contributing to Global Voices to apply.

Email a résumé, a cover letter in English that highlights your work and explains why you would be a great fit for this role. Include a writing sample that best showcases your work, either in PDF format or with an URL. Please send to rising@globalvoices.org, with the subject line: Project Writer: [your name].

The application deadline is 11:59pm ET (GMT -5) on March 8, 2022.


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