Global Voices Online
Thursday, April 9, 2009
For all the attention given to the impact of social media on the protests in Moldova (earlier GV posts on that here and here), there were people both in and outside Moldova who felt that media coverage of the events was inadequate.
Mihai Moscovici wrote this on Twitter on Tuesday, when the rioting in Chisinau was at its height:
People in Moldova don't know about the anti-communist protest in capital. Public TV not covering the protest. Internet down in Moldova.
Kyiv-based blogger MoldovAnn wrote this on Wednesday morning:
[...] I am having a hard time finding good news sources on-line. The New York Times is reporting from Moscow, which to me means they don’t know squat either, their news is as much hearsay as the anything else. And since they have no facts to report, they published an article about the social networking aspects of the protests. Please. Give me some real news!!! [...]
MoldovAnn, like many others, relied to some extent on the information provided by contacts on the ground - and shared it on her blog:
[...] I talked to two friends in Chisinau yesterday - one in her office right in the center of town, in the heart of the protest area; the other at work on the edge of town. The first told me there were reports of injured protesters being transported away by ambulances. Both said the protesters are overwhelming young people. Traffic was blocked in the center, but a few blocks away was supposedly running normally. [...]
Lyndon of Scraps of Moscow, whose excellent updates on the situation and its coverage can be found under the "Grape Revolution" tag, also posted emails from a Chisinau friend; below is part of the first message:
[...] Protesters planned to reassemble in downtown Chisinau at 10am local time today (that is, about an hour ago). The latest news I have is from an email sent around by a friend of ours in Chisinau a few hours ago:
It is 7am in Chisinau and a fresh day is about to start.
A quick update on the night's events:
1. Parliament building is no longer in flames
2. The night in Chisinau's center was peaceful
3. The major local news networks either are not allowed to work by the Communist party or are actually getting some rest until the later in the morning
Thank you for sending me updates and news on Moldova from the international press. I find that the Western press has been very professional at capturing the reality on the ground and the reasons for why the youth are on the streets. As NY times put it - it is a generational clash - the youth (who voted mostly anti-communist, for lack of job opportunities in Moldova or even abroad this year in the context of the global crisis) and the older generation nostalgic after the "stability" offered by the current and former Communist governments.
One last note for this early morning - this is the FIRST Even large scale protest that turned into violence in Moldova since 1989, when the first large-scale meetings were taking place to support Moldova's independence and union with Romania.
Moldovans on the whole are a very peaceful nation, and would rather sit at the table with you over a home-made glass of wine [...] than take to the streets. [...] The opposition promised to continue the peaceful protests in the main square and have been asking now for families to join in in a sign of solidarity. The lady in the Parliament who was thought dead is actually well. So it seems that in spite of all the damage inflicted on the Parliament and the Presidency, thankfully no one has lost his/her life. [...]
Robert Amsterdam's blog, too, had a selection of messages from "colleagues" in Moldova's capital:
[...] Do you see what's going on here? I barely got home (I live in the center). God only knows where my son is, they're shutting down mobile communications. They're shooting, blood is being spilled. My God. The situation is out of control.
They're protesting the results of the voting. But there are more civil ways to do this. Today they threw the children out of the lyceums and universities to make revolution. The Romanian flag is already flying over the Parliament. The Presidentura [building where the President sits] has been ransacked. I don't know where the fool is holed up. These are children!!! [...]
Below are some more links to blog coverage of the protests.
- April 7 photos from Chisinau - at Kosmopolito.
- More photos by LJ user le_trefle, posted in LiveJournal's md_community - and this observation (RUS):
[...] I was shocked by how, just 200 meters away, such different actions can be taking place. Across the street from the government building, they are calling for civility and calmness, while inside the parliament building, they are burning furniture, breaking windows and looting all they can. [...]
- Reuters photos - at LJ user drugoi's blog.
More "names" for the "revolution" in Moldova (in addition to Evgeni Morozov's "Twitter Revolution" and Lyndon's "Grape Revolution":
- "Candle Revolution" - by gabrielaionita of Power&Politics Weblog:
[...] Demonstration of young people from Kishinev started as a viral message on the Internet. That stated on April 6 Day of National Mourning, and young people were called to light a candle in the Great Square of Chisinau. [...]
More on the candles - here:
Cezar Maroti [writes] this [on Twitter]: "In Moldova apparently almost 200.000 dead people voted for the Communists. The protesters were right to declare today a mourning day."
- “Orphans’ Revolution” - by Dumitru Minzarari:
[...] Now the communists and their Eastern “partners” are building a huge media myth to discredit the pure ideals of Moldovan youth willing nothing more than freedom and respect for their rights. Their protests were labeled the “Orphans’ Revolution” because under the Communist government close to a third of Moldovan citizens (their parents) went abroad to earn money for a living. [...]
A couple posts on Natalia Morari, who is believed to be one of the organizers of the protests:
- OpenDemocracy.net posts a background on Morari and translates from her blog - here.
According to OpenDemocracy.net, "no one in the capital Chisinau knows where [Morari] is. Her mobile phone is switched off." However, according to Morari's husband (RUS), Russian journalist Ilya Barabanov (LJ user barabanch), she is currently "in a safe place" - while Moldova's interior ministry was "lying" when it announced that Morari had been detained.
- Russian youth opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky urges "American and European leaders" to "speak up in support of peaceful solution in Moldova and call both sides to refrain from violence":
[...] The governement is now in control of Chisinau and accuses the opposition of attempting a coup. Communist President Vladimir Voronin may now use the protests to crack down on the civil and political activists and the arrests are already said to have begun. Organizers of the Monday action, like youth leader Natalia Morar, deny the accusations and explain that they tried to prevent violence. However, the government doesn’t seem to be listening. If the crackdown continues, the whole democratic opposition in Moldova may be beheaded and the already threatened democracy effectively destroyed. [...]
Miscellaneous blog links:
- Updates and analysis at Nicu Popescu's Neighbourhood (part of EUobserver Blogs)
- Ari Rusila of BalkanPerspective (part of Blogactiv.eu) writes about "some possible consequences" of what's happened in Moldova:
[...] Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as [Vladimir Voronin] is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions. [...]
- A Russian take (RUS) on the same issue - by LJ user misssing-link (Yuri Tyurin):
What's happening in Moldova [is good]. If Voronin stays in power, he'll lose international support in any case, and Russia will begin to get closer to him and simultaneously blackmail him with [the possibility of an Orange Revolution scenario], forcing him into recognition of [Transnistria]. [...]
Some "dark humor" inspired by the protests:
- Evgeni Morozov:
Here is also some dark Twitter humor: "Protests in Moldova "explode, thanks to Twitter". To say thanks, authorities will only imprison 140 characters at a time".
- LJ user vsm_md (RUS):
To one of today's news items - "Today, protesters in Chisinau stormed the building of Moldova's presidential administration and raised the European Union's flag over it" - I'd like to add this: "Somewhat later, the European Union showed up and took its flag down."