February 09, 2008

In Istanbul among activists

In case you were wondering why my blog was not being updated, I am out of station. My travel to Istanbul was eventful right from the start when I left my camera at home. Thats very unusual as I take it almost whenever I get out of the house even for a walk.

One had to worry when you know you have to change the plane in Munich and go through immigration within 30 minutes and your flight started 15 minutes late. After the announcement in the mid air that the Istanbul bounds were rebooked to a later flight and how I ended up taking the same flight -thats another story.

I am here for a conference with more than twenty "digitally empowered activists from around the world" arranged by the 'Berkman center for internet and society' at Harvard Law School.

The conference was very informative and knowledgeable as we discussed how to get the tools to the people who need them most. And knowing these great individuals; from geeks to journalists and activists and sharing our knowledge, brainstorming was really a great experience. More interesting was to look at the laptops individuals carried; the US activists prefer Apple Macbook and in a few cases IBM Thinkpad. The Hundred dollar laptop and the ASUS EEE also made appearance.

Istanbul's European part is not much different than Europe itself except some friendly cheaters who are there to strip your wallet with the use of their rhetorics before you wake up to the reality. The city and especially the night life was live and buzzing instead of a chilly weather. Turkish foods are exotic but not upto my taste.

Haven't been able to look around the city. Hope to steal some time from tomorrow's session to visit some of the numerous landmarks of the city.

Meanwhile was shocked by internet blocks in Turkey and incidentally we are here to discuss how to beat the censorships. Example here Sakib's Wordpress blog.

John Palfrey has more on the Turkish censorships.

Ethan writes about the Imran Jamal's session on activism with Facebook. An added information: Imran is a British-Bangladeshi and I was delighted to meet him here.


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