Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Congratulations to Vardan and Bars Media!!!

Tribeca Film Festival 2007:
Best New Documentary Filmmaker

I'd like to think that as a Researcher in the credits of this film, I share part of the award ;-)

ICTs and protests

Text messaging in Venezuela is now a primary tool of the opposition movement

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


My little brother recently asks me "Done circling the world?"
Well, even with 4 new stamps in my passport my grand total of countries visited is only 8% of the world (18 countries) according to, so the answer is - no, not quite.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

In the meantime, dozens of notable things have been happening around me; I will try to resume my habit of blogging with more regularity...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Balkan pop music...

I must admit that I had hoped/imagined that there would be gypsies dancing on tables, but its actually some modern variation of this going on in the clubs in Bulgaria...even in the charming little town of Plovdiv.

A musical genre that is ready to be exported??

Chalga (Чалга) is a form of Bulgarian popular music drawing from Balkan folk traditions and incorporating Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and Roma (Gypsy) influences, as well as motifs from Balkan traditional music, flamenco and klezmer music.

Often indistinguishable from Bulgarian pop music, it remains popular as music played in
dance clubs and pubs. It is denigrated as a second-rate musical genre and originating from foreign sources, and its lyrics are gnerally considered to be banal and pointless by most educated Bulgarians. Critics of the genre have frequently complained that chalga fans are uneducated or unrefined; some of them refer to the genre as truck driver or taxi driver music. Chalga is known for repetitious themes and hook-laden dance rhythms. Its commercial exploitation has resulted in a vibrant night scene, especially in Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria) and Varna, as well as many televised videos featuring extravagantly glamorized singers. Azis, a Roma cross-dresser, epitomizes the cheap and addictive quality of the genre...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spending the first days of May in a country without a President :)

Romania suspends president over abuse claim
POSTED: 1237 GMT (2037 HKT), April 19, 2007

BUCHAREST, Romania (Reuters) -- Romania's parliament suspended President Traian Basescu on Thursday on charges of unconstitutional conduct, deepening the country's political woes and raising the prospect of new presidential elections.

The move deepened political strife in the Balkan European Union newcomer, which analysts say may struggle to meet the bloc's requirements on structural reforms and prepare to absorb billions of euros in aid.

The suspension, passed in a vote of 322 deputies to 108, opens the way for a national referendum on his impeachment within 30 days although Basescu said this week he would resign if suspended.

"Traian Basescu is a political project that failed. He is incapable of pushing the country forward, of uniting it," Mircea Geoana, head of the leftist opposition party PSD, told parliament during the debate.

Basescu has faced numerous accusations of abusing power from the ruling centrists as well as the leftist opposition in recent months as politicians across party lines jostle for influence following EU accession in January.

The suspension was proposed by the leftist opposition party PSD, in what analysts said was an attempt by the Social Democrats to regain power and boost public support badly damaged by corruption scandals.

Their charges against Basescu, which the constitutional court said were groundless, included fomenting political instability, putting pressure on the judiciary and interfering in favour of interest groups.

In a last minute attempt to sway deputies to vote against Basescu, the PSD also accused him on Wednesday of blackmailing constitutional court judges to clear him.
The straight-talking Basescu, Romania's most popular politician, denies the accusations.
Some say political instability has already dented Romania's chances for reaping quick benefits from its new EU membership.

Romania may see the EU refuse to accept the decisions of its courts if anti-corruption reforms do not continue, or it could lose export markets if food safety standards are not met.

Copyright 2007
Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.