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“WikiLeaks Confidential”; The World Tomorrow With Julian Assange

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By Anannya Roy Chowdhury:

We all access the internet, don’t we? It is no surprise today that it has become more than just another technological fad; in fact it is the very base that supports all the others. From virtual chat rooms that cater to several unattended thoughts we have, to online organizations like WikiLeaks, the story of the World Wide Web certainly makes an interesting follow up.

In an attempt to build what he called, ‘open governance’, Julian Assange in 2006 came up with an idea that shook the world and changed online journalism like never before. The chief editor and the top dog behind the famed WikiLeaks, Julian is certainly the apropos definition of being candid and dauntless. With over scores of accreditations to his name and work, WikiLeaks has always been in media happenings for some or the other reason. In the wake of the current year, the event that brought WikiLeaks on the forefront was ‘The World Tomorrow’… an effort to make it worth living with heads high!

Although it is a rare chance that you have not heard or read about Wikileaks, a little insight about the glorious journey and the milestones it stamped on, only makes sense.

Keystones that bring WikiLeaks together

When it started in the year 2006, it was the complete effort by Julian Assange, the Australian journalist, publisher, social figure and later one of the biggest threats to the political wrong bringers. It aimed to bring out some of the most controversial news leaks that the world transpired on and heaved an uproar loud enough to shake the very base of world tyranny, (for the socio-political system was shaping in that direction). From the 2008 Kenyan extrajudicial and unexplained killings, the ‘Cry for Blood’ report, to the most recent U.S Government cables, Wikileaks is pushing the meaning of ‘free press’ and transparency forward.

Julian and Wikileaks have also won several top notch awards for their contributions towards this space, from the Economist Award for Freedom of Expression in 2008, to the popular vote for TIME Person of the year in 2010.

So what is this latest initiative, The World Tomorrow?

The World Tomorrow; a ray of hope to change it

Aired on the 17th of April, this is a series of highly sought after political interviews by Julian himself that came wired on Russia Today (RT). There are a total of 12 interviews planned for this season that would be running on a weekly basis in various languages to make it a more widely acceptable venture than only aiming the talks in English, as opposed to most media happenings today. Not just the known, as for the normal course of things in WikiLeaks, in this series too, Julian digs deep into the façade to make the most important figures from different fields, talk! Below is the gest of the entire 12 episodes with only the most significant details leaked (for I believe this job is best left for the pioneers at WikiLeaks)

  1. Episode one: A steamy interview (please excuse the candid use of the word) of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah who is the leader of the “the most proficient guerrilla organization in the world”, the Hezbollah. The main topics that found way were the turmoil in the Middle East and his involvement in the same.
  2. Episode two: One of its kind in the history of interviews, the second one in line starred Slavoj Žižek, the much sought after psychoanalyst and ward of other claims, this episode made a full house with interesting topics like Palestinians, Barack Obama, Stalin and many more being on agenda.
  3. Episode three: The last aired interview was that of Moncef Marzouki, the President of the Republic of Tunisian Republic and is equally grasping an accord.

The rest are in the making and a look into the first three will definitely make you thirsty for more. Their official website for the talk show, http://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org/index.html also has the 26 minutes webisodes and discussions for online edits of a longer duration are in the pipeline. A look into these is thus, a must for all you who want things right from the horse’s mouth.

“How the world sees and does to man behind all this”; a commentary on Julian’s House arrest

There are no doubts about the fact that with his tireless and courageous efforts to make the world a more transparent place to live in, Julian did invite for himself a series of blows and troubles. Since, in their leaks, nothing is defamed and facts, as they form are presented, it is quite natural that a lot of hatred against Julian has brewed up. The direct revelation of this is the 500 days house arrest that he lives under, which for that matter is without a charge. Currently stationed in an English rural setting, he is under surveillance 24X7 and wears an electronic manacle to facilitate that.

With fans and positives critics wanting a free life for the man who ensured that the dying spirit of free press was revived, there is equal opposition from the antagonists. With the fight for Freedom of Expression on-going (for more on the continuing fight for Julian’s rights, visit http://justice4assange.com/), there none but one reassuring feeling that for so long as the world produces evil, the power of righteousness is bound to produce more of Julians and WikiLeaks.

With more hopes than any stark remarks to make, I so hope that the ceaseless power of unbiased journalism be roaring high!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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