Looting in Belgrade

I love the fact that YouTube has become a truly global and multilingual phenomenon and I'm fascinated by the videos that people around the world are watching that make it onto the Top 100 videos of today list on the site. As viewership grows, more and more of the site's top videos are neither in English nor focused on English-speaking audiences.

Today's #1 YouTube video by a huge margin has had more than 780,000 views since it was posted on Thursday. The #2 video by comparison has only 320,000 views as I write this.

The video in question was filmed during looting and rioting in Belgrade, Serbia following the declaration of independence by Kosovo and the new state's recognition by the US and other Western nations.

The video follows several young women who are gleefully looting expensive goods from smashed storefronts. At least one of them doesn't like being filmed and tries to cover her face. The cameraman sarcastically criticizes them (in Serbo-Croatian) for "trading Kosovo for a pair of shoes."

It's yet another peek into another world that we would be less likely to see before the age of internet and YouTube. How is society changing with the barrier to entry for broadcasting to millions of people around the world set so low?

[Reuters has a quick story on the looting here.]

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"trading Kosovo for a pair of shoes" that's a good one.

I guess Kosovo was not generous enough with those women to provide as many shoes as they needed.

You can't blame someone for wanting more out of life while functioning inside a competitive system. What those people where doing was illegal but smart if you take into account that everyone else was doing the exact same thing.

Those who dont loot are going to be the ones who end up with nothing tomorow. Dont you agree?

This is why capitalism/communism fail humanity and this is why people should read more about a resource based economy.
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I work for a new online community called vocalo.org, a public radio initiative that works like YouTube with user-generated content, but is attached to a 50,000 watt FM station. Folks have been calling radio stations since they first went on the air, but our community submits content and determines what our on-air broadcast is about. They're able to do this as easily as leaving voicemail (virtually no barrier to entry) or through produced pieces uploaded to the site.

We're not quite to the point where we're breaking stories ahead of traditional news media in our area (Chicago and Northwest Indiana), but we have had several submissions that were able to go much deeper into local news events and capture more of the human emotion behind them.

These kinds of technologies have the power to increase transparency in our everyday lives and create media spaces that promote real democracy. The comments here are telling: we're able to have more informed opinions about events that are halfway across the world because we can see events that are captured and shared by average citizens. A traditional newscast on the same subject would not be nearly as powerful, and that newscast certainly wouldn't allow a community to create media-based responses.
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I don't think looting is "neat," either. I do think that a localized event like that making it into all of our living rooms direct from an observer without an intermediary beyond YouTube is amazing.


This situation is even dumber. Kosovo declared itself free from Serbia. These are Serbs in Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) ostensibly angry about Kosovo splitting off from them - and to show their grief that are looting from Serb stores. Lame.
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last time i checked, claiming independence doesn't declare "land of the free merchandise".. i agree, jen. this is disgusting. whatever.. i guess "freedom" is interpreted differently in other countries...
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