about nigel parry
Nigel Parry Bio
AROUND THE WORLD
After finishing a BA (Hons) in English and Psychology in London, Nigel accompanied a delegation of educators and trades unionists in August 1989 on a Friends of Birzeit University/World University Service study tour to the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. This period was in the middle of the first Palestinian Intifada, and this first trip signaled the beginning of an 19-year-long involvement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East.
VOLUNTARY WORK & HUMAN RIGHTS
Returning to London, Nigel served a sabbatical year as Student Union president at Roehampton, serving on his college's Board of Governors and the university's Senate, concluding his time at college working regularly with the homeless for six months, before traveling to Hong Kong to work with recovering heroin addicts and Vietnamese refugees for eight months.
Returning again to London, Nigel worked on human rights education and lobbying with the parliamentary unit of a small British charity, Jubilee Campaign, and was one of the editors of its 1992 report, Street Children in the Philippines. The report was one of the key intiatives that ultimately resulted in a change to the law allowing for the prosecution of British nationals for sex tourism' crimes committed against children in the Philippines and other countries.
In early 1993, Nigel took over as coordinator of Friends of Birzeit University (FoBZU), a British charity that supported education at Birzeit University, the Palestinian Harvard or Oxford. His work included writing and producing the FoBZU newsletter, orienting students for Birzeit's international programme, and organising a study tour of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in August/September 1993. In 1994, Nigel was invited by Birzeit University to work in its public information office.
HELPING TO BUILD THE PALESTINIAN INTERNET
In late 1995, Nigel began to create the original website for Birzeit University, developing content and documenting the Israeli army's redeployment from Ramallah. The site was launched in mid-1996 and quickly became a powerful tool for communicating the conflict at ground zero to the world. The site witnessed an increase from 1,000 monthly visits to 24,000 monthly visits in the first year and a half of operation.
Several subsections of the website received significant attention. As well as The Complete Guide to Palestine's Websites, a popular Yahoo.com-type site that reviewed all existing local Palestinian sites, Nigel worked on several pioneering Web-based alternative media projects.
During the September 1996 Clashes, which saw 88 Palestinians and 16 Israelis killed in several days of violence, Nigel and a team from the university community launched the first alternative media website published by local residents of a warzone, offering thousands of visitors daily reports from On the ground in Ramallah.
Nigel spent some time tracking and promoting Internet development in the Middle East, mostly in the Palestinian Web community.
In August 1997, Nigel was invited to speak at the United Nations in Geneva about the development of the Palestinian Internet.
FOCUS ON PERSONAL PROJECTS
During his time in the West Bank, Nigel's online photojournal, A Personal Diary of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, gained attention for its regular reports from on the ground, which offered a unique look at the often harsh realities of the post-Oslo Palestinian landscape. The Diary has been praised by the British Independent, the Israeli Ha'aretz, the French Le Monde, and other international newspapers and magazines, and was featured in TIME magazine's end-millenium Visions of the 21st Century online section.
In May 1998, Nigel's home was bulldozed by members of the Palestinian security forces following a dispute with his landlady. After four years living in the West Bank, he decided to
In 2000, he returned to London for much of the year, working on commercial and non-profit Web design and in early 2001, returned to the US and released his debut CD, This Side of Paradise, a collection of live tracks recorded during his time in the US and spanning a decade of songwriting.
PIONEERING MIDDLE EAST-RELATED NEWS PROJECTS
In 2001, Nigel and three fellow writers and activists founded The Electronic Intifada (EI) website, a not-for-profit, independent publication committed to comprehensive public education on the question of Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic, political, legal, and human dimensions of Israel's 41-year occupation of Palestinian territories. EI provides a needed supplement to mainstream commercial media representations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has seen many key milestones.
In 2003, the EI team, together with Voices in the Wilderness, launched the Electronic Iraq (eIraq) project to offer a humanitarian perspective during the then-looming conflict, as the U.S. government made clear its determination to go to war against Iraq.
It was the alternative news moonshot. Before, during, and after the US "Shock & Awe" bombing campaign, eIraq writers from Voices in the Wilderness' Iraq Peace Team reported on what they saw and heard via available Internet and a satellite modem connection. In one month, one million visitors got a never before seen glimpse of war and its aftermath through the eyes of peace activists based at ground zero. Both the Library of Congress and the British Library requested permission to archive the sites in their permanent digital collections.
In Summer 2006, Nigel and the Electronic Intifada team launched Electronic Lebanon, which chronicled the Israeli war against the country in daily reports from on the ground.
THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: EYES WIDE OPEN
More recently, Nigel has written about his experiences while detained on Rikers Island in New York City for a month in early 2007, in a journal series that exposes the mistreatment of prisoners on "The Rock" and addresses the corruption of the U.S. Criminal Justice system.
2008 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
After being a witness to the widespread repression of free speech in St. Paul, MN, through the arrests of protest organizers, the harassment of journalists, and repeated mass arrests throughout the 2008 Republican National Convention, Nigel began working on the RNC '08 Report website in the immediate aftermath of Convention Week.
The RNC '08 Report is a citizen's archive of media reports, government documents, and other resources relating to the 2008 RNC. The archive includes videos, various texts, maps, and graphics—searchable, browseable, and tagged by date, source, by key events, people, and issues, and by whether a source is commercial or independent media, an individual or local government—or a legal/nonprofit or police/security source.
With archived sources ranging from the military-style communication Twitter feeds of anarchist affinity groups, to a U.S. Department of Defense press release about the deployment of the National Guard on Day 1 of the Convention, the archive project is dedicated to the idea that true democracy, transparency, and accountability requires widely-available, free, public access to the greatest possible number of information sources and opinions.
The source material posted on the RNC '08 Report website will ultimately used to compile a truly independent, publicly available, citizen's report on what happened during the 2008 RNC.
Today, Nigel offers web and print design, public relations/publicity, and Internet consulting through his company nigelparry.net. Nigel is currently based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he spends his non-work time researching, writing, and playing music.
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