Friday, December 23, 2011
Holidays without God, a Mideast Pepsi can and Philippine floods: The best of iReport this week

The holidays are fast approaching but things haven't slowed down at the iReport desk. Let's take a look at this week's highlights.


Lights, camera, ho ho ho!

It seems not too long ago that we received the first jaw-dropping, over-the-top video of thousands of blinking lights livening up the neighborhood. This year's "Holiday tech light displays" assignment, a collaboration with Mashable, was a hit. Through it we were entertained by rocking homemade productions and larger-than-life commercial displays. We even had a love story! Mashable compiled some of the best; for more, head over to the assignment page and bask in the bright lights from nearly 100 iReporters who contributed.

Holidays without God

We asked atheists and other nonbelievers how they spend the holidays and received more than 500 responses. Turns out, they celebrate a lot like everyone else. "This is the time of year where you put special emphasis on your loved ones," said Scott Pigeon, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "This matters to everyone, regardless of belief in a deity." Check out Michael Saba's quote wall highlighting the stories, sentiments, and holiday rituals of our contributors.

A controversial can

A Diet Pepsi can in the Middle East has been raising eyebrows among Americans who see in it images conjuring the terrorist attacks on New York City's Twin Towers. A Pepsi spokesman told us the company has stopped production of the can, which was "inspired by the Dubai skyline." But iReporter Lyndsay Brock, an employee at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Iraq, found the can and said, "I think it is at best in very bad taste and at worst direct anti-American marketing to people in this area." Her iReport inspired more than 360 comments and was viewed more than 138,000 times.

Newly homeless Philippines couple marries

Flash floods in the Philippines following Tropical Storm Washi have left some 285,000 people homeless. Perhaps none lost their home in as dramatic a fashion as did Lilian and Edward Ferrer, whose modest dwelling and nearly all their possessions were washed away just hours before their wedding. American David Larson, the Asia and Near East Director of a Christian relief organization called Cross International, and a friend of the newlyweds, sent us the story and was interviewed on CNN International's World Report.

Witnessing conflict at Tahrir Square

A new iReporter from Cairo, Egypt, Ahmed Raafat, has been a steady source of information and images coming out of the protests and clashes in Tahrir Square and its surroundings this past week. Egyptian security forces and protesters have clashed, sometimes violently, as a segment of Egyptians seek to pressure the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces into accelerating the transition of power to democratic institutions.

Think you have a story to share? Check out our assignment desk for ideas, or submit your own view of the news.

December 23, 2011
Click to view balexa20's profile

Thats a little extreem with the pepsi can.

December 23, 2011
Click to view Dan613's profile

@ balexa20, maybe there is something "extreem" in your brain...

December 23, 2011
Click to view jmb1337's profile

there is nothing with the pepsi can. people love to make something from nothing. 25% of people are idiots.

December 23, 2011
Click to view stevie68a's profile

The Winter Solstice is older than Xmas itself. Christians hijacked the festivals to make

them their own. Likewise, for thousands of years, people worshiped the sun. Again,

rather than to try to turn people away from this, christians included it into their stories.

Thus, you have "the son of God", (sun), and you have God's day as Sun Day. All manipu-


December 23, 2011
Click to view lmg1229's profile

I agree with Albert Camus who said " I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is."

December 28, 2011
Click to view felixnuamah's profile

Thank God for his mercy to Ghana and entire Africa countries.

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