Monday, January 31, 2011

Update On The Twitter/Facebook/YouTube Egyptian Revolution

I was remiss in not crediting Facebook, along with Twitter, in my earlier post on the central role of social networking sites in sparking the Egyptian Revolution. My antipathy for Facebook, hardly ameliorated by its recent Hollywood treatment, got in the way. This Op-Ed in the New York Times tells the story from ground level. Once again, it is the dictators' failure to fully grasp the power of this new media, the only ones remaining that truly belong to the people, that has pushed despotic regimes to the brink of collapse like so many pieces in a "domino theory" for the new Twitter/Facebook/YouTube age. For many leaders of this revolution, Hosni Mubarak is their King George III or Tsar Nicholas II. They have never known another despot in their lives.
"Clearly, the scent of Tunisia’s “jasmine revolution” has quickly reached Egypt. Following the successful expulsion in Tunis of the dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the call arose on Facebook for an Egyptian revolution, to begin on Jan. 25. Yet the public here mocked those young people who had taken to Twitter and Facebook to post calls for protest: Since when was the spark of revolution ignited on a pre-planned date? Had revolution become like a romantic rendezvous?

Such questions abounded on social networking sites; but even cynics — myself included — became hopeful as the calls continued to circulate. In the blink of an eye, the Twitter and Facebook generation had successfully rallied hundreds of thousands to its cause, across the nation. Most of them were young people who had not been politically active, and did not belong to the traditional circles of the political opposition. The Muslim Brotherhood is not behind this popular revolution, as the regime claims. Those who began it and organized it are seething in anger at police cruelty and the repression and torture meted out by the Hosni Mubarak regime."

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