February 08, 2011
Social Media v Older Islamist Revolutions: Discuss
Propositions. Discuss. Refute, modify, or support premises or conclusion: Dictators in largely Muslim countries have evoked Islamist-oriented rebellions/dissent in part because they repressed all forums of public gathering except the mosque (exception Enver Hoxha: he took out the mosque). Nowadays, a new form of gathering space has emerged via the internet, social media, etc. This was not repressed in part because the repressive apparatus didn't understand it (older generation) and also they saw it more as a pressure escape valve. Now the users of such media are far less likely to be the traditional types that were lured to Islamism and thus the outbreaks of today are biased towards cosmopolitans with a preference for the concept of a liberal forum of ideas and social pluralism. Discuss.
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I would opine that more important than social media (which admittedly must be considered due to its young upcoming elite / bourgeoisie usage) is Cell Phones. Penetration of cell phones and SMS usage is far deeper than internet, and far far far deeper than social media.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 8, 2011 10:25 AM
Also the Arab Sats as a viable alt info channel. Again much more important than social media.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 8, 2011 10:26 AM
In the case of Tunisia:
1) Arab sats - understand: AlJazeera - was critical for the older generation.
2) Internet was controlled, Ammar 404, the nickname of the Internet censorship apparatus, would have employed up to 400 cops. Youtube, Dailymotion, and many many other sites were censored, and attempts to access some of the most political would lead straight to the interior ministry's basement. In this insurrection however, they were completely overwhelmed, they just couldn't catch up, and years of censorship made the use of proxies natural, which basically mitigated Ammar 404's action.
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 8, 2011 09:52 PM
I think my overall point is sort of a medium is the message. The political atmosphere of where people can congregate to get outside information, to exchange ideas and plans will dominate the explosion. In these cases like Tunisia and Egypt, the mental atmosphere of Arab TV like aljazeera is Arab nationalist, the cellphone and at-home in-frojt-ofTV discussions are diverse, and the internet space -- social media, blogs, etc. -- is cosmpolitan, entrpreneurial, somewhat intellectual-lefty and liberal. This means that the revolts (which do include the mosques still -- Friday remains the big day)) probably reflect those elements -- an Arab patriotic, slightly religious and somewhat left-right liberal balance. Or so I guess if the location of coordination and dissent helps shape the ideology.
Posted by: matthew h at February 9, 2011 01:17 PM