Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arab Spring - liberation technology?

Those of us who are ardent supporters of 'liberation technology,' Lisa Anderson, currently President of American University in Cairo, seems to counter with this curious example:

In Tunisia, protesters escalated calls for
the restoration of the country's suspended
constitution. Meanwhile, Egyptians rose
in revolt as strikes across the country
brought daily life to a halt and toppled the
government. In Libya, provincial leaders
worked feverishly to strengthen their
newly independent republic.
It was 1919.
That year's events demonstrate that
the global diffusion of information and
expectations-so vividly on display in Tahrir
Square this past winter-is not a result of
the Internet and social media. The inspirational
rhetoric of U.S. President Woodrow
Wilson's Fourteen Points speech, which
helped spark the 1919 upheavals, made its
way around the world by telegraph. The
uprisings of 1919 also suggest that the calculated
spread of popular movements, seen
across the Arab world last winter, is not a
new phenomenon.

Source: Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011

The debate is much wider though, with cute cats theory by Ethan Zuckerman and scepticism of Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov. And surely, it is not settled in any sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment