Friday, February 11, 2011

I came across this very interesting write up on the role played by social media in the political revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt. After the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, there is a lesson for political leaders: Do not take people for granted. In Tunisia, it was a self immolation by a youth who lost his livelihood to arbitrary cancellation of his license by civic and police authorities that triggered an unprecedented mobilization -- through social media -- of people who empathized with that young man. In Egypt, it was a young woman -- fed up of rising prices and growing hardships -- announcing on Facebook that she was going to sit out in Tahrir square of Cairo to protest on 25th January that brought thousands of people facing similar hardships to that place. They were all there till Mubarak left!! Are we witnessing a new wave of revolution against indifferent and worthless governments?? Politicians, bureaucrats, its a wake up call.....


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I wonder if, a small administrative order of cancellation of license by a local office should be portrayed as an action/inaction of an indifferent or worthless Government to the extent that it should be toppled. The reaction of the youth was extreme and uncalled for because even in the most insensitive system also there are courts of law for getting relief against Administrative orders. Promoting violence, even against oneself is wrong whatever the reason. (He might have not thought that he would be starting an upheaval). This is not revolution or uprising but pure selfish action because the youth was not pursuing a bigger public cause. This is only chaos and we should not glorify that. This can happen in any Government including the democratic ones as they can also be equally callous or insensitive. Individuals have no legitimacy to put the system at ransom. Those who followed the youth's call in Tunisia were ignorant of the consequences.
    Social media is a powerful weapon but as is case with all weapons including the nuclear or chemical ones, chances of its falling in the hands of Anti-Social elements are enormous. Then the things can, really, be bad as they say in Hindi "Bandar ke Haath mein Ustra" meaning razor in the hands of a monkey. What I mean to say is the democratic world should not be glorifying such movements and the digital geeks should not celebrate something basically wrong. No one knows if Egypt is going democratic or becoming a captive of the "military junta". Why don't the social media come to the aid of people of Myanmar who are suffering the military oligarchy for innumerable number of years? The reason is that the social medium alone is not enough. You need some outside powers who have eyes on your land and resources. Egypt, is fortunately or unfortunately having Suez Canal passing through it and perhaps Myanmar has no oil or gas reserves. The effect of social media is neither noble nor ignoble. It depends on who is handling it. This time it was not people of Egypt but powers outside. El Bardei's role needs to be further analysed. He was an aide of Mubarak and with the latter's approval he was made DG of IAEA. The conferment of Nobel Prize made him known and knowingly or unknowingly, he became the face of present agitation. What he is going to achieve, he himself cannot be sure of. The military in Egypt is not going to yield soon.