Revolutions are becoming socially mediated, but is there a hidden agenda behind the technology?

The class readings regarding social media revolutions and the distortion of digital citizenship, really opened my eyes to the harsh reality of Egyptian youth and the expansiveness of media technology. For instance, the way that the youths of Egypt used social medias like Facebook to both reach and inform people, who would never know of or truly understand the atrocities that young people face, in countries that lack human rights for its citizens, is amazing and would probably never occur without the expansive capabilities of the internet. However, I do feel that the youth movement that started “We Are All Khalid Said” (WAAKS) was wrong for their portrayal of Said, as a martyr, to support their politically driven agenda. From my understanding, Said was not an activist of any social movement to overturn Mubarak or to thwart the Emergency Law that plagued the youths of Egypt. He was just a youth, that’s it. A young man who lived in a country that treated its youths, as if they were a burden to society. In some way, WAAKS portrayal of Khaled Said, as a saint who could do no wrong, is similar to how the youths of Egypt are portrayed as a problem to society.

While the youth movements of Egypt gain attention for their means, the reality of what is truly epidemic, that is the marginalization of Egyptian society economically and the current disadvantaged state of both the middle- and lower-classes, are not being addressed. I think that in order for the youth movements to have a greater impact on not only the Egyptian society, but also on societies from around the world, it is important that these digitalized movements address the more rooted problems that have affected the country of Egyptian for centuries, not just recently. It seems as if those who are using digital media to gain attention and inform others, are simply using predominant problems that effect both themselves and a more specified grouping of society. However, my question is if the youth movements in Egypt were to expand their agendas to address the whole of society and the human rights brutalities they all face collectively, would those involved in such movements eventually lose their anonymity and become more susceptible to brutalities against their livelihood, both individually and socially? With this said, one could conclude that the reasoning behind the specificity of the digitalized youth movements, is to the extent to which they can begin to address the many problems that face their society, without feeling personally susceptible to the atrocities their people endure, due to the exploitation of power by the hierarchy.

Revolutions are becoming socially mediated, but is there a hidden agenda behind the technology?

2 thoughts on “Revolutions are becoming socially mediated, but is there a hidden agenda behind the technology?

  1. sanasayedi says:

    Hey, I completely understand and support your ideas that Khaled Said was a martyr for political purposes. I think that the Egyptian media and many other anonymous people on social media fabricated this idea about him in order to help their cause. I think its interesting that they would because what happened was a complete violation of human rights and his pictures of his deceased body and face help with the political campaigns to overthrow the regime and aid the protestors.I also do agree because many people behind the social media campaigns have a hidden agenda of some kind in order to send a message and it was surely the case with many social media activists that were both anti and pro Mubarak during the 18 days of the rallying. What is interesting for people to understand is that many societies in the Middle East are very skeptical of the news and now of social media because it has been such a failure at portraying the truth. Many of them hold conspiracy theories and other ideas because they have become accustomed to mistreatment and being lied to. Therefore, your question is valid because in such a time where a nation is trying to change, there are bound to be all kinds of people with hidden agendas operating to provoke some kind of response or dialogue.

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  2. I agree that WAAKS was mistaken in their portrayal of Said as merely a martyr of police brutality. They missed an opportunity to open up a more inclusive dialogue regarding the many social issues faced by Egypt’s youth. Said struggled with social problems, including drug abuse, that affect countless Egyptian youth. If the WAAKS campaign focused on the social problems Said faced throughout his life rather than just his death, his story would have been more representative of the youth of Egypt. We see the simplifying of social issues in media all the time. For example, look at the way the U.S. media handles school shootings. They tend to focus on the killer as a villain and deny the complexities of why school shootings occur. In regards to your question of whether expanding their agendas to be more inclusive of complex social issues would pose a risk to activists, I think it definitely would in the present world of surveillance and police states. The professor mentioned that anonymity is not important to many digital activists, since the internet is just a way to mediate their voices and they still gather to protest in public places.

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