The first reading addresses the issue many countries in the Middle East are facing with their government and how social media affects this. The web site article mentions how many bloggers would much rather be activists through social media platforms than becoming journalist. Bloggers mention if they were to become journals it would take away the freedom to say what they want and would hinder their ability to push boundaries. They see journalist as simply “reporting” what is going on which takes away from using specific street language or event starting movements. The internet platform is a very important tool for example, bloggers in Tunisia posted testimonials videos of former political figures that ended up in prison. These videos allow movements to spark and help people see what really is happening in their country. The article also discusses how the government will prohibit the use of certain cites because they know how impactful they can be and fear the power they can have.
The second reading is about Bassel Khartabil who developed a free software which granted access to the internet to help his country start free culture movements. He wanted people to be able to “gain new tools to express themselves and communicate.” In Syria the internet is censored and Bassel went against the law so he was detained. Like his friend Joi Ito says, ” It is a reminder that community members do work that is dangerous.” I think it is important to see how far people will go to be able to do the right things even though it is seen as wrong through the governments eyes. The more I learn about other countries the more I see how truly free we are in America. Imagine living somewhere where they censor something we use everyday, for example, like Facebook?
Intellectuals from the Uprising of the Arabs
According to Paul Amar, the Arabs’ uprising which includes Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Marocco , Libya, Bahrain, Tunsia and Yemen, led to a generation of social movements and public intellectuals that documented many of the Arab crises and their backstory. Some of these individuals tend to form this piece of history as a models of sovereignty. These paradigms include absolutism and oligarchy, and Ecocentric topics like the theories of the Middle East. Individuals from the uprising generation is constructing their own array of researched based on the past and current events within the Middle East and some of North America. These models become framework for hopes of a more fair and organized system that might serve as resources to moments that a country might never want to go mack to.
#YOUSTINK is a antigovernment protest in Beirut,Lebanon that raised awareness of the dangers of the misplacement of garbage in Lebanon. Protesters and residents of Lebanon are concerned of the health problems that can be caused because of this essential garbage issue. The organizers of the #YOUSTINK campaign implemented to demonstrate a peaceful protest down the streets of Beirut, until riot police responded in violent actions such as firing tear gas, rubber bullets and spraying protestors with water cannons. As the days of protesting continued, the violence took an increase as riot police began to beat protestors with batons. Such violence demonstrated the corruption of the system that called for protesters to encourage others to revolt against it.
Yet after long days of violence and protest, the system hasn’t implemented an organized process on how to deal with the inefficiency of the garbage management in Lebanon. Due to the numerous people that were injured the days of the protests, protesters postponed any further demonstration.
This week’s class readings were especially interesting, and also inspirational. I found myself enthralled by the idea that Egyptians are learning citizenship, only recently, due to the influx of digital media. In the digital age, youth movements have allowed for the oppressed and brutalized people of Egypt to have a voice. Aside from their found ability to voice their opinions and bring oppressors to justice, Egyptian youth are also now finding that their online anonymity is important to them. Their digital capabilities to bring strength and solidarity to their people, without fear of retaliation, by those in power, has given the Egyptian youth a means of revolt. In the past, these youth movements were not possible. Egyptians have lived in fear of being brutalized or tortured by the police and those in power for centuries. However, Arab youths are now rising to the call for unity and citizenship and are becoming a force of awakened minds with endless potential.
While, the uprising of oppressed Arab youths, in Egypt, has become an important vehicle for Egyptian people to free themselves of the corrupt leaders, who highhandedly exploit their powers, it has also become a means for gender issues to be ultimately addressed. These issues, which are very repressive and subjective in manner, have burdened Arab women and forced them to endure deleterious treatment, separately from the oppression experienced by their people entirely. Tentatively, however, the regimes of corruption and violence still hold power in many of the Arab countries and may eventually recapture influence through politics and fear. Due to the lack of planning and/or strategy to contest a possible resurgence of power by Egyptian youth movements, the Arab youths could eventually be further oppressed and demonized by the regimes they collectively deposed. Yet, with social media and digital technology, Arabs will hopefully have continued access to online communities where their voices will remain to proliferate and increase the anonymity of Arabs against human injustices.
Proposal for final project:
For the final project, I would like build upon the importance of anonymity and free speech to the Arab people, and develop a better way to help Arabs voice their opinions, while staying completely anonymous within the digital community. The level of fear that Arab youths and women endure is deleterious to their abilities to continue to fight against the now and future regimes of power. If the opposition to those in power are not protected, the youth movements and digital citizenship will eventually lose the power they gained from revolting and return to an oppressed people. I think that with added securities and capabilities to improve user experience, without relying on true identity or identifying qualities, can be a tremendous tool to aid in the future of Arab human rights.