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?
The first article called “New Paradigms of Popular Sovereignty in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings” by Paul Amar explains all the different forms of sovereignty that were happening in the Arab world. They look at a variety of paradigms which focused on authority, imperialism, history, repression, etc. One of the articles mentions the feminist organization and how they continuously fought back against the state to change moralism regardless of consequences.
The second article explains the issues that arises due many places being regulated and privatized by the mayor. One of the cities largest park was even closed due to it being believed it would cause unwanted “political violence”. While reading the article I also learned how most of the state has regulation throughout the state by “privatization” of land. There are many places that have been closed to the general public and made private for example the Corniche which is a historical urban city is now commercialized and the marina called Zaytuna Bay as well. Putting so much restrictions on land that was public at one point puts a sense of sovereignty in the State and helps keep the citizens under control.
The third reading we had to look at was on the trash issue in Lebanon. Before looking into the #YouStink campaign I never had heard of the movement and uprising that occurred in Lebanon during August 2015. The images that were taken and shown in the article really put into perspective the crisis the country was facing and how the government controlled its people. It is awful learning how other countries allow things like this to get so out of hand. The images showed how the police was shooting water out of canons and beating people them because they were rebelling against the trash issue. They wanted it removed because it represented the government failure and was causing health illnesses. Imagine if you lived in a country that would deny you basic rights?
Of the readings, the part that stuck out to me most were the pictures of Lebanon, both the protests and the trash covering the streets. The people contest that the government is showing itself to be weak and inefficient if it is not able to properly carry out waste management duties for the country. The reading states that the main landfill in Beirut was closed down and since then the trash had been collecting for over a month. The article was from August of 2015. While I’d agree that the government of Lebanon is certainly failing to address some issues related their garbage, and more importantly their citizens, I also think that the trash crisis in Beirut is relevant to something other than rights and government abuses. I’m not sure why that landfill was shut down but it could have been that it was full. If so the Beirut trash crisis is more of a caution of human failing than just the government’s. People generated too much trash and people didn’t plan for what happened if the landfills they currently had weren’t sufficient to accommodate it. As landfills around the world fill up it seems only a matter of time before a similar situation occurs in another country. The Beirut trash crisis is just as much an environmental warning as it is an example of governmental neglect.
The article that stuck out to me most was the first one, the one that pertained to issues surrounding the privatization of Dalieh. The article went into a lot of detail about how the area was public use and sovereignty could be defined as those who use a public space. However the property was still bought by investors and the communities surrounding it were bought out. It reminds me of the after Tahir panel discussion of the government and military working with contractors to gentrify the country. It seems something similar is going on in Lebanon.