PORTRAITS OF REVOLUTION
Revolutions spread following a sort of invisible tuning.
History has been shaped by hundreds of these sort of connected events. History is the time of living people. History is our time.
We commonly breathe it and sense it. But lately the revolution tempest came into an innovative form of clouds. The Cloud of million of people connected by internet and its social networks.
A NEW POWERFUL, INVISIBLE CLOUD
Social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising.
People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networksand organized political action.
In Egypt the number of tweets that mentioned revolution exploded from 2,300 per day to more than 230,000 per day. The number of videos, Facebook updates and blog posts about government opposition also rose dramatically. Because Twitter users can send updates from any mobile phone, it shows the clearest evidence of where individuals engaging in democratic conversations were located during the revolutions, since many people in the region do not have standard Internet access, but most do have a cellphone.
Government efforts to cut off access to Internet and cell phone service likely caused an increase in activism.
Dictators for a long time had many political enemies but they were fragmented. Opponents used social media to identify goals, build solidarity and organize demonstrations. The level of Internet censorship in the Arab Spring was unprecedented. Lack of Internet freedom was both a cause of the uprisings and a tactic employed by authorities to quell protests. Rulers and governments across the Arab world utilized the law, technology, and violence to control what was being posted on and disseminated through the Internet. The peoples of Egypt, Libya and Syria witnessed full Internet shutdowns as their respective governments attempted to quell protests. In Tunisia, the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali hacked into and stole passwords from citizens Facebook accounts. In Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, bloggers and netizens were arrested
and some are alleged to have been killed.
The developments since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2010 have raised the issue of Internet access as a human right and have revealed the type of power certain authoritarian governments retain over the people and the Internet.
CLOUDS OF NETIZENS