Middle Eastern Social Movements

1580 Words7 Pages
In recent Middle Eastern social movements Internet-based communication has crucially aided both the potential for mass mobilization and the success of movements. 21st century media technologies (such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube, etc.) operate as a semi-public sphere in which people can share dissident attitudes, announce the location of political protests, and coordinate mobilization. Internet-based communication therefore plays a dually important role; it acts as an alternative outlet for individual expression, but it also serves as mobilizing tool to broadcast anti-regime demonstrations, programs, and organizations. However, 21st century media is not entirely unique in its ability to aid political protest. Since 1900, Middle Eastern social movements/political leaders have used evolving communication technologies in order to promote policies. Although this paper will briefly touch on the role of communication technology in the Arab Spring, it will mainly focus (both currently and historically) on Iranian social movements. The Arab Spring illustrated the value of Internet-based communication in bringing about social change. Political protests leading up to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 featured a strong use of modern communication technology including cell phones, social media and other Internet-based media. Although people argue whether these technologies were responsible for revolutionary change, the point of this paper is not to attempt to prove the cause of revolution but simply describe how new communication technology aided organization. In this context, logic shows that new communication technology did in fact aid social mobilization in Egypt. Facebook groups such as ‘We Are All Khaled Said” illustrated regi... ... middle of paper ... ...ari, Ali and H. Graham Underwood. “The Green Wave.” The Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): pg. 7. Amir-¬Ebrahimi, Masserat. “Blogging from Qom, behind Walls and Veils.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 28.2 (2008): Project MUSE. pg. 235. Boroumand, Ladan. “The Role Of Ideology.” The Journal of Democracy 16.4 (2005): pg. 59-60. Brisson, Zack. "The Role of Technology in the Egyptian Revolution."thereboot.org. Reboot, 18 Mar. 2011. Web. Fathi, Nazila. "In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests." NYtimes.com. The New York Times, 23 June 2009. Web. Howard, Alex. "A Tunisian on the Role of Social Media in the Revolution in Tunisia."gov20.govfresh.com. GovFresh, 30 Jan. 2011. Web. Rahimi, Babak and Elham Gheytanchi. “Iran’s Reformists and Activists: Internet Exploiters.” Middle East Policy 15.1 (2008): pg. 53-54, 56.
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