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Ed Webb

Narrating the Arab spring from within | openDemocracy - 1 views

  • Many were too immersed in the daily struggles to tolerate criticism or contradictory points of view. Many others welcomed observations and comments coming from participants who were able to make connections with other historical moments, and to discern patterns or conjunctions that helped to shed light on current events. Enthusiasm, rigorous analysis, heightened emotions, tears, serious reflections, and “a feel of the revolutionary spirit,” in the words of one participant, permeated the proceedings.
  • Amongst the objections voiced was that it was Euro-centric because it framed the protests with reference to a European precedent, the Prague spring; it implied Arab stasis preceding the coming of spring; it predicted imminent decline as spring is bound to be followed by autumn. Debates over the phrase “Arab spring” encapsulate the overriding theme of the conference: the conflicting narratives of and about the Arab revolutions and the geopolitics of these narratives were put at the centre of debates and analysis.
  • “Peacefulness” is fetishised reinforcing the premise that the state is the sole legitimate entity entitled to the use of violence, a premise challenged by the revolutionary project.
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  • poor and the dispossessed presented as unruly
  • Pro-revolution writers and public figures  challenge on a daily basis the demonization of the revolution and the assault on the symbolism of Tahrir square. Young men and women cover the walls and buildings in downtown Tahrir with graffiti that ridicules official media campaigns against protesters
  • The issue of who tells the story, who has ownership of the narrative of revolution was at the centre of many debates
  • how can we recognize the inspirational effect of Tahrir Square on the Occupy Wall Street movement for example, and still acknowledge the differences in the demands and contexts, without suggesting that one protest movement is more genuine or more original than the other?
  • The Iraq story of a backlash against women’s rights dressed up in the robes of traditional culture was all too familiar to Egyptian and Tunisian feminist activists and researchers
  • In a panel introducing the mosireen group, members of the group, Lobna Darwish, Omar Robert Hamilton, Yasmine Metwally and Philip Rizq, showed video clips which documented violence perpetrated by the military against civilians.  The group met in Tahrir square and organized to expose the stories untold in the official media:  “We think of ourselves as a propaganda machine for the revolution… we are not neutral… we give space to people without a voice.”
  • to bear witness as a means of resistance against official media campaigns aiming to discredit protesters and protest movements. The media mantra about objective and distanced reporting is replaced by emphasis on the personal, the immediate, the fragment as an antidote to official dominant narratives, or counter-revolutionary narratives
Ed Webb

Syria uprising, Twitter, and social-media revolution fatigue. - Slate Magazine - 0 views

  • As we can see from these estimates below, the volume of Syria-related tweets (as a percentage of overall tweets) appears considerably lower than the volume related to the uprisings in Egypt and Iran. The estimates were constructed using multiple published Web sources reporting on number of tweets for the observed events as well as total Twitter traffic over time, including Twitter's blog, Customer Insight Group, Mashable, the Sysomos blog, and a dataset acquired via Twapperkeeper.
  • The Iranian protests in 2009 marked the first time that social media let us witness this kind of protest in a closed society from the citizens' point of view. The world watched, transfixed, as the death of protester Neda Agha-Soltan was caught on video. Now, these kinds of horrifying images have become alarmingly common.
  • The revolution in Egypt was relatively short, fast, and explosive. The Syrian uprising, by contrast, has been going on for 11 long months. Certain moments have refocused the world's attention, such as the siege of Homs in early February or the deaths of journalists Anthony Shadid, Marie Colvin, and Rémi Ochlik. Otherwise, much of the Syrian uprising has tragically resembled, as NPR's Andy Carvin puts it, "the proverbial boiling of the frog." While Carvin and others have been devotedly tweeting about Syria, he acknowledges that the length of the uprising might deter some news coverage. "I could imagine editors saying, what's the new angle here?" he says.
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  • social media and mainstream media tend to be mutually reinforcing, so the dearth of one affects the other
  • for the average observer, the Syrian uprising lacks a clear and consistent narrative. The Assad regime's brutal repression is plain to see, but other aspects of the 11-month uprising are less clear. Some ask: Who exactly is the opposition, and what do the majority of Syrians actually want? Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that this confusion and lack of context spreads to the Twittersphere. With some exceptions, the Syrian tweeps who "are tweeting in English are not tweeting in the same way as Egyptians. They are not providing accuracy and context, nor is it really specific or retweetable."
  • there is no clear or easy solution to Syria's suffering
Ed Webb

Brian Whitaker's blog, April 2011 - 1 views

  • the Syrian Bar Association has "asked a legal committee to study the situation of crimes perpetrated by a number of Arab and international TV stations and individuals who have contributed to the media forgery and acts of instigation to destabilise Syria".
  • "Nasrallah spoke of the ongoing disinformation and fabrications campaign against Syria and of huge amounts of money paid by US bodies and by others to some Syrian figures and sections under the pretext of supporting democracy as to destabilise Syria."
  • a generous helping of foreign conspiracy theory from the Tehran Times in Iran. Quoting a Syrian writer, Colette Khoury, it says Syria is paying the price "for saying no to Israel and America for a long time". "We are proud of belonging to Syria, the only independent state that refused to give up resistance," Khoury says. "It isn’t a matter of reform, not any more. It is about Syria and the Syrian people."
Ed Webb

Egypt: The Constitutional Amendments · Global Voices - 0 views

    Note argument that social media & mass of population disconnected
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