Posted: 28 Dec 2011 Print Send a link
Inter Press Service, 23 Dec 2011, Emad Mekay: "[S]ome 10 months later, Western circles now give little or no credit to the indigenous Arab social change mechanisms that have so far kept Arab revolutions raging for a year now. The tools Arabs used were not mainly Google, Facebook or Twitter. They were simply their own I-Revolt apps. ... Friday noon prayers where hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people customarily gather every week, have been the most shared feature of the Arab Spring uprisings. The weekly congregations were in fact the main hub for bringing protesters out to the streets – not because of their spiritual value but because of their ability to gather people with no or little extra effort. ... A second ergonomic, user-friendly Arab-gadget was the good old A-4 white-paper flyer, handwritten or on rare occasions typed, designating places to assemble and protest. ... Another tool I saw used to keep the fervour going was the simple word of mouth over landline telephones from mostly panicky family members reporting to their loved ones how unfit Mubarak's brutal ways had become. You add to that mix the role played by the 24-hour pan-Arab TV news, especially from the Mubarak-bashing Aljazeera, BBC Arabic, Al-arabiya and even the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra, in spreading the word and you'll get a realistic sense of what a limited role social media outlets had on the ground. In fact, the entire internet was made useless when Mubarak cracked down and cut off all communications - without that denting people's ability to plan and organise one bit."