Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Digital ‘End of History’? Hmmm….not yet

March 30, 2011

The Middle East uprisings have triggered an enthusiastic rhetoric regarding a strong correlation between ‘Democratisation’ and the ‘Social Media’. Morozov seems to disagree.

Authoritarian states around the world will now develop new strategies to tame the web

This is the main subject of his recently published book The Net Delusion: How not to Liberate the World.

I agree. Fighting for democracy is not triggered, it is just facilitated by the new media. The twitter becomes more the tool rather than the reason. But I also come to understand Clay Shirky’s position as expressed in the Foreign Affairs last month: the social media synchronise the behaviour of groups and therefore alter the dynamics of the public sphere.

I am sure that more case studies -after Iran, Tynisia, Egypt – will be available for further exploration pretty soon…

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R2P but how?

March 1, 2011
According to the Economist (latest issue February 26-March 4 2011) Europe must do more to support the Arab democracy, or, the struggle for Arab democracy. Should Europe, now, just now, express any kind of responsibility to protect and help the Arab struggles for freedom and democracy?
History repeats itself. R2P or the Responsibility to Protect raises so many questions about the How, Who, When to help and  how exactly to restore the order.
I don’t know if Europe can take such a responsibility now, it would be though a good chance for Lady Ashton to make her name more memorable.
But I think I am going to agree with Gideon Rachman in the FT today. The external assistance may help in short term. But in long term stability and peace  in the region should be chosen, determined and protected by ordinary citizens and not by outside powers.

The Greek tawrith

January 30, 2011

In the FT on Thursday, 27th January:

The rallies in the streets of Cairo this week did not only aim at the end of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, but the target was also the president in-waiting, his son Gamal‘.

For Egyptians, and many Arabs across the region, the trend towards tawrith – inherited rule – has long been considered the ultimate insult for societies aspiring to greater freedom‘.

And let’s travel a bit towards the North, not far from Egypt: what about the Greek tawrith? Just take a look on the names of the Prime Ministers in Greece, their family connections, their political backgrounds. A great example of hereditary democracy! The same names the same families for years! The tawrith is not only applied on the Arab nations and politics, it is actually what rules Greek politics for years.

 

Dear Egyptian government…

January 29, 2011

One of the main topics that attracted this week’s interest is the protest in Egypt against President Mubarak that followed similar protests in Tunisia. The fear for a domino effect in Middle East is not an unrealistic one. But, it seems that the new victim of those protests is the Internet connection, the ability of the people to be connected and to use the social media-necessary tools for the organization and mobilization of their actions.

The Net activities in Egypt started to be very problematic since last Tuesday with Facebook and Twitter and further mobile services non responsive, and the users in an effort to discover alternative connection mechanisms. Needless to say,  that the official government denied any responsibility at the very beginning.

Governments that claim that they promote free speech should know that nowadays by ‘free speech’ we mean ‘ being, talking, and acting online‘. Cutting down the online services is not about restoring order in a violent crackdown. The more immediate the response of a government re cutting down online services the higher the chance to be called authoritarian.

Dear governments: On line means also In line (with the contract signed between you and the people).