The Revolution of Conventional Revolutions: 25th of January Revolution, a Passive Revolution and a Frontal Attack Combined
Let’s get one thing straight, The Egyptian revolution was not a Facebook revolution. Was Facebook immensely important? Yes. Was it the catalyst? Maybe. But that is as far as those assumptions can go. Social media today has no longer become just another pastime. Websites like twitter and facebook have now become a way of living rather than a hobby or interest. Ask yourself this, why was the government’s first plan of defense to shut down the internet connection and phone lines? Why was a people’s revolution unprecedented in the past given the simple term of a “Facebook Revolution”? To answer these questions one must look at the power and momentum of social media in Egypt, the transformation of social media like facebook and twitter from places of expression to sites of political organizing. To understand this revolution one must engage the political situation that bloggers and mass public alike have been surviving for so long.
Social media can be defined as a vehicle for social interaction, maintained through highly technological and sophisticated techniques supported by the internet and mobile technologies. Examples of famous social media are facebook, twitter, myspace and youtube. facebook usage in Egypt has risen immensely over the past three to four years. Egypt is ranked twenty third on the list of countries with highest Facebook usage (Facebook Usage Statistics by Country 2010).
Egypt has been imprisoned under the emergency law for the better part of two decades. Talking politics was a taboo prior to the 25th of January revolution. Websites like facebook and twitter were the one place where people from different social and economic classes could meet to discuss politics without the constant harassment of state security forces, or so they thought. As the government began to realize the public’s usage or even dependence on blogs and social media websites it quickly began attacking influential or in their opinion threatening social media journalists. In 2006, the Egyptian government arrested and detained three bloggers for three months (BBC News Middle East 2006). Christian rights activist Hala Hemi Boutros was forced to shut down her blog, for it constituted threat to national security. In 2010 Egypt was the fifth on the “Reporters without Borders” enemies of the internet list (List of the 13 Internet enemies - Reporters Without Borders 2010). The government accused bloggers of posing a threat to national security and having foreign agendas and the regime was quick to shut down websites that expressed opposition to the government. Put simply, online activists were criminalized.
On 25th of January 2011, with the help of a simple Facebook page, youth from all over Egypt and from all social classes left their homes to fight for freedom. One of the prominent activists during the revolution, Wael Ghonaim, tweeted on 25th of January “we are all heading to Tahrir Square now chanting bread, freedom, and dignity” (Day-to-DayT Timeline Jan 25 Revolution in Cairo- Frontline PBS 2011). Another interesting tweet of that phenomenal day was written by a common Egyptian named Shadi Hamid saying “we didn’t expect Tunisia to fall and it did, we didn’t expect 10s of thousands of Egyptians to protest and they did, all bets are off now #jan25” (Day-to-DayT Timeline Jan 25 Revolution in Cairo- Frontline PBS 2011). With a shimmer of hope and brave hearts, they marched to Tahrir to call for basic rights that had been denied for so long under the reign of Mubarak. At that moment few believed that in a mere eighteen days they would be able to overthrow a dictator that had been reigning for thirty long years.
- Quote paper
- Mohamed El Nazer (Author), 2011, New Revolutions: A Revolutionary Change of Conventional Revolutions, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/172846