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社会转媒(国际互联网)对阿拉伯之春革命的巨大作用

社会转媒(国际互联网)对阿拉伯之春革命的巨大作用

   

   郭国汀

   

   

   Pivotal Role of Social Media in Shaping the Arab Spring

   

   Guoting Guo

   

   

   I. The Arab Revolutions is the most important political eventworld has been since the collapse of communism in 1989, which has changed thepolitical landscape of the Middle East.[1]

   

   As Prof Abdulkhaleq Abdulla of the Emirates University in Dubai observed thatTens of millions have been emancipated in months, a huge and incredible gainfor the Arab world. [2]

   

   TheArab uprising peacefully overthrow of Ben Ali’s 24 years autocracy ruling inTunis, ended Mubarak’s 30 years monopoly ruling in Egypt, and violentlyfinished Kaddafi’s 40 years tyranny in Libya, threaten Syria and Yemen’sautocracy regime. [3]

   

   Withinweeks the revolution spread to Bahrain, Algeria, Libya and then Morocco, Yemen,Jordan, Syria as well as Lebanon, Oman and Saudi Arabia[4]

   

   ,which has been called as the Arab Spring. The social media means internet andcomputer technology facilitate including: facebook, twitter, cell-phone,YouTube cyberspace,

   Web 2.0

   etc, which were used to bolster Arab Spring for freedomand democracy,

   

   Thesocial media played a pivotal role in igniting and shaping the Arab Spring. Althoughthe cause of revolution is the authoritarian ruling incited the huge socialeconomic and political problems, and the success of the revolutions depend onmilitary’s attitude rather than the role of social media. Despite of both Egyptand Tunisia had achieved decent economic growth rates and received praise fromthe International Monetary Fund in 2010, Tunisia’s per capita income 3.7 timeshigher than Egypt’s, Libya’s per capita income even muchhigher than both .

   [5]

   

   Thus, the political repression, highly corruption andlacking economic opportunity and personal dignity were the forces behind theArab uprising. The most of demonstrator’s demands have focused on greaterpersonal freedom of expression, expanded rights for political participation,ended corruption, and longed for reforms, freedom as well the dignity.[6]

   

   In another word, Arabs are fighting for freedom and rights and liberaldemocracy.[7]

   

   II.Some observers argued the Social media function has limited,should not overemphasis on its determinant or essential to the success role.David Malone, president of Canada's International Development Research Centre,rejected the claims that social media helped topple Arab Spring dictators, saysmore people turned out for Egypt's 1977 Bread Riots than the demonstrationsthat toppled president Mubarak, and the revolutions in Iran and Indonesiawithout the social media at all.[8]

   

   Nizar Bennamate, the cofounder of Morocco's ‘February 20 movement’, noted thestreets are where the real action and the real change occur. “On social mediawe just speak about what happens.” George Jofféa, an expert of Africa study,argued that the social media in Arab Spring has not been determinant. Neitherinternet or Twitter or Facebook were essential to the success of thedemonstrations in Tunisia or Egypt.[9]

   

   Declan Hill, a journalist, mentioned in Syria and Bahrain there are lots ofFacebook and tweets, lots of on the street protests and no regime change,and

   in Iran, Social media have notprovided particularly good analysis or brought about regime change. [10]

   

   Khair El‐Din Haseeb, an Arab affairs expert, criticizes theoveremphasis on the role of social media in effecting Arab revolutions. ‘Theuprisings could not have marshalled all these various social factions if therehad not been a sufficient accumulation of consciousness for the requisiteradical reforms in which different political and conceptual orientations havefactored over the past 40 years’.[11]

   

   III. The social media were used to assemble, organize, plan, andstrategize activities struggling for political change, which is the pivotal inigniting and shaping the revolution. [12]

   

   In Tunisia, Activists used social media to reveal the Tunisian firstlady's shopping trips to Paris on the president's private jet. Lina Ben Mhenni,a teaching at the University of Tunis, She traveled to cities where securityforces were massacring citizens, Her accounts and photographs of the dead andinjured ensured that other Tunisian activists and international media knew whatwas happening in Tunis during the most violent days of the uprising. She becomes“the face of the revolution”. [13]

   

   Hamada Ben Amor, a Tunisian popular musician, His “Mr President, Your PeopleAre Dead!” became a viral sensation on the internet and was later taken up by Egyptiancrowds in Tahrir Square. [14]

   

   InEgypt, Facebook helped mobilize citizens and encouraged them on streets todemonstrate against the corrupted authoritarian regime. Wael Ghonim, a managerof Google Middle East, set up "We Are All Khaled Said" Facebook pagein memory of a young man who was tortured to death by two Alexandria police,which helped mobilize Egyptians fighting for dignity and freedom. He wasdetained then became “face of the revolution”. [15]

   

   Egyptians circulated videos of police abuse and identified individual officers online.[16]

   

   Bahrainis used Google Earth to reveal the shocking size of landsexpropriated by the royal family for private use. In Syria, The Facebookpage “We Are All Hamza Alkhateeb”was set up to commemorate a boy who wasarrested and killed by police in April 2011 while demonstrating with his familyin the city of Deraa; a melody “Come on Bashar leave!” become the anthems ofSyria uprising, disseminated and remixed in cyberspace. A YouTube video shows apopular singer in Yemen his song “The people demand the fall of theregime!” has received 160,000 hits. [17]

   

   The widespread use of the social media among the young turned out to bedecisive in the Arab revolutions. A quarter of the population in Tunisia hascomputers and there are over 8 million users in Egypt, and Arab population 60%under 35 years old, they know how to use computer and internet. [18]

   

   Anumber of scholars, experts and writers highlighted the important function ofthe social media in shaping the revolution. For instance, Panellists,said at an Arab Media Forum session on the role of social media, Social mediaplayed a major role in mobilising Arab streets as they rose against autocracyregimes; he highlighted the role played by social media during the Tunisianuprising in filling gaps that traditional media had left due to restrictionsthat were placed on it.[19]

   

   Naguib, a political science major at the American University in Cairo,pointed out Arab Spring showed the Arabs how their voices can be heard throughsocial media, and helped them fighting for freedom and rights, publishing timesand locations of anti-government protests and identifying opposition groups.[20]

   

   Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre, observedsocial media helped disseminate updates about uprisings in the Arab world inways that could not have been possible before.[21]

   

   Sultan Suood Al Qasimi, a writer whose Twitter has more than 50,000followers since the Arab Spring, said the role played by social media in hisexperience that an Egyptian asked him to stop tweeting about the withdrawal ofpolice from certain districts of Cairo in fear of the panic his tweets couldspread.[22]

   

   Pollock,a writer specializes in Africa, interview the principals behind the region'syouth movements and discovered that the social media have made publiclyknowable experiences of tyranny common to many Egyptians and Tunisians buthitherto unacknowledged and helped organizing continuous protests by creatingnetworks the regimes difficult to suppress.[23]

   

   OctaviaNasr, a CNN formal journalist, observed that social media were a‘megaphone’ and catalyst for Arab Spring, which were an important factor inbringing about change in the Arab world, it played a role in accelerating theevents. [24]

   

   Dr. Natana J. DeLong-Bas observed that the Pivotal in the revolutionspeacefully overthrew regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and pressed for reformin other countries throughout the region has been the role of the new socialmedia “in translating ideas shared in cyberspace into real-life action on theground”,[25]

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