Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Article on internet activists in Tunisian revolution

"Days after the Egyptian parliamentary elections, described as the most fraudulent ever by some human rights groups, Tunisia's revolution began as it would end, in flames. On December 17, Mohamed Bouazizi, a poor vegetable seller, set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid in protest of a series of humiliations suffered at the hands of petty officialdom. Peaceful protests that broke out in response met with heavy-handed reaction, as reports online made clear, but the country's tamed media kept quiet. Bouazizi's death galvanized hitherto isolated pockets of resistance. "People realized it was now or never," says Haythem El Mekki, who hosts a TV show about Internet society in Tunisia. They had to "go to the streets and scream and shout." A Tak in Sidi Bouzid contacted the Takriz Facebook page admin about the first protests. He was directed to e-mail Foetus, who didn't know him personally. Foetus decided on the basis of a Skype call to trust the source. Takriz leaders knew that Ben Ali would cut off the area as he had during the 2008 protests in Gafsa, so they rushed more Taks in to get there before road and Internet access was severed."

There's a lot here that outsiders (like me) would never know about. I had not heard of Takriz before, for instance. Essential reading for understanding at least part of the Arab Uprising and what role ICA played.

This article was followed up here.

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