[iDC] <nettime> Egyptian Revolution: 2nd decolonialisation for all
john at johnsobol.com
Fri Feb 4 16:18:29 UTC 2011
Hi Judith, and all...
although I agree that the self-involvement and self interest of media
folk (old and new) is breathtaking, this is hardly new, or news.
Is there anyone who would suggest that the demonstrations don't
matter? I don't think anyone has or would.
But I think if some new media types are overly proud of the role that
social networks have played in these protests, many on this list are
perhaps overly hostile to recognizing that role as well. Why I'm not
sure. But in my opinion it would be as foolish to deny the power of
one as to deny the power of the other, or more importantly their
It is this aspect - the symbiosis of virtual and material sociality -
that has created the drama that continues to unfold. One could and
would not have achieved anything without the other. That is the
lesson of these events, as it has been the lesson of many other
evolving social contexts in recent years. Certainly people are in the
streets talking with one another, as they are online talking to one
another (where they still can be, and where they were until the
killswitch was hit) creating distributed, non-hierarchical, temporary
autonomies in both realms, each feeding and sustaining the other.
Where will it lead? Quite possibly nowhere that any one who dreams of
freedom wishes. But we shall see. Certainly, as the recent executions
in Iran proved, the nefarious workings of tyranny are enhanced by the
end of privacy and the durability of data, just as they are
threatened by other inherently liberalizing characteristics of
digital culture. But either way, this is - assuming we all survive
ourselves in the coming years - just the beginning of many
revolutions to come, digitally-enabled, materially lived, both
progressive and alarmingly tribal (hello Tea Party!) against which I
fear the only real resistance may prove to be the authoritarian
hammer of literate politico-militarism (i.e. 'order' as it is defined
by those who cannot abide social structures that resist
paperization). Witness Obama's desire (soon to be imposed) for an
orderly transition. That would be the same kind of orderly transition
that he imposed on the auto industry, Guantanamo, wall street, health
care, BP, afghanistan...
Anyway, I risk losing my way in the tangent that is Obama's
heartbreaking betrayal, so I'll stop here. I would conclude by saying
that it is just as pointless to argue against calling this the
Twitter Revolution as it is to argue for it. The behaviours are real,
the impacts are real. The argument over nomenclature is divisive and
The one and only time i was in Cairo - some 20 years ago - I was lost
for a week in a fog of fever, sweat and dreams, cared for by
strangers. Today I'm a ghost, lost in the fevers, sweat and dreams of
unknown friends seeking freedom, and finding it with each inspired
breath, each courageous step, each defiant word...
peace and blessings be upon them
On 4-Feb-11, at 10:00 AM, Judith Rodenbeck wrote:
> "Most of" the people in Tahrir Square are NOT journalists/bloggers!
> And they are communicating with hands and voices, giving the
> conditional lie to the notion that demonstrations don't matter. The
> self-involvement of "new media" folk is breathtaking.
> On Feb 4, 2011, at 7:27 AM, sumandro wrote:
>> Why are people on streets in Cairo are tweeting and claiming
>> hashtag spaces? Only because most of them are journalists/bloggers
>> and they require the global audience for their living? How does
>> tweeting from the streets change their experiences and future
>> experiences of those streets?
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