January 22, 2011

Ben Ali was brought down by Facebook?

Tunisia – the Facebook Revolution

With every passing week the power of the internet on an international and political level becomes more apparent, for good and bad.

In the case of WikiLeaks, the web was used to disseminate leaks that will change diplomacy and in some cases perhaps even the fates of nations. (The public revelation that China was prepared to weaken its links with North Korea, for example, could put back hopes of a lasting peace in that region for many years.)

Now we see the importance of the internet in helping topple the dictatorial Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. 

First it seems that a group of hackers – many of them Paris-based – targeted the online structures of the authoritarian Tunisian regime early in January.

When the Tunisian government retaliated by shutting down websites and servers, the hackers called up reinforcements from across the internet to keep their operations going.

Then a number of citizens bloggers, faced with the censorship of the authorities, kept fellow Tunisians and the world informed of events in their area.
Hundreds of thousands of Tunisians also searched internet sites hosted abroad for news about their country, many of them French media sites.

Finally, Tunisians managed to keep in touch with events and each other through the social media network Facebook.

'We followed everything thanks to Facebook,' says Najeh Mazlini, a member of the Tunisian expat community in Angoulême. 'It allowed us to come together to communicate, to show the videos.'

He adds: 'Ben Ali was brought down by Facebook!'

It makes you wonder what past revolutions would have been like had they had the internet.

The revolutionaries of 1789...would they all today have their own Facebook pages?
Read more at michael-streeter.blogs.charentelibre.com

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