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|We are all Khaled Said|
|Written by Ben Cheek | Sunday, 06 February 2011 18:33|
Chris Walker, a new friend I met while presenting at PRMI, sent me an insightful article on the face of the Egyptian protests from the New York Times. The articles profiles the rise of Egyptian young-professional Khaled Said's martyrdom from a facebook page (also in English) to the face of the current uprising. Chris pointed out how this was an example flattening: of one of the fundamental attributes of the Rise of Complexity. (While at PRMI, I presented EVS, a value-system framework that explains the emergence of the Participatory-Network Age to solve the pervasive fragmentation, mixing, and flattening in the Rise of Complexity, which was birthed as a consequence of the Republic-Industrial Age.) While the use of social media in Egypt (and previously in Iran when the US State Department asked Twitter to fore-go regular maintenance to protect Green Revolutionaries) is important and impressive, the demonstrator's resilience in the face of communications blackouts shows this runs much deeper than technology.
Two things interest me deeply:
First, how story clarification was central to the momentum of the revolt. Just like Neda Agha-Soltan of Iran's Green Revolution, the current uprising in the Middle East is fueled by faces and stories symbolic of the frustration of an entire generation. This time, the whole thing began as riots in Tunisia over the suicide-protest of harassed street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi. His story became a symbol of how the social and economic consequences of a repressive regime are crushing the future. As the fire spread to Egypt, the connected, educated, and largely unemployed youth contextualized the story with the case of Khaled Said, beaten to death in June by two detectives trying to cover up their own corruption. Now, many in the protest have taken up the slogan of Said's facebook page: "We are all Khaled Said!"
Second, I'm interested in how social media has altered the power-story of state-run media. As things were heating up in Egypt, many were surprised by the coverage of Egypt's state run channels who had to walk a thin line between maintaining enough credibility to be useful for propaganda purposes while also serving the interests of their government and military handlers. Accountability in media is based on the competition, and now, even in police-states and dictatorships with strict media controls, the competition is everyone. The reporters felt this deeply, with several career-protecting departures as the demonstrations continued.
|Last Updated on Monday, 07 February 2011 10:29|