Social Networking Threatens to Topple Regime?
|Saturday, August 2,2008 10:25|
|By Manar , Manarisms|
Facebook, blogs, and political participation in general are apparently huge threats to the Egyptian government. Fourteen young Egyptians have been arrested for allegedly “assembling, hampering with traffic, and attempting to topple the regime” in Sidi Bishr beach in Alexandria on the anniversary of the 1952 Revolution that overthrew the monarchy—a national holiday in Egypt. The detainees are part of a Facebook group called “6 April Youth Movement” named after the April 6 General Strike for the People of Egypt—which garners over 72,000 members. Although the group is not affiliated with any political parties, on July 23, the day of their arrest, thirty members showed solidarity with Ayman Nour by visiting the headquarters of his party. Nour is the former leader of el-Ghad Party who has been wrongfully detained by the Mubarak regime since January 2005 for daring to run against him in the last (s)election. The regime conveniently charged Nour with “forging power of attorneys” to create the nascent political party—a claim he continues to deny. According to al-Ahram Weekly:
It seems like the easier it has become to organize and communicate, the more tyrannical regimes have become. Thus, joining a Facebook group or creating a candid blog is now equivalent to wearing a “shoot-me” sign. Initially, the dictatorship’s actions appear petty and overly paranoid. After all, if one were to plan out the toppling of a regime, s/he would not exactly “create an event” on Facebook, or blog about it. However, these online outlets are more than just organizing tools. While dictatorships work to break people down into despair and apathy, perhaps a blog or a Facebook group is the only place where dissidents do not feel alone—especially when 72,000 others show solidarity. In addition to the “usual suspects” (his typical dissidents) and the deteriorating economic conditions, Mubarak should fear a rise of political consciousness among the youth in Egypt. Then again, I am sure paranoia is a dictator’s middle name.