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How Gandhi, MLK and Facebook inspired a revolution


 

History buffs and proponents of nonviolent protest never fail to be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King in their respective struggles against colonialism and prejudice. They mobilzed and through peaceful means overthrew an intolerable status quo and brought revolution and change to their countries. In the past week, we have been witnesses to the events in Egypt that brought down the 31-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of protesters peacefully stood their ground for 18 days until the inevitable happened. Gandhi and King would have approved.

Of course, the events were not entirely without violence as over 300 people were reportedly killed and countless others injured. But the violence was not the work of those clamoring for change; it came from repressive elements within the Mubarak regime. What this revolution illustrated was how the courage, the discipline and the will for freedom was able to triumph over tyranny and repression.

We do not know how this revolution will ultimately turn out. The military, while respected, has produced every ruler in Egypt since 1952. Now that it is in charge, it has suspended the constitution and ended the emergency measures of Mubarak. It has embarked on a process with members of the civil society that is expected to lead to a new constitution with free elections. The revolution, with no real identifiable charismatic leadership, represents a shocking and game changing development in the Arab world—not unlike the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is not surprising that other autocratic states in the region seem concerned and Israel, the only real functioning democracy in the area, is cautiously observing future developments.

In the United States, it appeared that events in Egypt and their extent were not anticipated. The American political class, however, showed reserve and restraint. President Obama and his team acted in a responsible and wise manner, supporting the goals of the revolution and nudging Mubarak out in a way that it remained an Egyptian moment and not one instigated by a meddling American administration. The Republican leadership on foreign policy matters—including John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Boehner—has supported the way the White House conducted itself.

While the US government cannot be accused of interference, it is fair to say that American ingenuity and innovation played a pivotal role in the success of the protesters. Facebook and other social media such as Twitter are being attributed a major role in mobilizing the masses and maintaining the resistance. There may not have been a Gandhi or Martin Luther King leading the charge in the crowd , but there was technology that paved the way for the vision, the goals and the opportunity which led to a peaceful and victorious outcome . That in itself is sufficient enough to worry the other goverments in the region. Again, I assume Gandhi and King would have approved.

John Parisella is currently serving as Quebec’s delegate-general in New York City.


 

How Gandhi, MLK and Facebook inspired a revolution

  1. The Americans were caught flat-footed on this, having no idea Wikileaks would be the right match at the right time in Tunisia, and then Egypt and then on from there.

    Even after Egypt shut down the net and twitter, Wikileaks continued to send documents….via old-fashioned fax machines. LOL

  2. The Americans were caught flat-footed on this, having no idea Wikileaks would be the right match at the right time in Tunisia, and then Egypt and then on from there.

    Even after Egypt shut down the net and twitter, Wikileaks continued to send documents….via old-fashioned fax machines. LOL

    • The "match" if you will, was rising food prices and sadly a young man who self-immolated after being beaten and his fruit stall being shut down.

      After Tunisia the crowds in Egypt felt they could achieve the same thing and they did. And now other Arab populations are feeling similarly emboldened.

      • Started with the Wikileaks and then the immolation….and just took off after that.

        Tunisians finally had proof their rulers were sending planes to Paris for a bottle of wine….meanwhile that young man had a computer science degree and couldn't get a job….and even the fruit and veggie stand he was trying was taken away from him.

        Kaboom

        • Wikileaks, and Twitter, and Facebook had precisely nothing to do with this revolution. The Tunisians have known for years that their rulers were corrupt. And if Facebook and Twitter weren't around, these same people would have used SMS, rotary telephone, faxes, smoke signals or carrier pigeons to organize.

  3. Myth-making 101.

  4. Myth-making 101.

    • What's your point BGLong ?

      • I prefer to get my biased information from sources closer to the scene … rather than
        from someone who is saying what everyone else is saying because they only pay
        attention to each other ….
        http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/645/the-arch

        • and your point is, BGLong ?

  5. Who cares about the US on this one ? It was Egyptians calling the shots .

  6. Who cares about the US on this one ? It was Egyptians calling the shots .

    • Absolutely agree.

    • That's rather the point. It so easily could have been the US calling the shots.

      They didn't. They restrained.

      That's actually a remarkable change of pace for the U.S.

      • Yes, for once they kept their fingers out of thing, and a good thing too.

  7. Absolutely agree.

  8. The "match" if you will, was rising food prices and sadly a young man who self-immolated after being beaten and his fruit stall being shut down.

    After Tunisia the crowds in Egypt felt they could achieve the same thing and they did. And now other Arab populations are feeling similarly emboldened.

  9. Started with the Wikileaks and then the immolation….and just took off after that.

    Tunisians finally had proof their rulers were sending planes to Paris for a bottle of wine….meanwhile that young man had a computer science degree and couldn't get a job….and even the fruit and veggie stand he was trying was taken away from him.

    Kaboom

  10. That's rather the point. It so easily could have been the US calling the shots.

    They didn't. They restrained.

    That's actually a remarkable change of pace for the U.S.

  11. Yes, for once they kept their fingers out of thing, and a good thing too.

  12. I am encouraged by your reactions. Hopefully , the US will learn from this . I find that they have to thread lightly with Iran .Like Egypt.

  13. I am encouraged by your reactions. Hopefully , the US will learn from this . I find that they have to thread lightly with Iran .Like Egypt.

  14. In before the trolls… Oh wait Emily has already posted 4 times.

  15. In before the trolls… Oh wait Emily has already posted 4 times.

  16. Hard to say what will happen .Israel may have missed an opprtunity to enlarge the peace process. Their intelligence is usually better at detecting these things .

  17. Hard to say what will happen .Israel may have missed an opprtunity to enlarge the peace process. Their intelligence is usually better at detecting these things .

  18. What's your point BGLong ?

  19. I prefer to get my biased information from sources closer to the scene … rather than
    from someone who is saying what everyone else is saying because they only pay
    attention to each other ….
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/645/the-arch

  20. and your point is, BGLong ?

  21. Wikileaks, and Twitter, and Facebook had precisely nothing to do with this revolution. The Tunisians have known for years that their rulers were corrupt. And if Facebook and Twitter weren't around, these same people would have used SMS, rotary telephone, faxes, smoke signals or carrier pigeons to organize.

  22. So were Lara Logan's attackers being inspired by Gandhi, MLK or Facebook at the time? I'm so confused!

  23. So were Lara Logan's attackers being inspired by Gandhi, MLK or Facebook at the time? I'm so confused!

    • Probably Mubarak thugs . Don't you read anything ,avr?

    • avr will probably blame Obama . hopefully , we will see Lara Logan as a victim of a despicable crime.

  24. Probably Mubarak thugs . Don't you read anything ,avr?

  25. avr will probably blame Obama . hopefully , we will see Lara Logan as a victim of a despicable crime.

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