Internet and Arab theocracies

The current troubles in Iran have been a big boom for the twitters of this world. Despite trying to gag foreign journalists, the mullahs have learnt too late that internet and mobile tech are readily available. Their own violence and hypocrisy is being exposed by the minute to the listening world.

CNN, BBC et al are showing off their twitter networks to their audiences, as if they discovered them. The truth is, as the Iranian leadership is learning, this is a revolution from below. And just as Bill Gates started in a garage, so Facebook was founded in university dorms.

So what?

It seems that the Iranian theocracy is not the only regime under threat in the region. A study of Arab bloggers was conducted by the Berkman Center at Harvard . To quote Saad Ibrahim, an Egyptian disssident resident at the university:

Blogger has become almost a revered term in Egypt. Groups that are otherwise completely disenfranchised, the only outlet for them is online.

And the more the authorities arrest the writers, the more who appear later on.

Now from an Israeli perspective, all this is very interesting. I wrote yesterday, how much of blogging and twittering is often virulently anti-Israel. And yet, Israel is one of the largest twittering communities in the world.

Do Israeli geeks compalin about the government? Yes, and from many different persepctives. Significantly though, Israel is an open, pluralistic society. Demicratic safety valves already exist through transparent elections and multi language media. Television from all over the world is broadcast daily into people’s homes.

By way of a suggestion to the rulers of most of the members of the Arab League. If you want to be around in 10 years time and still keep criticising Israel, maybe you need to adapt your constitutions in order to meet the challenges presented by modern technology.

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