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Egypt : What sparked it off ?

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  • Egypt : What sparked it off ?

    Jan 25 is the date the protests began in Egypt.

    No identifiable organised movements spurring it on or even any key personalities calling for it, it just spontaneously erupts on Jan 25.

    Why Jan 25 ?

    How does a movement suddenly coalesce with just one purpose in mind to overturn their leader ?

    A few candidates:
    - Tired of three dictators, each one worse than the one before. This resentment is always in the background ready to be tapped when an opportune moment arrives.
    - Economic conditions have taken a turn for the worse with inflation and rising unemployment. Lots of young ppl out of work with nothing to do.
    - Inspiration from Tunisia. Ppl watch the autocrat in that country get overturned and are inspired that if enough show up, shout loud enough, stay long enough then things might change.
    - Twitter & facebook seem to be getting credit for providing some sort of platform for ppl to coordinate and organise. The internet savvy crowd were instrumental. I think this played a smaller role, not everybody is internet-savvy, the internet just serves as a gauge of contemporary mood rather than being the spark to set things alight.
    - The Army does nothing, just sits & watches, the cops do not do too much either, stop occaisional riots, some lives are lost but they don't seem to be as serious about it as before. It in someways reminds of East Germany and ppl noticing the state not reacting in the usual predictable way, telling others via cellphones and a momentum builds up from there. Cellphones are more important than the internet i feel in getting the message across to build a smart mob.

    I'm at pains to say which of these factors was instrumental and which were secondary but my guess is economy, Tunisia and cellphones in that order.

    Any others ? What do you think ?
    Last edited by Double Edge; 11 Feb 11,, 20:59.

  • #2
    Sounds like the Egyptian version of the Tea Party.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    • #3
      Population demographics...alot of young people brought up in the internet age.

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      • #4
        DoubleEgde Sir,

        It seems the best spark would be from Tunisia as there were reports of people burning themselves alive to try to repeat what happened in Tunisia which then grabbed more and more attention.

        I agree with you on most of your points with the exception of Twitter being a platform for organisation while facebook I can't exactly speak on though I'm extremely skeptical of its organisational effects. Mainly because the protests in my opinion would have happened even without facebook and continued even despite the internet blackout Egypt had.

        As for Twitter, I feel as if I can speak on it because I've been working on it as a research assistant collecting data throughout the entire crisis for future analysis.

        Personally I would argue that Twitter is too large to make much sense of it. Trying to listen to a mob all at once and all you hear is unintelligible words. Also there's the problem of rumors and outright distortions. One example I can think of is that there were some people in Alexandria claiming that their protest was the biggest ever and bigger than the one in Cairo; that's just an outright rumor and false. So you have two problems, the massive stream of information and the possibility that the information is false.

        Here's a research project I worked on as a coder:

        "AN EXPLORATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN EXTREME EVENTS: RUMOR THEORY AND TWI" by Onook Oh, Kyounghee Hazel Kwon et al.


        Due to its rapid speed of information spread, wide user bases, and extreme mobility, Twitter is drawing attention as a potential emergency reporting tool under extreme events. However, at the same time, Twitter is sometimes despised as a citizen based non-professional social medium for propagating misinformation, rumors, and, in extreme case, propaganda. This study explores the working dynamics of the rumor mill by analyzing Twitter data of the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. For this analysis, two key variables of anxiety and informational uncertainty are derived from rumor theory, and their interactive dynamics are measured by both quantitative and qualitative methods. Our research finds that information with credible sources contribute to suppress the level of anxiety in Twitter community, which leads to rumor control and high information quality.
        Basically, a load of rumors and a strong reliance on credible sources for actual news information as compared to eye-witnesses and random Twitter users.

        Note: The study I quoted actually never got published because the thesis was proven false and the main writer told me he was grabbing at straws since the only conclusion he could come up with in regards to credible sources suppressing rumors wasn't considered note-worthy to publish apparently.
        Everybody sing this song, DooDah, DooDah

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        • #5
          Originally posted by random_reader View Post
          It seems the best spark would be from Tunisia as there were reports of people burning themselves alive to try to repeat what happened in Tunisia which then grabbed more and more attention.
          ok, Tunisia served as the catalyst.

          Originally posted by random_reader View Post
          I agree with you on most of your points with the exception of Twitter being a platform for organisation while facebook I can't exactly speak on though I'm extremely skeptical of its organisational effects. Mainly because the protests in my opinion would have happened even without facebook and continued even despite the internet blackout Egypt had.
          The bolded bit is significant because it means the movement could sustain itself without the internet.

          Originally posted by random_reader View Post
          As for Twitter, I feel as if I can speak on it because I've been working on it as a research assistant collecting data throughout the entire crisis for future analysis.

          Personally I would argue that Twitter is too large to make much sense of it. Trying to listen to a mob all at once and all you hear is unintelligible words. Also there's the problem of rumors and outright distortions. One example I can think of is that there were some people in Alexandria claiming that their protest was the biggest ever and bigger than the one in Cairo; that's just an outright rumor and false. So you have two problems, the massive stream of information and the possibility that the information is false.

          Here's a research project I worked on as a coder:

          "AN EXPLORATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN EXTREME EVENTS: RUMOR THEORY AND TWI" by Onook Oh, Kyounghee Hazel Kwon et al.




          Basically, a load of rumors and a strong reliance on credible sources for actual news information as compared to eye-witnesses and random Twitter users.

          Note: The study I quoted actually never got published because the thesis was proven false and the main writer told me he was grabbing at straws since the only conclusion he could come up with in regards to credible sources suppressing rumors wasn't considered note-worthy to publish apparently.
          Strike #2 for the internet :)

          The net is too diverse in opinion to allow a movement to latch on to one idea and move with one purpose.

          As i think about it, it seems possible to narrow the cause down to just one reason.

          The inability of the state to assert its writ and counter the challenge to its authority.

          Which should be obvious as if a head of a regime gets toppled then he was unable to quell the insurrection which toppled him in the first place. It came from many directions and there was no one point to counter. Any regime in this situation is going to crumble sooner or later.

          The state security apparatus on the 28th did not seem capable of stemming the tide against them. I think this is crucial in that it lets people know that the will isn't there and this news spreads like wildfire allowing the movement to grown in momentum and size. It gives those in Tahrir square the confidence to continue. If the cell network or the internet is down then it works through word of mouth in the streets.

          When i think of the Iranian protests in 2009, the state cracked down effectively a week later and that was the end of it. But in Egypt they did not or were not willing to be as ruthless as the Iranians were. That too for a regime that was well known to be just as bad over the previous thrity years. This time was different.
          Last edited by Double Edge; 12 Feb 11,, 07:59.

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          • #6
            I was watching yesterday a story where some lead Egyptian anchors apologised to the people for spreading lies, saying they had no choice.

            One thing is sure, for the Egyptian people, this revolution was not televised..

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
              I was watching yesterday a story where some lead Egyptian anchors apologised to the people for spreading lies, saying they had no choice.

              One thing is sure, for the Egyptian people, this revolution was not televised..
              To be honest I have one issue that boggles the mind. The March of Millions occurred in February 1st which was during the internet blackout along with all the misinformation. There were claims of Opposition leaders calling for protests, but I'm skeptical about how far their voices reached.

              Of course, it happened after the disappearance of police and the like while at the same time the army made it clear that they would not shoot at protesters. SO I'm guessing a signal to people that Mubarak is a douche who's tying to make life hard for them and that the army won't kill them is a green light to protest around that time for most people.
              Everybody sing this song, DooDah, DooDah

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              • #8
                The first food price driven upheaval in the global warming era. On the humorous front if you watch Fox news in America you learned about the grand alliance between godless socialists and theocrats http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/...igod-the-crazy Fox news is funnier than Saturday night Live, Faulty Towers, Black Adder and I, prime Minister rolled into one.
                Last edited by Roosveltrepub; 12 Feb 11,, 21:33.
                Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.
                ~Ronald Reagan

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