Climate Change: Why the Internet will change Arab politics--and how it already has TNR / Joseph Braude
I recently thought about writing a blogpost about this topic, and I see that Joseph Braude has been thinking along similiar lines. Sometimes I don't think we realize the power we all possess..and it's right here at our fingertips. A sea change in the ability to politically organize around an ideology has been brought about by an open global exchange of ideas. However, bloggers in some Arab nations are feeling very threatened by their respective authoritarian governments. Little by little, political trends are emerging which may be positive for those who desire democracy in the Arab world, but have been stifled due to fear and/or technological limitations to enable dissidents to communicate their ideas.
Mr. Braude writes:
The Internet is now a destabilizing force to Arab governments, some of which are trying and failing to bottle it back up. Despite its relatively modest penetration in the region, the web is threatening the status quo--in societies as conservative as Saudi Arabia and police states as tightly run as Syria and Tunisia--in ways that previous technologies never could. That's in part because it is making obsolete the strategies that Arab governments had used for centuries--with almost perfect success--to quash dissent and cling to power. It may be trite to speak of the Internet's transformative power; but in the case of the Arab world in 2005, it appears increasingly to be real...
...The big question, of course, is whether any of these shifting paradigms is actually capable of changing the present distribution of power in an Arab country--and if so, how and where. Maybe all this online noise is just so much noise, and the medium is still no more than an annoyance to the status quo...On the other hand, the pressure imposed on several Arab countries today by the United States stands to exacerbate all the internal tensions these regimes already face...The fact that Internet penetration of Arab populations remains low--the regional average is below 5 percent--means that the extent of the web's influence will depend on whether it can somehow nudge forward broader political trends.....
....it seems likely that the web's most crucial impact on Arab politics won't be in alerting the west to human rights abuses or rallying support in the international community; it will be in allowing Arab dissidents to talk to one another and coordinate their activities...
"He's somebody I admire. He does a lot of good in this world of economic development," Snow said.
"Most people know him as a rock star. He's in a way a rock star of the development world, too. He understands the give-and-take of development. He's a very pragmatic, effective and idealistic person," Snow said.
I know I'm dating myself here, but I met Bono when he was on his first U2 tour of the United States. I don't even think he'd reached the age of 20 yet. (I know that I hadn't).
The band was virtually unknown in the U.S. at that time. The single "I Will Follow" and the album "Boy" had just been released in the States. A friend of mine owned and managed the radio station which had helped to sponsor the concert. After the show, we were invited for chatter and refreshments on the band's tour bus. The Edge was especially kind to me. He gave me the grand tour of their home on wheels (which was nothing fancy). The group of us talked about the band's first impression of America and we even got around to talking about religion.
I discovered, that night, how different these fellows were from your typical 80s touring band. At the risk of sounding sappy, I found that Bono (Paul) and The Edge wore their hearts on their respective sleeves; they were passionate about life; they seemed especially compassionate toward others; I really liked them. I've remained a fan ever since that night, because when I hear the words to their songs, I feel I know a bit about the men who are delivering their message. And I can say I really like those men. I've followed Bono's work in this world, and I can't say enough about the respect I have for the true spirit I know he's possessed since I talked with him on that night so long ago. That boy followed his path to an honorable, compassionate manhood and I hope he will seriously be considered for the World Bank.
According to Editor and Publisher, this blogger has scored a White House Press pass. I'd never heard of or read Media Bistro/Fishbowl before today. The editor's name is Garrett Graff. He displays the blog's raison d'etre to be "a gossip blog about Washington, D.C. media". It has only been around since January, 2005. It looks like Howard Kurtz-style coverage. Gossipy, not too much heavy political substance, but fun to read. An example: The Fake Invisible Primary. Best of luck and congrats to Garrett.