Daily Video

February 15, 2011

Social Media’s Role in Egyptian, Arab World Protests

As Egypt’s mass protest achieved its main goal of ousting President Hosni Mubarak from power, labor unrest set off a new wave of smaller protest and strikes. Transportation workers, ambulance workers and police officers all demanded better working conditions and higher pay. Tour guides and operators want to encourage tourists to return to Egypt to see the ancient artifacts such as the Pyramids of Giza.

In the meantime, a day after dissolving Parliament and promising other moves toward holding free elections, Egypt’s military rulers called for an end to the latest round of strikes and demonstrations, saying the country needs a calmer climate in what they called a — quote — “critical stage.”

In the age of 21st century technology, social media is being credited for igniting the recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia and other parts of the Arab world. For several years, online blogs and social media have been increasingly important tools used by activists in Egypt, a country with five million Facebook users.

In 2008, for example, the April 6 youth movement used Facebook to gather supporters and raise awareness for striking workers. More recently, that page and others called on Egyptians to take to the streets on Jan. 25, the first day of protests.

Quotes

“We are marching to retain the good image of the police force in Egypt. Some of us made some mistakes. And we are calling for the execution of the former interior minister. He is the reason all this happened.” Marwan Al-Husseney, police officer (through translator)

“Just to tell everyone that Egypt is safe. And come back. We are ready to — to host a lot of people, maybe millions and millions that we used to have. So, we are ready. Please, come to Egypt.” Shahindar Adel, tour guide

“They have told four million people that they are scared like hell from the revolution by blocking Facebook. They forced everyone who was just, you know, waiting to read the news on Facebook, they forced them to go to the street to be part of this. So, really, like, if I want to thank one, thank anyone for all the — for all of this, I would thank our stupid regime.” Wael Ghonim, Google Executive

Warm Up Questions

1.What is social media?2.What is a revolution?3.What events have occurred in Egypt over the past several weeks?

Discussion Questions

1.How important to you think social media, in general, and Facebook, in particular, was to the recent revolution in Egypt?2.What role did Al-Jazeera and other satellite television stations play in the Arab world protests?3.How do you think these recent uprisings will impact the Arab world?

Additional Resources

Video transcript

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