Social Networking Revolution

Governments panic at the sound of facebook, especially if the government is despotic and corrupt like Egypt under Mubarak, or Syria under Assad. Governments want to believe that they are popular and more importantly they desperately want to be the sole recipients of peoples’ love, sympathy and admiration. Mass people, governments hope, should not have any alternative power source in control of their affairs. That would mark the end of any government’s legitimacy.

In 1971, there was only one ruler in East Pakistan, and it was’nt Yahya. Someone had captured the hearts and minds of the common man and held their attention in his powerful grip. He could order them to do anything. One man had mesmerized and hypnotized an entire nation. Generals just never understood the power of mass popularity.

Mubarak, like Yahya, fell in that same trap. He too thought he could bulldoze his compatriots to surrender to his will. He thought he could control Egypt from his headquarters in Heliopless. Mubarak was deaf, dumb and blind. He did not see Tahrir Square as the heart of Egypt which controlled his country. It happened that way because that’s where all the emotions and thoughts and feelings of the people converged. Mubarak was cut off from the people. Tahrir Square represented the people. How was this brilliant revolution being organized?

The Arab Spring starting from Tunisia down to Yemen is being organized and lead from cyber space by social networking sites. Facebook, twitter, blogs and other such sites are the fuel for the engine of new revolution. Facebook and twitter on mobiles is a more accurate definition of this fuel.

Arab societies are under brutal dictatorships, although the age of secret police is over, they are still not yet free from tyranny. Without a device to encrypt and send messages secretly there would have been no Arab Spring to start with. The burning of BouAziza was recorded and posted on facebook. That post got sent around the network bringing angry youth to secretly gather at Tunis for a showdown with Ben Ali’s forces. The corrupt secret police of Ben Ali could not track the organizers because they were using internet based technology and always changing their locations in anticipation of a crackdown.

Wael Ghonim used facebook accounts to spread police torture and killing of an Egyptian called Khaled. Egyptian youth learned the trick very quickly from Tunisia. They used facebook and twitter to organize the youth into one massive movement that galvanized at Tahrir Square astonishing the whole world. The power of revolutions through internet had just begun. Mubarak, Ben Ali, Ghaddafi, Ali Abdallah Saleh and now Assad can owe their disgraceful end partly to social networking sites.

It is very well expected that despots and dictators would like to ban social networking from their countries. But why is the British government thinking about draconian laws to limit facebook and other social sites?

Last summer in the wake of the London riots, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the government should have the power to censor social media and “stop [alleged rioters] from communicating via these websites”. That sounded more like Mubarak than Cameroon

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6th Caliphate in Tunis

The Arab Spring started in Tunisia creating a domino effect on Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen. It is once again at the center of another controversy. But this time it is different. Since the collapse of Ben Ali regime analysts worried about the coming change in Tunisia’s political landscape, mainly due to the largest political party, Ennahdah. An Islamist party having ties with Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other Islamist parties. Tunisia since independence from French protectorate in 1956 remained a Republic ruled by dictators. Secularists enjoy a relative majority in capital Tunis but the mass people outside support Islamists. Ennahda proved this with their 40% majority in recent general elections. Hammadi Jebali is the General Secretary of Ennahdah who at a press conference declared that we were about to witness the return of the Caliphate in the form of the 6th Khilafah State. Not unexpectedly, his remarks drew criticism from the secular parties and journalists. Foreign media (especially Washington Post and The Telegraph) showed measured tone in their criticism. Below is the copy of the official message from Tunisia-Live.net “With deep roots in the fight against anti-Muslim oppression, Hamadi Jebali emerged from years in jail under the regime of Zine Ben Ali as a man of compromise and the moderate face of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamist party. However, on November 13, 2011 Jebali spoke at a rally in Sidi Dhaher (governorate of Sousse) together with a parliamentary deputy from the Palestinian party Hamas. Jebali referred to the present time as “a divine moment in a new state, and in hopefully a 6th Caliphate,” and that “the liberation of Tunisia will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem.” The statement caused a stir among the Tunisian political class as well as among the general public.” Jebali is tipped to be the future Prime Minister of Tunisia. He will also be heading the new committee to draft a new constitution for Tunisia. His statement may have been a slip, but it was the first time since the end of WWI that an elected statesman from a muslim country has called for return of Caliphate at a press conference. The sentiment was picked up by other Islamist parties in Tunis, Cairo and Damascus. It would not be surprising now to hear Turkeye inviting other Muslim leaders to a Summit in Istanbul. GCC countries are drafting a proposal for unification with Riyadh as their new capital. Think about regional spheres of unification as the first step, North Africa under Egypt, GCC under Saudi Arabia, Fertile Crescent under either Iraq or Syria, and Central cum South West Asia under Turkeye. SE Asia and South China Sea countries under a Malaysia. Five countries are critical in such regional unification, ie Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Egypt. A global Islamic political party should be able to take the lead by offering a common platform for distributing a common idea to the people of these countries. Within a few years Muslim world has undergone a fundamental change in its politics. Hammadi Jebali sure knows the climate of the muslim world like an Arab trader his deserts.