by Jindrich Skripko, 2011
Internet helps revolutions but...
In the beginning of this year something unexpectable happened. In Tunisia there was a civil revolution and it moved like a wave to other Arabian countries. And this was the moment when we could see the full power of internet social networks. Groups were created and demonstrations for supporting rebels or governments were organized.
The first revolution in Tunisia was quite calm. The local government resigned after few days. Important is that – thanks the social networks – the knowing of the revolution spread quickly all over the world. This inspired other revolutions to began, that time in Egypt. But the local government was more resistant and the revolution won after long weeks of protests. During this time many groups supporting the revolution and requesting freedom in Egypt were created.
The question is who are these groups created by and who supports them. A group can be created by everyone who has an account on that social network. There are more possibilities: rebels themselves can create a group or it can be someone who has heard about the revolution from media and has decided to support it. And there is one more possibility – it can be someone whose interest is that rebels are supported by a lot of people.
Rebels can use social networks to justify their fight and a huge support of public is a great motivation for them.
We must not forget another important factor – normal citizens of other countries. The media play the main role there. When the revolution is presented as a fight of poor citizens against an evil dictator, people usually start to show that they support the poor citizens. The result is an enormous amount of new groups. You can remember for example mass publishing of Tibetan flags on Facebook few months ago because of messages about breaking human rights in this area, which had been presented by world media before.
Then we have there the last factor – someone who is interested in winning of one of the sides. It can be a person, a corporation or even another state. Creating groups and finding support for them causes a feeling that the mentioned side is supported by much more people than in reality. This situation is being mentioned in connection with the revolution in Libya. In a few days many accounts on social networks were made. They supported the revolution and showed violence and brutality of governmental units. But these internet sites are not accessible in Libya for more than year, so it is obvious that these accounts were created abroad.
In conclusion it is hard to say if the revolutions were (and will be) really successful. They proved a huge power of social networks in the positive way, no doubts about that. But it would not be good to think that problems which had caused all these storms can be solved by revolutions. Hopefully, there will be freedom of speech, decrease of bureaucracy and authority of governments, but problems with corruption and poverty will outlast, because they cannot be solved politically, but only economically. And it will take a lot of time.
Jindřich Škripko, Albert Soukup