|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay — Walk like an Egyptian; act like an American

  • What’s happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other parts of Africa and the Middle East is occurring in large part because social media such as Facebook have exposed people to new ideas and glimpses at a different way of life.

    • email print
  • That deer-in-the-headlights expression for which Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has become famous suddenly makes sense. You would be gobsmacked, too, if, at 25, something you invented so your friends could post vacation pictures was being used to change the world.
    What’s happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other parts of Africa and the Middle East is occurring in large part because social media such as Facebook have exposed people to new ideas and glimpses at a different way of life.
    As protesters continue to take to the streets, their courage effectively strips away the excuses we like to use for not being more involved in our own political process, such as “What’s the difference? Nothing will change.”
    SPEED OF IDEAS
    We are witnessing the kind of tectonic shift that rarely occurs in real time. Despots are toppling in the Middle East like tin soldiers because their people have had a whiff of freedom and are so desirous of it, they’re willing to die for it. They’ve grasped onto technology to reinvent themselves and their countries in ways previously unimagined.
    Members of the old guard have no idea they’ve already lost, that the ground beneath their feet is gone.
    In Libya, people have had crazy up to here. Moammar Gadhafi’s thuggish and creaky tactics will prove to be no match for the speed of ideas and the ever-evolving ingenuity of a generation that practically lives online.
    Freedom can’t be stuffed back into the bottle. The Lion of the Desert has been bested by a kid in a hoodie.
    Every attempt by crumbling governments to suppress communication — which is right out of the Dictators’ Handbook — has been met with a fierce courage infused by genius.
    DIVINE GIFT
    Protesters practically have used spit and string to stay online, and they won’t be placated with a new national flag or more seats at a table where the cards already have been marked.
    It would be nice if the events of recent weeks lead us to better appreciate our own freedoms. While people around the world are being imprisoned and shot for the right to speak their minds, some of us can’t even be bothered to vote.
    We love to boast of ourselves as the bastion of liberty, but what does such apathy say about how we value such a divine gift?
    Anyone who would go so far as to name his newborn “Facebook,” as did Jamal Ibrahim of Egypt, probably could teach us a thing or two about what it truly means to be free.