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[liberationtech] No Saudi Spring

Andrew Lewis andrew at pdqvpn.com
Tue Mar 6 09:58:20 PST 2012


Short answer, at least in my case: Hope, and Dread

I've been working/looking at Syria since July last summer, and fatigue or utter despair has set in several times. I think the one of the answers is the lack of hope that anything will change soon, and the string of horrific reports out of the country, instantly depressing anyone that takes any sort of interest in Syria. At this point in time, I can barely bring myself to look at anything related to Syria without an overwhelming sense of dread washing over my body, finding myself just wanting to leave my laptop turned off til next year sometime. When I feel particularly melodramatic, I think Syria is going to break me completely if I keep it up, and I haven't done 1 millionth of the effort to survive or even help with the "revolution" that a Syrian does by going to buy bread at a shop, braving sniper fire. 

That is just my personal reaction to everything, but it may help explain why it hasn't been picked up by the average person on twitter or facebook. It's just honestly depressing. I could also rationalize it 50 different ways, from it being a wholly different type of conflict compared to either Libya or Egypt, english centric nature of the the social media effect that you are looking for(and I apologize if you are looking for the french/arabic language social media floating around), to the fact that Syria is post-Egypt/Libya, where the masses on twitter have seen the outcome of those previous revolutions developing a contempt or disinterest because they have not seen a magical change in these other places with wholesale adoption of our system of values overnight. Then again, who knows?

-Andrew Lewis
Twitter: ThePunkbob





On Mar 6, 2012, at 4:45 PM, James Losey wrote:

> Hi David,
> 
> Thanks for sharing the article. In what could be an interesting compliment, Emily Parker (CCed) a colleague at New America recently dug into social med reactions to protests in Egypt, Iran, and Syria:
> 
> Why Don’t We Care About Syria?
> 
> The Syrian uprising should be the kind of story that takes social media by storm. It has extraordinary acts of resistance, ordinary citizens fighting for freedom, and the Internet's power to break through a government's wall of silence. On Thursday, a U.N. panel declared that the Syrian government has engaged in “gross human rights violations."
>  
> So why hasn't Syria gone viral?
> 
> http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/02/syria_uprising_twitter_and_social_media_revolution_fatigue_.html
> 
> Best,
> James
> 
> On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 4:22 PM, David Johnson <david at bostonreview.net> wrote:
> We have a superb cover story this month by Madawi Al-Rasheed on the failure of Saudi dissidents to launch a successful protest movement.
> 
> Al-Rasheed concludes:
> 
> "The Saudi case attests to the limits of cyber-utopianism, the optimism surrounding the so-called Twitter and Facebook revolutions. The Web is useful for publicizing action, but where the state is the only institution that matters, effectively bringing people together offline may be impossible."
> 
> http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.2/madawi_al-rasheed_arab_spring_saudi_arabia.php
> 
> Best wishes,
> 
> David
> -- 
> David V. Johnson
> Web Editor
> Boston Review
> Website: http://www.bostonreview.net
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