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Movements for Change

How Individuals, Social Media and Al Jazeera Are Changing Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia

Rauf Arif

This book explores social media as an alternative channel of communication and resistance in Pakistan, Tunisia and Egypt, and argues that the term "Arab Spring" limits the scope of acknowledgement for the ongoing online and offline political uprisings in the Muslim World, which started beyond the geographical boundaries of the Middle East. Beginning with an exploration of the pivotal role of Al Jazeera and how it used social media content from protestors to make the uprisings a global conversation, this book takes readers through an overview of creative political protests in each of the three case countries, before delving into an in-depth examination of a specific icon that sparked each revolution in question, and an overview of social movements and the politico-cultural context in each country. In closing, this book offers an understanding on how the new collective memories of nations using social media to protest will affect future generations who are striving to rise against authoritarian regimes, including the Algerian Spring that is ongoing in 2019.

This book can appeal to a wide range of audiences, both inside and outside the academic world. Within academia, courses covering topics such as social media, social movements, comparative politics, Middle Eastern studies and global communication could use this book as a learning tool. In non-academic settings, journalism practitioners could benefit from this book to examine how social media can be an alternate media in the absence of traditional media, and how traditional news media outlets can collaborate with and utilize social media to perform their journalistic duty in oppressive regimes.

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Many people contributed to the creating of this book. I am forever indebted to my mentors, family, and friends for their guidance, support, and love that led me to this path of success. I find writing acknowledgements to be the most difficult task because sometimes words are not enough to express my gratitude to all the amazing people who contributed to make my life more meaningful in one way or another. My expression of this brief gratitude is just a formal way to thank you all even though it means a lot more than the words printed on this piece of paper.

To my family: First and foremost, I am in dearth of words to thank my parents who were, indeed, helpful with their ideas and assistance throughout my life. They are the ones who put me on the path of learning and respecting all humans equally. I will never forget those countless moments when they preferred to pay for my school and college fees over their own food. Dear mom and dad, for everything you both have done for me, I am eternally indebted. Thank you! Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Lamia, who has been a great support and motivation in all the stressful moments involved in the creation of this book. It is because of her true friendship, love and understanding that I was able to finish this task successfully. I owe all my successes to you, my dear soul mate...

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