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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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5 Social Movements in Pakistan



Social Movements in Pakistan

Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has witnessed the rise of numerous religious, political and secular social movements (Fair, Littman, Malhotra, & Shapiro, 2016; Gregg, 2016; Rashid, 2008). In fact, the creation of Pakistan itself was the result of a contentious social movement, led by The All-India Muslim League, against British rule (Jalal, 1994). The movement started under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who would later be the founder of Pakistan. As part of its fight against British rule, the League demanded a separate state for the Muslims of British-India (Ahmed, 1997). The movement realized its dream on August 14, 1947, when the British decided to divide the Indian subcontinent into two countries, Pakistan and India (Malik, 2008). In order to better understand the social fabric of the country and its deep-rooted history of resistance and collective actions, let’s explore the pre-partition resistance movements of the British controlled subcontinent.

Rebellion of 1857 (Indian Subcontinent’s First War of Independence)

A major and frequently referenced political uprising on the Indian subcontinent was the mutiny against the British Empire in 1857. The British East India Company, which had originally entered the Indian subcontinent in 1600s with the purpose of trade with the Mughal Empire, controlled “two thirds of the subcontinent” by 1857 (“Indian Mutiny,” n.d., para. 2). Cracks and divisions in the ranks of the Bengal Army based on discrimination and British officers’ lack of respect and understanding for...

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