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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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8 Social Movements in Egypt

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8

Social Movements in Egypt

Egypt has witnessed the rise of several social movements that have used social media to promote revolution. These groups included: The Muslim Brotherhood, the Rebel Movement, the Egyptian Popular Current, the National Association for Change, the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, The April 6 Youth Movement, Kefaya, and “We are All Khaled Said” (Carnegie, 2010a, 2010b, 2013). The April 6 Youth Movement of 2008 was among the most prominent information movements to use Facebook to organize and protest poor economic conditions in the country (Korany & El-Mahdi, 2012). President Mubarak’s regime was successful in crushing the movement by using force and strict censorship laws. The Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya), started in 2004, was also aimed at political change in the country. Kefaya, which means “Enough” in Arabic, was a “coalition of political forces united only by a shared call for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s rule” (Carnegie, 2010a). Although this book is primarily about the social movement commonly known as the “Arab Spring” of Egypt, it is important to revisit the history of political activism and social movements in the country. This will be helpful to understand whether the introduction of social media was the prime factor for the origination of multiple social movements in the country, or if such political activism existed well before the age of the Internet in Egypt.

History of Social Movements in Egypt

Egypt, which is located in the northeastern corner of...

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