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Chan Lowe: The Twitter Revolution


What’s going on in Egypt could never have happened ten years ago, or even five. Suddenly, with worldwide access to the Internet, people have a tool at their disposal that is so unlike any we have ever known, so “game-changing,” to use a tired but apt cliché, that the political history of mankind from now on now may well be upended.

I’m not ready to give Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Jack Dorsey of Twitter the Nobel Peace Prize just yet, but those are some potent weapons they inadvertently created. For thirty years, Hosni Mubarak has been able to rule Egypt, as strong men and caudillos have ruled other countries before him (and still do), by sheer force of arms.

He, and others, have accrued wealth, comforts and power for themselves, their families and cronies, by creating a corrupt system that robs the wealth of their own people. Anyone who complains or foments discord is taught a quick lesson, or worse, disappears.

Now, the masses can organize with an efficiency no one ever envisioned. Even without established leaders, the downtrodden and disaffected of Egypt were able, through “people power,” to forge themselves into a tsunami that has appeared, so far, to seriously threaten (if not topple) the entrenched forces of repression.

Westerners used to think of the Arab world as forever cursed to live under the yoke of despots. Without a history of enlightened democracy in their culture, its people had no models to follow, and lay open to victimization.

Thanks to the developments of the last week in Egypt and Tunisia, we have found that human beings don’t need models to change their condition. All they need, in addition to their anger and frustration, are hope and desire. Social media have given them the means.

Their rulers know it, too, and there are a lot of sleepless nights right now in Middle Eastern palaces of power.

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Don't know where I heard this quote,but it seems to fit our current world events..
"Those who make secular revolution impossible will make extreme revolution inevitable."
Saudi Prince Turki has been warned to flee before a military coup or uprising overthrows the kingdom....(
Will other countries have their "Egyptian Moment" ?

I wonder when Americans will figure out that republicans and democrats are both only providing the illusion of change and start demanding real change instead of just switching back and forth between two identical parties that never bring any change at all.

Nothing new there Chan.
Why do you think China is trying to censor the internet?
Why do you think in the easter block it was illegal (in some countries, and almost in others) to talk with foreigners?
But that wasn't the first thing those and other dictators did/do when they want to consolidate their power. The first thing is to ban the population from owning firearms. That censorship can be mild to extreme, but the firearm ban is always a constant.

Let's just hope that whatever regime replaces Mubarak isn't dedicated to destroying Israel & America.

Supposedly, all the protesters in Egypt have risen up because the cost of fuel and food has become unacceptable. So now, because of their actions, does anyone imagine that that a loaf of bread will be much lower, or the cost of oil will drop dramatically? On the contrary, now the world (including Egypt) will feel the pain of much higher prices for life's necessities because a few hundred thousand Muslims are having a temper tantrum.

@ Olga:

FYI--Egypt has a sizeable Christian community, so your assumption that all of those demonstrating in Cairo
are Muslims is absolutely incorrect.

Most disturbing about your comment is that you would deny these people the freedom they deserve,
just to keep your own commodity prices down.
Shame on you.

i love the cartoon...i think it's absolutely great. dictators do not want their people to have the ability that facebook & twitter confers to the masses.

BUT...regarding the revolution...if he did step down today...who would take his place? would they convene a constitutional convention? get delegates? who would seat them? who would be in power until the next election? why do i expect some massive, genocidal type deaths?

i keep reading comparisons w/ the American Revolutionary...but we revolted against a FOREIGN regime. AND, when we revolted, our leaders signed their names to a document stating exactly what they were doing & who was doing it.

I dont see that in Egypt at all...dont think the comparison is accurate.

And, a little observation here, Egypt has had some type of official govt for 5,000 years...and they still cannot get it right. Why? Why has the USA, just over 200 years old, provided more wealth, lifestyle increases, technological advances, medical advances, foreign aid (who helps everyone? who gives the most money?) and many of these protesters say we are the problem? Is it because they are muslim? Because they are in Africa? I don't know...gimme some answers

i assert that we are no better than they genetically...BUT...our brilliantly designed republic allowed us to reach a human potential completely unknown & untapped before 1776.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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