Friday, December 16, 2011

Observations from the Coffee Shop 12.16

I mentioned yesterday how I don't have much use for the year end best of lists but I do like to look back at the past year. The Google video I posted had me looking at some others and I started to think of what I would pick as the story of the year if anybody cared to know my opinion. To me the Egyptian rebellion and its protests in Tahrir Square are the rather obvious choice. Why wouldn't I pick the Occupy movement? Because I think without Tahrir Square you would have never had Zuccotti Park, the first led directly to the idea for the second. Obviously something was bound to happen in the US sooner or later but I don't think it would have taken the form it did.

The Arab Spring actually began on December 17, 2010 when a street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest government harassment. This act sparked the Tunisian Revolution which forced President Ben Ali to resign on January 14th after 23 years of power. That act inspired Egyptian opposition groups to declare January 25th the 'Day of Revolt' and tens of thousands of protesters flowed into Tahrir Square where they would remain for weeks, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. President Hasni Mubarak resigned on February 11th but the military remains in power to this day and protests continue.

As I finished writing this I saw a report that protesters and Egyptian military police met in a series of bloody clashes in Cairo today. The clashes were sparked by a military predawn raid on the protester's camp near Tahrir Square. And so it seems to go all over the world.

Interview with pro-democracy activist Miral at Tahrir Square Feb 1. 2011 for documentary Zero Silence. Interview by Gert Van Langendonck, camera work by Jonny von Wallström.

"Among other topics, the production will explore the impact of the Internet and non-traditional media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter and whistle-blowing sites on the Arab world and beyond and to what extent these digital media tools can spur society change."
Zero Silence

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