I was amazed to learn that 70% of facebook subscribers are outside the United States. I was not surprised to see that one of Mark Zuckerberg’s likes listed on his facebook page was facebook. If it had earned you $6.9 Billion you’d like it too!
But more interesting to me is that facebook has become the tool fueling (along with Twitter) major change in other countries. According to a Los Angeles Times story, Wikileaks website’s release of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables for all the supposed damage it did has also exposed the corrupt underbelly of many Arab regimes.
There is no free press or other outlets for truth in these countries, many of which are repressive police states. So it was
the desperate act of a fruit seller in Tunisia who set himself ablaze
that sparked further protests organized on facebook that 4 weeks later toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime.
The revolution has brought hope to all Arabs who had long ago lost any enthusiasm that they would ever be able to get rid of authoritarian domination.
Jordanians, Libyans and Algerians have taken to the streets now emulating the Tunisian model.
Anti-government protesters in Egypt are clashing with Egyptian riot police as we speak, calling for reform. Sectry. of State Hillary Clinton and other American diplomats of course are walking a tight rope here because much like the US backing of corrupt Karzai in Pakistan, we have backed (to the tune of $1.5 billion/year) Mubarak’s ever more repressive government over the last 30 years, all the while looking the other way when it came to human rights and liberty.
The people living under these despotic regimes have Wikileaks, facebook and twitter to thank for doing what decades of delicate diplomacy, conflicting motivation and interests in the Western world has failed to do.
Let’s hope these uprisings for more democracy won’t be ‘Iran 1979’ all over again with Islamic extremists hijacking the movement. They are the most organized and best-funded and they are opportunists who know exactly what they want- Sharia Law.