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Back to Democracy and Cyberculture


  • Part 1
  • Recorded by mobile phone and posted to Facebook
  • · Lots of violence
  • · BBC commenter going to interview those who captured the images
  • · Activist struggle
  • · People rarely travel past the tourist locations
  • · Sidi Bouzid
  • · December 2010- dramatic suicide of fruit seller sent people into revolution
  • · Internet tipped balance of power in their favor
  • · Were tormented by local officials, called fruit selling a public disorder
  • · Were abused and had to pay to get their fruit back
  • · Set up his store but didn’t have the money needed to pay the bribes. Policeman took his stuff away
  • · Crowd gathered, swore at him, he started crying, other police were kicking him
  • · Muhammed headed to town hall to try and lodge a complaint
  • · Didn’t work
  • · Bought a bottle of fuel and sent himself on fire
  • · He was taken to a hospital
  • · Word traveled fast, a lot of people found out
  • · Hundreds of people gathered at the spot to protest
  • · Two of his friends were there. Interview: asking questions to the government
  • · Situation heated up, rallied protest
  • · They all used their phones to gather support from around the world
  • · Confrontation, they were throwing tear gas at them
  • · Throwing stones vs. shooting bullets (gov’t)
  • · Leader had a police state, media was censored
  • · People captured evidence on cameras/phones
  • · Police were trying to arrest those filming
  • · Tunesia had 2 million Facebook users
  • · All got it on Facebook
  • · The editors/programmers were not tied to the fruit sellers, were university educated, and they took charge
  • · Rigged elections
  • · Censorship was no obstacle to youth
  • · Bloggers risked detention and torture
  • · Tunis was quiet, but revolts broke out in other areas too
  • · Part 2
  • · Sent a message to the union members to join protest
  • · Would post warnings about where policemen were located.
  • · Took photographs to show how big the crowd was
  • · Tear gas, unarmed protesters shot dead
  • · Ben ali went on a PR, even standing by dying fruit seller
  • · Two guys were arrested and questioned.
  • · Whole country in open revolt
  • · Police responded with live fire
  • · 150 people dead
  • · 100’s of thousands of people marched to the capitol
  • · it was protester’s dream come true
  • · 14th of January Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia
  • · it was something magnificent, felt like freest man in the world
  • · 24 years to 28 days to overcome government
  • · Tunisia north of Libya
  • · Egypt, ready to revolt
  • · Egyptian dictator would be harder to crack
  • · Internet was safest way to communicate
  • · Police had virtually unlimited power to torture and kill opponents
  • · Egypt had its own martyr, who was murdered for writing online.
  • · 5 million users in Egypt, news of his fate spread quickly
  • · Islam brotherhood leaders were the largest opposition to dictator
  • · Didn’t believe that the Internet was a threat.
  • · January 25, public holiday in honor of the police (ironic)


  • · Part 3
  • · 20% of Egyptians had access to the Internet
  • · Sent messages through taxi drivers
  • · He talked on the phone while in the taxi cab and the taxi drivers spread the secrets
  • · She talked on video and got out the message about the 25th
  • · Announce decoys, wrong places, wrong times
  • · Separate police off in different directions
  • · Shouted we will sacrifice our lives for democracy
  • · 40,000 Egyptians
  • · Peaceful demonstration, but police sent to break up crowds
  • · Tear gas and water canon
  • · People stood their ground
  • · How the US responded would be critical
  • · She reverted to old fashioned style, Egyptian gov’t is stable… what?!?!?!?
  • · Focused on its own pragmatic interests
  • · We decided that America didn’t exist
  • · Organizers met in secret location
  • · How to fight teargas
  • · Government reaction: severed all online connections
  • · Egyptians were caught off from each other and rest of the world
  • · Revolutions need people, more than just Internet
  • · Abarba was good suburb to revolt
  • · People went out on streets because of internet shut down
  • · 30-40,000 protesters
  • · police started shooting to kill.
  • · Either us or them
  • · A lot of people died, 2 of them died in front of their eyes
  • · Part 4
  • · Unarmed protesters broke down police force and headed for the square
  • · Police withdrew from the square
  • · And they put building to flames
  • · 200,000 protesters
  • · His speech was greeted with contempt
  • · Obama said he needed to make things good, but it wouldn’t work
  • · US worked to get him out
  • · Tried to use new technology to his advantage
  • · Egyptians did not respond to his patriotic text messages
  • · Is the army with or against the protesters
  • · Army agreed not to shoot
  • · Obama spoke
  • · Dictator lost power
  • · Terrorism reached the streets
  • · Stones being thrown everywhere
  • · Battle of the camels
  • · Army officers joined protesters
  • · Dictator done
  • · Feb 11th, government going to make an announcement
  • · He’s abandoning his position as president
  • · Hysterical joy!!!!
  • · Internet became even more critical
  • · More battles ensued


Does cyberspace inhibit or enhance democratic principles?*can take many different forms

  • internalizes outside hierarchies and social structures
  • could enhance democratic principles
  • cyberspace as potential artifact
  • bring societal issues to life, racism ideology is alive online in cloaked websites
  • Internet as human right ~ not really on same level as food/water
  • hypothetical situation
    • take away child’s Internet
    • then put him/her on lower playing field
    • no cyberliteracy
  • taking away access to Internet is taking away ability to find job, get apartments, and so on
  • If you don’t have the Internet, are you missing out?
  • Are there universal rights?
  • is democratic because of free speech, law lags behind technology.
  • cloaked/non-cloaked websites of white supremacy shows free speech
  • anarchical rather than democratic
  • celebrities on twitter, Lady Gaga
  • people against SOPA/PIPA want the Internet to be democratic, but threat to shut down opponents?!
  • western world thinking: are we trying to show off our western technology and prove the world of its potential benefit?

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