Distant Witness: Yemen, Syria, and Epilogue (Reading Post)

Yamen and Syria are just two other countries that took part in this new age Arab revolution. Through social media, word of uprisings spread across the different nations, catching wind in unique ways and helping form the overarching Arab Spring.

Unlike some of the other popular Arab nations, I did not really have any idea behind the chaos of Yamen. They are even referred to as “the basket case of the Arab World.” Dissatisfied with President Ali Abdul Saleh, once the Arab Spring took hold of Tunisia, the Yamen people followed suit. I found it interesting how in Yamen, because it is the poorest country in the Arab world, it is the least wired. Thus, Andy Carvin had to work extra hard to keep up with/find twitter hashtags related to what was happening there.

The Syrian government despises social media due to the immediate truth it brings. Carvin tells of an American lesbian activist living in Syria, Amina Abdallah Arraf, who had a blog that reached immense popularity. She critiqued the ways of the conservative Muslim society she was living in, even openly talking against President Bashar al-Assad’s leadership. Her voice and blog eventually got her kidnapped, allegedly. This just showcased how powerful social media can be though. Amina’s “siste”r wrote on her blog to explain all that was happening. Seemingly all of Amina’s readership took to social media to express their feelings, thoughts, and calls to action. It’s amazing how blogs and Tweets can so easily narrate all that was happening in the Middle East and Northern Africa. What a plot twist though, that Amina was a fictional character the entire time.

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