Friday, 14 January 2011

Tunisia's Twitter Revolution

This story is moving far too fast -- and I'm far too uninformed -- to write about it.

Today, in culmination of a month of protests, Tunisia's dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled the country in fear of the people. Here's some background.

I've been rivetted all afternoon watching Twitter feeds and hashtags. Tunisia has, of course, no free press, so the people took to cyberworld -- Facebook at first, now Twitter -- to report on what's been happening.

This revolution was indeed Tweeted.

And there is a Wikileaks connection:
What's the WikiLeaks connection? Foreign Policy's Christopher Alexander explains:
Shortly before the December protests began, WikiLeaks released internal US State Department communications in which the American ambassador described Ben Ali as aging, out of touch, and surrounded by corruption. Given Ben Ali's reputation as a stalwart US ally, it mattered greatly to many Tunisians—particularly to politically engaged Tunisians who are plugged into social media—that American officials are saying the same things about Ben Ali that they themselves say about him. These revelations contributed to an environment that was ripe for a wave of protest that gathered broad support.

Hackers affiliated with Anonymous, a vaguely defined, loosely organized group that has defended WikiLeaks, hit Tunisian websites in early January.

Follow these hashtags: Tunisia, sidibouzid (the town where it all began), and BenAli.

Or just follow this guy's Twitter feed.

Lotta uncertainty ahead no doubt, but the elation is palpable.

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