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Unrest in the Middle East and Social Media

Wael Ghonim electrified Egypt's revolution through social media
An unemployed college graduate set himself ablaze after police confiscated his fruit cart in Tunisia. After that event a bystander caught it on video and posted it on Facebook, then it is history. The autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country January 14 after weeks of demonstrations which was sparked by just that one Facebook story.

Weeks later in Egypt, people took to the streets to demand the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak ruled Egypt for 30 years and after two weeks of protest from almost everywhere in Egypt, Mubarak stepped down and handed Egypt in the hands of a military council.

It seems like the unrest and successes in both Tunisia and Egypt are fueling other protests across the region. There are currently protests in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

The common grounds for the protests includes corruption, political reforms, human rights violation, poverty, unemployment and others. However, the most interesting part about the protests is the fact that it is fueled and helped by the power of social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. There are also new innovations coming up in order to get around internet filters implemented by governments.

The revolution in Egypt and Tunisia is in fact being called as the Social Media Revolution. Here is a brief video about social media and the events in the Middle East.

If social media is becoming this powerful for those advocating positive change then would it be right to say that it is also as powerful as a tool for those who want to spread violence and terrorism? Is it as powerful for those who want to spread new ideological beliefs which might be harmful to society?

In the Philippines, there is one organization which is using the power of social media to promote peace. PeaceTech, Inc. had been banking on that power since 2006 and now they are close to getting peace education embedded into the education curriculum of the country. It is admirable that the technology used by PeaceTech might be very beneficial for peacefully resolving conflicts like what's happening in the middle east, that is if these people would just be open to the power of dialogue or building peace through technology.

So how did the internet helped? Here's Wael Ghonim as he talks about the roots of the Egyptian revolution, how the internet fueled it -- and the Muslim brotherhood.

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