by Dennis Bernstein
To call the ongoing people’s revolts in Tunisia and Egypt FaceBook revolutions is certainly overstating the case.
In both countries, the time was ripe for revolution and social upheaval. Poverty, repression and hopelessness were enforced by greedy U.S.-supported despots who were deaf to the needs of their people.
But there is little doubt that the recent street-protest revolts in Tunis and Cairo were assisted by new social media: Facebookers, tweeters and a new generation of Internet bloggers.
In Egypt, the blogosphere has been on fire with young activists planning meetings, sharing information, planning actions and sending emergency messages about government attacks.
Mahmoud Salem, known in the blogosphere, as “Sandmonkey,” is among the most famous and savvy young Egyptian bloggers, now working at the edges of Liberation Square.
Sandmonkey, who describes himself as “a pro-democracy, free-speech, women’s rights activist,” has been blogging since 2004. His blog is now read around the world and has become part of an alternative information flow, carrying the message from the street to the 24-hour-a-day rush hour on the information super-highway.
What Sandmonkey’s blogging had helped bring about was brought home to him this week when he moved from the blogosphere to Liberation Square where hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been demanding that longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak resign.