“The dagger at the throat of the old regimes”

Current Affairs / Web/Tech

My sermon this morning touched on the history we’re seeing unfolding before our eyes as population after population rises up against its government in the Mid-East. I pointed out that the part of the reason this seems to be happening all at once is that technology is making it possible for people to stay on message in a way that’s not been possible before.

But all that would be for naught if there wasn’t a sense that the rest of the World is watching as old regimes respond to the voices of dissatisfied citizens. And what’s making that possible is the cellphone.

As the NYTimes points out:

“A novelty less than a decade ago, the cellphone camera has become a vital tool to document the government response to the unrest that has spread through the Middle East and North Africa.

Recognizing the power of such documentation, human rights groups have published guides and provided training on how to use cellphone cameras effectively.

‘You finally have a video technology that can fit into the palm of one person’s hand, and what the person can capture can end up around the world,’ said James E. Katz, director of the Rutgers Center for Mobile Communication Studies. ‘This is the dagger at the throat of the creaky old regimes that, through the manipulation of these old centralized technologies, have been able to smother the public’s voice.’

In Tunisia, cellphones were used to capture video images of the first protests in Sidi Bouzid in December, which helped spread unrest to other parts of the country. The uploaded images also prompted producers at Al Jazeera, the satellite television network, to begin focusing on the revolt, which toppled the Tunisian government in mid-January and set the stage for the demonstrations in Egypt.”

Read the full article here.

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Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...