Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Comparing how dictators squash rebellion, pre and post internet.

Interesting how the internet has altered the course of the history by enabling rebellions throughout a number of Mideast nations to grow and become full blown revolutions and by helping prevent widespread massacre of citizens by dictators hell-bent on crushing the rebellion.  The world has reacted strongly to reports that Muammar Gaddafi ordered Libyan military aircraft to fire on crowds of protesters, killing dozens of innocent citizens. This will likely lead to the end of Gaddafi's regime or outright civil war, or both.   Libya launches airstrikes to quell protests as Muammar Gaddafi's rule teeters on brink

Back in 1982 when President Hafez al-Assad ordered the Syrian military to squash a revolt in the Syrian town of Hama there was no internet or Facebook or Twitter to report the atrocities. For three weeks, Syrian forces systematically destroyed the city and killed its inhabitants, first by artillery shells and eventually by mass executions.  Estimates vary between 17,000 and 40,000 people were killed, the vast majority civilians. Wikipedia: Hama Massacre

 And I have no memory of that event even being reported in the news back then.  Perhaps it was reported, but without the imagery and real time reporting from citizen journalists, the story never really "grew legs" in the Western media or in the general population.  Of course we had plenty other things to worry about as a Nation back then so maybe few cared about the mass extermination of those people way over there.  Still, I can't imagine any dictator these days attempting to squash a rebellion Hama style, if for no other reason that they would know coverage of the attack would be on You Tube 10 minutes later.

So who said computer geeks aren't good at History or Political Science?  You could say that the Geeks  have done more to shake up geopolitics, spread political reform and protect citizens than any politician, think tank expert, policy wonk, or pundit has done the last few decades. 

No comments:

Post a Comment