Newest Egyptian Way to Learn Your Facebook Password: Torturing Ahmed Maher (by blogger Wael Abbas)
[see also See “Twitter, Facebook and YouTube’s Role in Middle East Uprisings” (Social Capital Blog, 1/26/11, updated 2/3/11)]
David Wolman has an interesting article in the current WIRED magazine chronicling the rise of Ahmed Maher and other activists in Cairo trying to use Facebook to organize student protest. It describes all the cat-and-mouse intrigue and the government’s effort to arrest the ringleaders, torture them into submission or steal their passwords.
At one level it is a paean to technology: how the nimble, viral Facebook can out-organize the old brick-and-mortar state security force of the repressive Mubarak regime. At another level, it raises all the risks of organizing over the Internet: while one can build “movements” with amazing viral rapidity, will these “activists” (or slacktivists) with fewer real social ties actually come to the protests; or how without all the verbal cues and formal vetting through real networks, it is much easier for government agents to “infiltrate” the Facebook space and monitor what is going on.
The article ends on a possibly optimistic note: Ahmed Maher is not tortured in his most recent arrest by the Egyptian police, perhaps because they have no explicit orders of what to do with him, or perhaps he has reached the level of fame where harming him, fans the flames of the opposition.
[See my related post on the rise of trivial Twitter for social mobilization in developing countries.]
Anyway, “Cairo Activists Use Facebook to Rattle Regime” (WIRED, 10/20/08) is an interesting read on both the promise and peril of e-activism.
See updated post on TechPresident “Egyptian Activists Challenge Facebook-Enabled Diplomacy 2.0” (12/5/08)
McCain/Palin’s slanderous attempt to portray Christian candidate Barack Obama as Muslim, by repeatedly having surrogates refer in nasty tones to Barack Obama by his full name “Barack Hussein Obama”, has spurred some impressive and inspiring reactions to seize a higher moral ground than McCain and Palin.
A lot of Facebook page owners (who also are not Muslim) have changed their middle names in sympathy to Hussein. So I would post as Thomas Hussein Sander. See this thread of Hussein is My Middle Name.
It’s reminiscent of the 1993 Billings, Montana story where a Jewish family’s window was shattered for lighting a menorah.
When a brick was thrown through the bedroom window of a Jewish child whose window bore a menorah, the community response was extraordinary. An organized alliance of citizens, churches, unions and the media banded together. The local paper printed a full-page, color picture of a menorah, so that others could hang it in their windows in solidarity. With the help of merchants, by late December nearly 10,000 people in Billings, Montana had this symbol of Jews overcoming persecution displayed in their windows. PBS made a movie of this called Not In Our Town. (Thanks to Forgotten Fires for the specifics.)
And now this Massachusetts Observer page has claimed Barack O’Bama as Irish with a humorous rhyme. What’s next? Japanese Obama-san?
Posted in Barack Obama, Billings, campaign, Christian, election, facebook, Hussein, Hussein as Middle Name, john mccain, menorah, Montana, Muslim, politics, sarah palin, smear
(photo by danostuporstar)
My colleague Archon Fung has a new web-based project (in conjunction with ABC News) called My Fair Election to enable voters to rate how fair their voting experience was.
I’ve blogged before about how citizens could be on the front-lines in monitoring global warming or bird patterns or even improving GPS systems. (See related post here.) Now citizens can be at the forefront of helping to monitor our election process.
The My Fair Election website says “Rate your polling place and your experience of voting here. Was it easy to vote? Were there long lines, closed polling places, or broken machines? Your rating and those of thousands of other voters will produce a real-time map of voting conditions throughout the country on November 4, 2008. Sign up now, and you will receive an email message with instructions for submitting your own rating after you vote.”
My Fair Election enables American citizens or journalists or politicians to see where there are concentrations of voting unfairness or irregularity and enables high level of citizen-observed unfairness in the election process to trigger investigations into asserted irregularities. One could also see the day after the election from the “Weather Map of Election Fairness” we collectively create whether concentrations of voting unfairness occurred in certain states or traditionally Blue vs. Red areas.
So don’t only vote on November 4, but sign up at My Fair Election and get your friends (in lots of different places) to sign up as well. Together we can all hold the voting system accountable and we can add a layer of transparency to our voting process.
Note: other parallel efforts (although not enabling one to map the infractions) are a service which Twitter offered called Vote Report and Video Your Vote (a YouTube) effort enabling voters to upload a video of their voting experience.
Posted in ABC News, archon fung, citizen, election, Election Day, fairness, My Fair Election, politics, technology, transparency, twitter, Video Your Vote, Vote Report, voting, YouTube