Egypt… What does it all mean?

Posted: February 9, 2011 by Elizabeth Sullivan in Uncategorized

Whether you label it a ‘protest movement’ a ‘wake up call’ or the ‘birth of a democracy’ the protest currently held in Egypt has provided an intricate look at what the core values of a protest are. And that has inadvertently brought on the discussion of how outliers like social media and the news media are pawns in the bigger game living.

Communication is key to a successful revolution. That has been demonstrated, and embraced by those currently protesting in Egypt. To say that social media wasn’t important for the Egyptian Revolution would be like saying that paint wasn’t necessary when the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling was being made-over. This fact doesn’t negate the fact that the Egyptians had passion and perseverance – which lead them to pick up the social media tools in the first place.

“Action expresses priorities.”
-Mahatma Ghandi

In Egyptian Revolution – the Journalist, if they want to be affective has to just be a mouth piece in this situation. The action is taking place on behalf of the Egyptian people. As a Canadian and as a university student, I personally don’t care how the US economy is going to be affected by the protesting, and won’t until the US tries to interfere with Egyptian affairs. I don’t think that the Egyptian Protest needs “journalists” I think it needs reporters.

There was an interview provided on the New York Times’ “The Lede” done by an Egyptian reporter, interviewing Wael Ghonim (on of the We are Kahled Said facebook page organizers) who was arrested before the protests had officially begun. What was translated from that interview were some touching ideas, that I had previously been unaware of because of a lack of cultural context.

I’ve been told why they were protesting, I’ve watched interviews with people in the street who explained why they were there, I’ve looked at the powerful images coming out of the area, but it didn’t sink in for me that there was really a reason behind it until I saw the raw emotion breaking onto this guy’s face as he defended his actions, rationalizing to himself how his world was turned upside down while he was in prison.

In Media Revolution – There is an outrageous amount of focus being dealt to ‘how am I going to make a living in the media industry’ and not enough, on the part of the journalist and their role in the Media Revolution. In order for someone to care about an issue, they have to be embedded in it long enough to have an opinion. Journalists are a part of the issue. We are the ones affected by what happens in the media. So-far it seems that the general reaction towards those bold enough to introduce new media is that they’re creating a problem.

I think the similarities present between the Egyptian Revolution and the Media Revolution are there, however we as ‘media folk’ aren’t willing to take part in the issue at hand, which is – What are journalists supposed to be united by in Media today?

We won’t find out until we resemble those who’ve come before us, who’ve carved, marched and even tweeted their beliefs to decide for themselves what they needed. And if we do decide that that’s the kind of action that we need to take, this example has already been neatly packaged into a Wikipedia article outlining the events as they occurred.

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