The Twitter Revolution Must Die

tear gas canisterHave you ever heard of the Leica Revolution? No?

That’s probably because folks who don’t know anything about “branding” insist on calling it the Mexican Revolution. An estimated two million people died in the long struggle (1910-1920) to overthrow a despotic government and bring about reform. But why shouldn’t we re-name the revolution not after a nation or its people, but after the “social media” that had such a great impact in making the struggle known all over the world: the photographic camera? Even better, let’s name the revolution not after the medium itself, but after the manufacturer of the cameras that were carried by people like Hugo Brehme to document the atrocities of war. Viva Leica, cabrones!

My sarcasm is, of course, a thinly veiled attempt to point out how absurd it is to refer to events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere as the Twitter Revolution, the Facebook Revolution, and so on. What we call things, the names we use to identify them, has incredible symbolic power, and I, for one, refuse to associate corporate brands with struggles for human dignity. I agree with Jillian York when she says:

“… I am glad that Tunisians were able to utilize social media to bring attention to their plight.  But I will not dishonor the memory of Mohamed Bouazizi–or the 65 others that died on the streets for their cause–by dubbing this anything but a human revolution.”

Granted, as Joss Hands points out, there appears to be more skepticism than support for the idea that tools like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are primarily responsible for igniting the uprisings in question. But that hasn’t stopped the internet intelligentsia from engaging in lengthy arguments about the role that technology is playing in these historic developments. One camp, comprised of people like Clay Shirky, seem to make allowances for what Cory Doctorow calls the “internet’s special power to connect and liberate.” On the other side, authors like Ethan Zuckerman, Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov have proposed that while digital media can play a role in organizing social movements, it cannot be counted on to build lasting alliances, or even protect net activists once authorities start using the same tools to crack down on dissent.

Both sides are, perhaps, engaging in a bit of technological determinism–one by embellishing the agency of technology, the other by diminishing it. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between, and philosophers of technology settled the dispute of whether technology shapes society (technological determinism) or society shapes technology (cultural materialism) a while ago: the fact is that technology and society mutually and continually determine each other.

So why does the image of a revolution enabled by social media continue to grab headlines and spark the interest of Western audiences, and what are the dangers of employing such imagery? My fear is that the hype about a Twitter/Facebook/YouTube revolution performs two functions: first, it depoliticizes our understanding of the conflicts, and second, it whitewashes the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy.

To elaborate, the discourse of a social media revolution is a form of self-focused empathy in which we imagine the other (in this case, a Muslim other) to be nothing more than a projection of our own desires, a depoliticized instant in our own becoming. What a strong affirmation of ourselves it is to believe that people engaged in a desperate struggle for human dignity are using the same Web 2.0 products we are using! That we are able to form this empathy largely on the basis of consumerism demonstrates the extent to which we have bought into the notion that democracy is a by-product of media products for self-expression, and that the corporations that create such media products would never side with governments against their own people.

It is time to abandon this fantasy, and to realize that although the internet’s original architecture encouraged openness, it is becoming increasingly privatized and centralized. While it is true that an internet controlled by a handful of media conglomerates can still be used to promote democracy (as people are doing in Tunisia, Egypt, and all over the world), we need to reconsider the role that social media corporations like Facebook and Twitter will play in these struggles.

The clearest way to understand this role is to simply look at the past and current role that corporations have played in “facilitating” democracy elsewhere. Consider the above image of the tear gas canister fired against Egyptians demanding democracy. The can is labeled Made in U.S.A.

But surely it would be a gross calumny to suggest that ICT are on the same level as tear gas, right? Well, perhaps not. Today, our exports encompass not only weapons of war and riot control used to keep in power corrupt leaders, but tools of internet surveillance like Narusinsight, produced by a subsidiary of Boeing and used by the Egyptian government to track down and “disappear” dissidents.

Even without citing examples of specific Web companies that have aided governments in the surveillance and persecution of their citizens (Jillian York documents some of these examples), my point is simply that the emerging market structure of the internet is threatening its potential to be used by people as a tool for democracy. The more monopolies (a market structure characterized by a single seller) control access and infrastructure, and the more monopsonies (a market structure characterized by a single buyer) control aggregation and distribution of user-generated content, the easier it is going to be for authorities to pull the plug, as just happened in Egypt.

I’m reminded of the first so-called Internet Revolution. Almost a hundred years after the original Mexican Revolution, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation launched an uprising in southern Mexico to try to address some of the injustices that the first revolution didn’t fix, and that remain unsolved to this day. But back in 1994, Subcomandante Marcos and the rest of the EZLN didn’t have Facebook profiles, or use Twitter to communicate or organize. Maybe their movement would have been more effective if they had. Or maybe it managed to stay alive because of the decentralized nature of the networks the EZLN and their supporters used.

My point is this: as digital networks grow and become more centralized and privatized, they increase opportunities for participation, but they also increase inequality, and make it easier for authorities to control them.

Thus, the real challenge is going to be figuring out how to continue the struggle after the network has been shut off. In fact, the struggle is going to be against those who own and control the network. If the fight can’t continue without Facebook and Twitter, then it is doomed. But I suspect the people of Iran, Tunisia and Egypt (unlike us) already know this, out of sheer necessity.

[Ulises A. Mejias is assistant professor at the State University of New York, College at Oswego. His book on digital networks and inequality is coming out in Fall 2012 by University of Minnesota Press.]

[UPDATE: This post has been linked to by Forbes.com and The Huffington Post, mentioned by Inside Higher Ed and Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, reproduced in the French online magazine OWNI, the P2P Foundation wiki, and published in The Post-Standard‘s opinion section (central NY’s leading newspaper).]

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60 Comments

  1. Whilst you raise valid points about decentralisation of a movement as integral to its success, and over-reliance on networks as corporate tools you seem to miss a glaring point. Whilst the Mexican Revolution shouldn’t be named the Leica Revolution and the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings are not products of Facebook and Twitter without these corporate bodies made digital the internet it is useless to the general public.

    E-mail could be used in place of social networks, but e-mail systems are owned by companies. Telephones could be used instead of the internet, but the lines are owned by companies. Without regressing back to ham radio and Morse code (as some enterprising Egyptians have) we have no way to spread a message as quickly and effectively as by social networks. The obvious progressive step is internet owned by nobody and a replacement for Facebook and Twitter without corporate control or stock market flotation. Unfortunately I fear we are many years from this – if it even turns out to be possible.

    Movements spread before the internet, and if it were to come crashing down they would proceed without it, but let us not belittle the good work being done using social networks for the time being and work progressively to find alternatives whilst they are not stifling our means of expression, and before they do.

  2. Just a couple simple points/questions:

    -Who has said “… tools like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are primarily responsible for igniting the uprisings in question” ??

    -The ‘tweets’ continued when the network was taken down http://twitter.com/#!/LaraABCNews/status/31715362814824449

    That matters!

    -The opinion of people on the ground matters much more than others: http://t.co/uuDf1J5

    -I don’t think Dave Winer would have tweeted this post/headline, if the common wisdom was calling it “The RSS Revolution”.

    No one saying Twitter “caused” revolutions,
    nor that they’d be impossible without them.

    But anyone old enough to have had an adult thought before democratized media existed, knows this is a tremendous tool and equalizer for the people.

  3. Wait, why is it that in this debate no reference is made to factors that are under scrutiny for decades in political science? There are people who do nothing but devise and evaluate models for transformation theory (democratic revolutions in hawkish lingo) and yet people who have trouble looking beyond the scope of the medium they fell in love with get to frame the events in the middle east?

    I would say that there is a fundamentally new factor in the political arena. But it is not that Egyptians can twitter about where to meet up for a rally. They, as generations before them manage fine without some random media fads. What is different for transformation phenomena like the so called snowball effect is the interconnectedness of globalisation. Where it used to be merely culrurally and geographically close nations that picked up some vibes of transformation by example, now the echo chamber resonates globally and has some Chinese voices resonate with those of the middle east. Not that it would really matter to the events there. But it makes them big in Japan (well, actually China, but the pun was too easy to ignore).

  4. Very well said! I especially agree with your points about centralization and how that makes it easier to control the networks.

    This is one of the reasons I’ve been a staunch supporter of decentralized/federated networks similar to Twitter and Facebook for a long time. The best known of these are StatusNet (who runs the public StatusNet server Identi.ca) and Diaspora, but there are others too.

    The point of these tools is that they can be installed on a thousand servers, but still communicate with each other just like you can on Twitter or Facebook. So because no one controls the one and only system you can use to post information to your followers (like you need a Twitter account to post info to your twitter followers), noone can take down the network. If the server you have set up is blocked or taken down, you can just set up a new server and import all your followers from the previous server.

    I find this extremely important, and it saddens me that so few others seems to care about this, but just keep on using whatever is most convenient (I also use Twitter/Fb, but in combination with StatusNet and Diaspora).

  5. A) No one cares about what to call a revolution in the middle of one.

    B) Who gives a shit what it’s called?

    C) The dead don’t care what you say about them, they’re dead.

    D) Why don’t you let the people who are actually fighting worry about what they’re going to call it?

  6. The wall in Berlin was taken down without even an Internet. Even the mobile phone was not available. Like this, there are numerous examples of successful revolutions that did not need a Twitter, Facebook or other means of internet communication.
    I find it so cheap and simple to point to sm in common and write those successes on their account. People who do so are just branding their interests and goals as far as sm are concerned. Internet as a medium will without a doubt have shortened the process. But the will and strength to uprise against corrupted and suppressing governments lies solely in the people who have the courage to actually do something.

  7. Some of the practicalities of setting up alternatives have been discussed in various places including PC World including a point made in the comments about what happens if your power is turned off too. How far along are we with e.g. some more sustainable alternatives i.e. if someone turned off your electricity today could you communicate easily with others using networks?

    At the moment we have connected hardware mostly which allows networks to operate, connected content through a web, connected media such as so-called social media (with all the associated commercial models that charge for this).

    With open source social networks, you still need either internet or SMS with the use of mobile devices with 2G,Edge,3G if they’re lucky. The numbers are decreasing but still very significant numbers of people are using who have any kind of access in the first place.

    These are the areas which Stephen Ryan mentions which should be give urgent and prolonged attention alongside the benefits of using social networks now or in the future. These areas will improve people’s lives and prospects.

  8. It is important to keep the decentralized structure of the Internet alive so it doesn’t turn into a tool for suppression.

    Many decentralized tools offer the same “service” Twitter and Facebook do, but are much more difficult to be turned off. (And more difficult to use.)

    Indeed it is hard to make profit from an open Jabber or IRC server or by improving the usability of free software for communication and encryption. But the corporations trying to become synonymous with the Internet shouldn’t be left without any competition from free software.

    If the Internet should be seen less as a “service” but something people design themselves. Then you can maybe name a set of revolutions after a technology without being ashamed of selling out.

  9. “the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy”

    pardon me? there is no empirical evidence of a democracy without capitalism.
    and it’s rather obvious why.

  10. Professor… I do not believe you understand the karmic wheel… democracy is fought by the under class… those that seek to change the status quo by the cheapest means… because they are forced to. And with critical mass they achieve it. We all defend our boundaries.. it is a natural reaction.. whether it be an ideology or an oil spill and with defeat we return to “our lowest common denominator”.
    Quote – … weapons of war and riot control used to keep in power corrupt leaders, but tools of internet surveillance like Narusinsight, produced by a subsidiary of Boeing and used by the Egyptian government to track down and “disappear” dissidents.
    … You would not choose a cheap pencil made in China if you could not afford a typewriter?
    If you are looking at the Egyptians, then you should be looking closely at the government, not those that have been able to harness social media in their attempts to gain ‘critical mass’. Branding Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as culprits makes me feel you need to spend a little time looking at what branding is… let me be blunt… it is a cowboy burning a cattle’s hide so that he does not loose it; personally I am glad they can now be “chipped”. Thankyou for stimulating article.

  11. Indeed; passing comments like “the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy” sadly undermine an argument which appears to be well-researched and evidence-based in other respects.

    I’m surprised that little attention has been paid to nationalism; Twitter, Facebook &c effortlessly span national boundaries, and therefore find it easier to escape any one government’s controls on content. What messages have been propagated through television channels and newspapers in Egypt? Well, some state-controlled ones toe the party line, and some outside government control have had offices in Egypt shut down. It’s much harder to do that with modern social media, so a government wanting to control who-reads-what only has very limited, blunt controls available to them – such as blocking individual websites, and when that fails, disconnecting Egypt from the rest of the internet. This is surely relevant to modern revolutions.

    I understand that many people dislike the corporations which have provided a powerful communication service, for free, to billions of end-users; but those corporations generally *don’t* have an office in each undemocratic country, which must publish pro-government messages every time the Ministry of Information knocks on the door.

  12. “My fear is that the hype about a Twitter/Facebook/YouTube revolution performs two functions: first, it depoliticizes our understanding of the conflicts, and second, it whitewashes the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy.” …… Your fears are unfounded, Professor, for now that they are known are they easily avoided and guarded against.

    What is emerging though, and is probably quite rightly feared by those who would have abused and misused and be abusing and misusing their standard earlier positions of power and control [Pre Internet], is the free sharing of greater virtual intelligence and/or greater intelligence, virtually via the ether and technological gizmo/Global Operating Devices, and against which they have no viable destructive defenses or instructive counter-intelligence arguments.

    Such as are cyber wars are not kinetic military encounters, they are SMART head games to program hearts and minds towards peaceful coexistence which negates violence and the need for oppression and suppression. Wars are easy to wage whenever idots abounds, whereas Peace requires a lot more intelligence than is normally displayed and freely shared in transparent dialogue. Quite why that would be so, is something you might like to ponder and wonder at and address to warmongers and their weapons manufacturers and stock markets and share holders …. for all are steeped in the blood of generations and responsible for the death and suffering of millions.

    Although perversely, the huge profits in weapons sales and the vast collateral benefits plundered and delivered from seized territories and raped economies is probably the sub-prime toxic answer to the question when asked of them …….. All for the love of money, which as we all know, is easily printed 24/7/365. So why the carnage and destruction?

    Man is such a Prize Idiot, isn’t he.

    Oh and forget democracy, it is as dead as one of those utopian ideals which can never be reached. Transparent Meritocracy is the new democratic ideal and so easily delivered digitally in this New Age of IT and Networks Internetworking and Cloud Control.

    “Thus, the real challenge is going to be figuring out how to continue the struggle after the network has been shut off. In fact, the struggle is going to be against those who own and control the network.” …. Such is the action of a despotic tyrant not worthy of support from anybody, and thus are they identified to a global audience.

  13. Another thought: Often, revolutions have ended up going in a different direction to that originally hoped by the masses who gathered in squares and braved police truncheons. Often, a particular subgroup has managed to take the reins, delivering a change of government but not necessarily the change that many other people wanted.

    For example, the Iranian revolution started like much like the current unrest in Egypt; lots of different groups took to the streets, some wanting reform to start, some wanting reform to stop, some religious, some nationalist, &c. All they had in common was opposition to an inefficient undemocratic government. Amid the disruption, the religious extremists came out on top.

    (there are some interesting examples from southeastern Europe too).

    I think that kind of diversion is less likely if the masses have better, and decentralised, communications. The Muslim Brotherhood (or any other subset of angry people on the streets of Cairo) have even less ability to control tweets than the current Egyptian government does.

  14. I’m tired of the same flawed logic:

    1) Swords Kill
    2) Capitalists Make Swords
    3) Capitalists must be evil
    4) US citizens that support private industry (work for, buy from, or use) are evil.

    But how about this?

    1) Swords Protect
    2) Swords preserve or liberate
    3) Swords are a tool
    4) The people who make swords make tools that are used to fight for, or against, tyranny.
    5) The people who use swords use tools that are used to fight for, or against, tyranny.
    6) The people who want to take away your swords are the tyrants who want to preserve power by disarming the opposition.
    7) Laws against the possession of swords by some (private citizens), while allowing possession by others (government officials) are unfair and unjust.
    8) No one should have a monopoly on force (unless it’s me, or us ‘maybe’, but certainly not THEM)

    Boohoo, there is inequality in the world, always has been, always will be. In fact this is precisely why these revolutions take place. The revolution isn’t going to be “against” the companies that create and control social media, it will be in spite of them.

    It is the media, the slanted, biased media that we are now able to expose and circumvent through the power of instantaneous communication that will be the casualty (and already is).

    It doesn’t matter what the mass communication medium is, if those in power want to shut it down, they will. From newspapers, books, TV stations, radio, you name it.

    Speaking of shutting down speech… Maybe you should write an article that hits a little closer to home and entitle it: “The Fairness Doctrine” a contradiction in terms if there ever was one. You can then debate at length the merits of government intervention in private industry. The only case in which I could see a need for a “Fairness Doctrine” is in a socialist or communist society, where there is only one channel to watch or listen to… For now we have two: Fox News and everything else. What’s fair about shutting down the one voice that speaks in opposition to all the others? Smacks of tyranny doesn’t it? It’s about power folks and power corrupts.

    The revolutionists ask only one question, “whose side are you on?”

  15. I will just say this, I believe we get a more accurate, in the moment accounting of the human struggle taking place when the message comes from the people in the midst of the struggle via social media than when it is reported in brief snippets by controlled media sources. Through social media, more people can connect, understand, and support the struggle. There is a greater collective vibe because people are more personally connected to the messages coming to them directly via Twitter, Facebook etc. This may be a sad statement, but fewer people would understand or care about the struggle if we were only hearing about it through traditional media, to which we have become numb. Social media makes it more personal. And besides, it is what it is and we cannot control its momentum.

  16. My fear is that the hype about a Twitter/Facebook/YouTube revolution performs two functions: first, it depoliticizes our understanding of the conflicts, and second, it whitewashes the role of capitalism in suppressing democracy.

    Additionally, part of the appeal of declarations of the revolutionary power of social media may be self-aggrandizing. It allows us to feel engaged in events that are actually quite remote from us. A Twitter-fiend could feel that they were participating in the Green Revolution, simply by being on the receiving end of messages that were subverting Iranian attempts to clamp down on communication with the outside world. The Western reader of those tweets could then turn around and rebroadcast them to others, though to what end is ultimately uncertain.

    That isn’t to say that the political utility of social media is limited to its palliative effect, but it does go a long way toward explaining the appeal of a Twitter Revolution. That must be particularly so in a country, like the U.S., where events like the disputed presidential elections in 2000 and 2004 and the continuing dispute over health care reform can make local politics seem as remote as revolutions taking place on the other side of the globe.

    To that end, the real Twitter Revolution may be occurring on our end of the WiFi connection. It isn’t that social media allows people in despotic nations turn against their leaders, so much as that they allow those of us living in relatively free, affluent countries to turn away from our own gridlock to feel that we’re participating in someone else’s political emergence.

  17. Well, I guess the Mexican Revolution isnt’t called “the Leica revolution” because:

    Hugo Brehme was not carrying a Leica during that time. Leica as company didn’t exist till 1913 and their first camera for the public wasn’t available until 1923.

    Hugo Brehme became famous for his ethnographic and landscape photography, not because of his role as a war photographer of his time and place.

    He was not carrying the pictures of the ongoing war out to the world as it was happening like twitter does today.

    Twitter is not an entity, it’s a channel. And a very effective one.
    Could have happened 10 years ago with SMS, but there, the public component was missing.

  18. True, Brehme was not a war photojournalist in the sense that we understand it today, and he is mostly known for his romantic portraiture of the Mexican landscape. But my point was that the images photographers were taking at the time of the Mexican revolution shaped the way the world understood the conflict, and in fact inspired the way future revolutions were photographed.

    As for the camera he used, I found no concrete evidence that he employed a Leica for his pictures of the revolution, but there is evidence that he worked with Leica cameras. Just because Leica’s first camera for the public was not available until 1923, this doesn’t mean professionals weren’t carrying around prototypes. But if you know more about this subject, I’d be interested to know.

  19. Professor Mejias makes two worthwhile points: don’t become centrally dependent, and don’t forget humanity. Though my impression of the stories being told about the role of tech in Egypt right now is that they are communicating how and why tech is being used, not that it necessarily must be used.

    We must be confident that freedom will find a way. Yesterday it may have been that; today it might be this; and tomorrow too we can be grateful for what tools will facilitate it.

  20. “But my point was that the images photographers were taking at the time of the Mexican revolution shaped the way the world understood the conflict”

    That’s not a strong point. Twitter shaped the way the movement understands itself, that’s the difference.

    You dislike the name coz it hints at the positive role capitalism played in this movement.

  21. “The medium is (not) the message”

    For me the most fundamentally important point, which this article alludes to but doesn’t address directly, is that the media discourse on events in Egypt and Tunisia in focusing on the use of social media sidesteps any serious discussion about what motivated the uprisings. I was in awe of how much news I had to sit through in order to find out any detail about the underlying reasons for these events. A politically charged, complex and diffuse social movement does not make for easy headline writing. But by solely considering the relatively simple narrative of the role of new media in these events, you can create a story which is far more easily understood. Of course the only drawback that it means no-one discusses what is actually going on. We don’t know what’s happening, all we know is that the introduction of social media means it’s happening faster than ever. And isn’t that all that matters really?

  22. Dear Mr. Meijas,

    Thank you for writing this post about commercializing the social and the revolution. You have created an epiphany for me. How can we use the tools of communication when they are being increasingly privatized and once our connection is shut off, WHAT THEN?

    How can we communicate and create social movements without Twitter/Facebook and other platforms being a barrier?

    I hope your book answers this question.

    Sincerely,

    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  23. “How can we use the tools of communication when they are being increasingly privatized and once our connection is shut off, WHAT THEN?”

    Very delusional. ALL of these tools were private ventures right from the start.

    “How can we communicate and create social movements without Twitter/Facebook and other platforms being a barrier?”

    Very delusional. Twitter/FB was NOT the barrier, it was the channel.
    You, like most people who have access to the internet, are free to launch your own social media thing.

    “and once our connection is shut off, WHAT THEN?”

    Why would our connection be shut off? It’s like saying:”and once McDonalds stops selling food, WHAT THEN?”, implying we all would starve. Why not go to Burger King? There are lots of social media sites. And like I said before – you are free to launch one your self.

  24. Hello. Personally I thought the points made in the article were interesting. There have been many references here in the West to the political unrest in Tunisia, Egypt and their neighbors as being Facebook Revolutions (i.e., brand named revolutions). It’s sufficient to do a Google search under Facebook Revolution to see what impact the expression / brand has had in imprinting itself on today’s world.

    But obviously on the flip side of Facebook, as the Financial Times pointed out on 14 Feb. in ‘Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt’, we have a situation where “… the Facebook class – the young, educated and articulate demonstrators who became the international face of the revolution – are just one social strand in Egypt. This is a country where 44 per cent of the population is illiterate or semi-literate and where 40 per cent live on less than $2 a day.” And the idea that many of those participating in the revolt have a computer at home is possibly rather imaginative. However, just recently I saw a photo of a man standing in the midst of a protest in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, holding a cardboard sign where it read ‘facebook’ – talk about brand name positioning!

    The fact that humanity hangs onto a slogan, weather it be Facebook Revolution or the hope that Yes We Can chanted by Obama, I feel shows just how desperate humanity is for change.

    I would also like to say that Vietnam and the ’68 Revolution were media events which were largely played out on the TV screen. And today, more than Facebook, I believe what drove the Middle East to demand change was the constant coverage Al Jazeera keep up 24/7.

    My take is that the Facebook Revolution wasn’t so much a selling point for those in the Middle East that rose up in defiance of dictatorial regimes, but was sold to the West as how wonderful these tools can be.

    The Middle East still has its cafes and communal prayers. The West instead is too often stuck behind some lonely computer, weather it be in a crowed internet cafe or at home, socializing.

    As the article by the Financial Times suggests, pulling the plug on a society where possibly 90 percent of the population is computerless is less of a problem than it would be for the West.

    Mejias suggests internet is a closed system regardless of how open we like to think it is, and I would agree. When the switch is pulled, or a commercial entity requests a fee you can’t pay, you’re out – and the West would probably suffer its pangs of withdrawal more than others would.

    Anyway, I found the article to be thought provoking and well written.

  25. I applaud Mejias.

    By no stretch of imagination I am a Luddite but for sure I can comment on my nation, India.

    I was appalled to Indian digerati refer to it as “Twitter Revolution” or ‘Facebook Revolution”.

    This is a nation of 5,000-yeard-old culture is reduced to 140 characters by elite, educated Indians.

    These who when seen online videos of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya as “fascinating”.

    Yes “fascinating”.

    Many would not know that Central Reserve Police Force are being masscared ever other day by Naxals. In fact in 2011, a rough study showed that about 300 CRPF died in anti-insurgency just in 2010.

    Soldiers are battling in Kashmir.

    My own city Mumbai has been brutalized by terror attacks.

    I had the misfortune to see three in front of my eyes.\

    But we Mumbaikars went our day to day life.

    I also ask Americans, how can they comment on Arab nations when their own GIs are dying every other day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    They don’t care about their own GI soldiers.

    India and America find themselevs in a similar situation but refuse to see the elephant in the room.

    They are abusing technology

    I refer to these insensitive people as “Twitter Terrorists”.

    The ones tweeting incendiary comments.

    I just offer just one as an example:

    Anti-Dr Ambedkar Facebook Page triggers riots in Mumbai
    Feb 15, 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyj4yzPf7PY

    Angry Dalits took to streets in Mumbai’s Khar area on Monday night to protest against an anti-Ambedkar page on the social networking website Facebook. Police and Rapid Action Force personnel rushed in as the protest went out of a control. Mobs burnt tyres and even damaged passing cars. As a result, all connecting roads were jammed for almost four hours and police cordoned off the area as a precaution. No one was arrested. Meanwhile hundreds of protesters gathered at the Khar police station demanding action against those behind the Facebook page. Protesters said that it is insulting Baba Ambedkar and if the police doesn’t take action then they will stall the state. One of the protesters also said that if by 10 am on Tuesday they don’t get the verdict, they will not only block roads, but also shut down the state

    Derogatory remarks about B R Ambedkar on the social networking site provoke a gathering of nearly 500 to resort to stone pelting and tyre-burning at Bandra, Khar and Andheri

    Chaos erupted on the roads and bylanes of Bandra and Khar late last night after someone created a page termed ‘I Hate Ambedkar’ on Facebook.

    The site allegedly also contained some derogatory comments about Ambedkar and as the news spread, a huge crowd of around 500 people gathered at Pali Naka in Bandra and on Carter Road shouting slogans and pelting stones on passing cars and buses.

    Another massive crowd gathered at the Khar police station to protest and demand police action.

    The protest did not stop there and people continued their rampage and set car tires on fire at Khar and then joined other protesters forming a huge mob on Andheri Link Road. “

    I invite all to my city and see beyond the headlines.

    Gen Douglas MacArthur said, “Whoever said the pen is mightier then the sword
    obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”

    I rephrase Gen Douglas MacArthur:

    “Whoever said the tweeting is mightier then the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”

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