Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Goings On Around the World

As the weather wreaks havoc nationwide, we are seeing some fascinating things globally. Tunisia has experienced a 'Jasmine Revolution' (well, some people are calling it that) resulted in the ousting of Ben-Ali; massive popular movement in Egypt has already produced a commitment from Hosni Mubarak that he will not seek office again (i.e. extend his term beyond thirty years) in September, and may yet result in his resignation; and we'll be hearing much about how social media is playing a part in other contested areas (and those 'contests' will continue to take a wide variety of forms).

There will also be many reports in the coming days about the high-end players behind the scenes who 'made this happen,' who spurred on the events via political channels and manipulation of social media. As all this happens, I think it will be fitting to remember Howard Zinn, who passed almost exactly a year ago, and how he continually reminded us that it is social movement that brings about change. Not that policy-makers, statesmen and important leaders don't play a part, but in the end it's pretty much always, without fail, popular movement that spurs meaningful change in a population.

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