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Facebook Activists: Liberal Democrats in Egypt

By Tom Watson on December 29, 2007No Comment

I’d missed this great piece in the Washington Post the week before last about the cause of liberal democracy in the Arab Middle East, and how young activists are using social networking tools to plan for a more open, democratic future. Six months ago, Ahmed Samih, the 28-year-old director of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies in Cair, founded a Facebook group called “What happens when Hosni Mubarak dies?” writes Jackson Diehl. Now the group has 2,741 members, almost all of them Egyptian. Reports Diehl:

Facebook and YouTube are where the young Egyptian democracy movement lives — mostly out of reach of Mubarak’s secret police. There are more than 60 Facebook groups devoted to liberal Egyptian causes; many of them have thousands of members. On YouTube, one can find hundreds of video clips showing demonstrations for human rights in Egypt, speeches by liberal activists, sermons by reformist Muslim clerics — and torture by Mubarak’s security forces, captured on cellphones.

It’s another example of social networks being used for serious, real-world organizing.

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