Lately there has been a considerable amount of attention towards the numerous struggles for freedom and justice throughout the Middle East and North Africa (yes Egypt and Tunisia are indeed in North Africa) and rightfully so. We are witnessing an era of seemingly unprecedented events involving the grassroots mobilization and asserting of their human and civil rights.
Wrapped up in the plethora of media coverage, lies the debate concerning the role social media played in revolutionary protests and struggles for freedom. Casually glancing through CNN or any other major news outlet’s web page one would be hard pressed not to come across a number of articles and stories arguing how much credit, if at all, social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter) can be given to the success of anti-oppression forces, mainly the ousting of Mubarak.
The problem with many of these conversations is that so much focus is put on the power of social media (and the role Obama and U.S. should have played, but that is another blog). Far too often these conversations lost sight of the actual people. They fail to contextualize the depth of the struggles for freedom, justice, and equality and their spirit. W.E.B. Du Bois once said,
“There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.”