Crowdsourcing Engagement

HarassMap is a genius idea. The mission HarassMap has in denormalizing instances of violence against girls in Egypt, and its method for crowdsourcing witnesses and bystanders to react against these acts will allow for safer public spaces in Egypt. I think the United States has issues with sexual harassment as well, and HarassMap would create a larger social movement around the issue. In general the problem with harassment tends to be the lack of encouragement to stand for the people being harassed. There is a certain social stigma against people defending on another, it becomes a sort of a spectacle and I think people try to avoid that. That is why with the idea of HarassMap, with the goal to promote the fact that the harassers are responsible not the victims is an exceptional idea. With other resources as well, HarassMap offers information about classes to intervene when sexual harassment occurs, self defense classes, and reports to help construct a greater cultural movement towards demoralizing the ideologies the perpetrate harassment.

The importance of collective movements such as HarassMap really demonstrate how the coalition of community members can benefit individuals. It is easy to see movements such as this one achieve national, and hopefully international level of application. Chelsea Young’s article expands on the benefits of HarassMap by ultimately stating, “Crowdsourcing is the process by which the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of a specialized few.”


Not cool

I really wish one of those scenarios where these old dudes trying to push all these decisions would transform into a woman for a year and see the suppressive, chauvinistic, hyper masculine, egotistical “resolutions” they are trying to pass. Though really, what kind of person addresses women as “hosts.” This is something that I think will be really interesting to discuss in class.

Though looking at the broader argument in regards to Planned Parenthood, it is incredibly narrow minded to think that providing abortions is enough evidence to de-establish an organization that provides basic health care to millions of Americans. I don’t understand the arguments behind de-funding Planned Parenthood just because of abortions as well. The United States was founded upon the premise that people would have freedom to utilize services of their choice for their well being, I think the side of the argument that wants abortions to be illegal should respect the decisions of others in regards to what they do to their bodies. Really though, how can people be so narrow minded and not understand certain circumstances that prove that some people depend on Title X for their healthcare needs.

Freedom of Conscience

Freedom of Speech is one of the most fundamental human rights allowed in many governances, though many countries do not share that same luck. When examining the countries that suppress their constituents voices, the battlefield of resistance is mostly carried out online. Bloggers who label themselves as Political Activists are some of the most active proponents in advancing freedoms for themselves and others in countries that have gone as far as banning assembly of more than five people and banning Facebook & YouTube. What the governments fear behind the freedom of speech and freedom to explore information via the internet is the ability to realize, question and criticize the modes of oppression they are under.

Bassel Khartabil was one of the greatest advocates for an unrestricted and open source internet in the Arab world. His advances in establishing the creative commons in Arabic allowed for the growth of a prominent hacker-space in Syria and open web for his country. Though in the midst of the Arab Spring uprisings, he was arrested and then disappeared completely under the Syrian regime. The charges he was arrested under was “harming state security,” which was completely illegitimate, since Bassel’s contributions only benefitted the country by helping others share information via the internet.

I think one of the most important remarks to take away from the circumstances that Bassel and his community have undergone is the importance of freedom of speech and expression. Bassel Khartabil provided the technology and space for people to explore a free internet, and thus a free conscious to question corrupt regimes. His arrest is a stab at the online communities right to share and express ideas, thus explaining the Arab worlds anger on the disappearance and presumed death of such a bright young mind.

cri de cœur

The academic article written by Paul Amar (coincidentally a professor of Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara) on the socio-political context behind the YouStink movement and other Arab world uprisings, provides interesting context in regards to the different approaches of contestation for sovereignty during the movements within the Arab world. Paul Amar describes these as “battles between models of of sovereignty: absolutism and oligarchy on the other hand, and popular or participatory paradigms of rule on the other” (267). This gives and interesting insight into exactly what the uprisings in the Arab world during 2010 to 2013 were concerned with and protesting for, whether for better trash removal services or more fair systems of government. What is further discussed is interesting to me because the article discusses different models of comparison to try to better understand the premise and feelings evoked during the movement. Though, none of these comparisons can be guaranteed as relevant since they are not parallel to Arab world movements that occurred within 2010-13. That is why I am glad that the “New Paradigms Factory,” which aimed to aid research for junior Arab scholars to produce case studies to “capture spaces of contention.” I think this will help others understand the event of 2010-13 with more clarity since the studies will be produced and published within the precinct of the events. Further on within the journal the articles really give clarity into the Arab struggle for sovereignty. I think its important to continue to publish studies that give better context to the uprisings that occurred within the Arab world because it can give better insight and clearer parallels to other movements that have or will occur. Overall the publication was a little confusing at first, but an interesting read.

“Not your Grandfathers Civil Rights Movement”

The Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the most prominent social movements ever witnessed by our generation within the United States. There has been mass controversy over the legitimacy and rhetoric of the movement since its beginnings, but I believe the controversy to be caused from a long stemming misunderstanding of the group in question. From what I understood from reading The New Yorker article about where the Black Lives matter movement is heading today, is that to a certain degree the movement has been hindered by bullying and personal attacks made on social media sites. I think this is expressive for how ephemeral social movements which started on social media can be, though I believe BLM has made enough of an impact to continue to push its goals.

Reading this article really made me understand how Garza’s work within the movement propelled it to such magnitude. I still do not understand however, how there is still police violence and lack of ambition to correct the ideology that perpetrates inequality among races. Especially with the rise of the new president, there has been an unfortunate excuse to now believe there is only a certain acceptable type of “American.” I think programs such as the one mentioned in the article with the Ella Baker Center to help Californians monitor and report police brutality can be applied on a national level to prevent more incidences of unnecessary violence. I also believe action should be made to demilitarize police, there are certain uses of forces that are completely unnecessary with the resources the police department has, and de-escalation tactics should be used more frequently.

Citizens of the Internet

The article written by Linda Herrera gave descriptive insight into post revolutionary Egypt with special attention on youth involvement and their ubiquity on the web, thus becoming the “wired generation.” The article ties very well with what is occurring in the United States as well in regards to how our generation is “interconnected,” and have “values distinct from generations who came of age in a pre-digital era” (335). Furthermore, I also think its interesting how the article ties into discussion the relevance of the degenerative side of the internet. I think it is interesting to address this side in order to understand the caution one should proceed with when using the internet.

An interesting topic that Linda Herrera brought up within her article was the conclusion drawn that uprisings usually occur and become alive if people are able to exploit political wrongdoings, and “innovate in cultural and intellectual spheres” (337), as Herrera explained is exactly what this “wired generation” did during the Arab youth uprisings. Herrera continues to support her case with biographical evidence from the youth involved at the time of the Arab uprisings, one of these youths being 22 year old Mona.

In Herrera’s article, Mona’s biography provides us with the perspective of what life of an Egyptian youth was like and how her actions against Egyptian taboo opened her mind in order for her to form her own opinions. Another Student, Murad, in a similar situation, was drawn to participate in online games where he learned about accepting differences between players. It was situations like these online that catalyzed a large group of youth to become enlightened through technology, and as one youth described,  “a gateway to heaven.” What technology has done overall to Egyptian youth before the revolution, was open doors to the world for young people like Mona and Murad to build their own opinions and ideas, which then led to the youth demographic to question their ruling governments authority.

Digital Youth

Coming from a perspective where I choose not to/hardly participate in social media (no snap chat, twitter, Instagram, work forces me to have Facebook though), I particularly thought that the two readings were really intriguing in a sense that social media can be used as an invaluable tool to give social movements momentum. It’s simple to see this fact though, especially in cases such as how the youth in Egypt used social media platforms to give WAAKS momentum. I think it was rather surprising how the Ali and Sharnouby article explained how Egypt youth were seen as a burden rather than the “future hope” for the country –it all became rather ironic when it was the youth movement which drove the January revolution– its just strange to me how the whole country seemed to underestimate that particular demographic. If it weren’t for the presence of social media though, it would have proved to be very difficult for the young Egyptians to gain momentum in connecting the masses to see the police brutality occurring.

One term that particularly struck me within the “Distorting Digital Citizenship” article was the term “Digital Youth,” I have never heard this term before, and it took a lot of thought to decide what the term was insinuating. It wasn’t until after reading the introduction of “Social Media Revolutions,” by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber that I had a better idea on the topic. One quote that had the strongest impression on the idea of “digital youth,” was the what Danspeckgruber said “ Social media has given young leaders a unique voice…the new forms of interaction facilitated by social media hold the power to shake the very foundations of government itself” (3). This made me consider the fact that if I don’t participate in social media, does that make me socially irresponsible? I choose to not participate because I am a little unsettled by the idea of a “global village” (Marshall McLuhan); I have a long explanation for this. Still pondering this question probably until we discuss it.

Informal Networking and Social Activism

Social Movement Theory, or SMT is a topic relatively new to the social sciences realm and more specifically so to Islamic Social Movements. Joel Beinin and Fréderic Valrel introduce their study to familiarize the research community to new backgrounds for examining Islamic social movements within North Africa and the Middle East. One of the most interesting aspects of this article was the information highlighting the importance for these social movement groups to have the ability to network in order to mobilize movements. The method of “informal networking” is discussed as an approach common to most cases of social movement; for example, Japan’s environmental protest movement can be viewed as form of mobilized social movement, though “the final necessary ingredient was a protest leader from within the community who enjoyed high status there” (Beinin – Valrel, 12). This poses the interesting question of whether movements without a type of guide or leader figure could reach success in achieving their social goals, and whether informal networking (whether through social media or personal interaction) can lead to discovery of such a leader. Within Joe Stork’s article on human rights activism in the Middle East and North Africa, a similar statement on the importance of networking for social movement mobility is made, especially within the case of Bahraini rights activism. Two students, Shukrallah and Ibrahim founded the Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) to begin networking to aid others to see “how democracy and human rights was essential for human emancipation” (Stork, 113). The government never recognized the organization founded by the two students which almost lead to its disbanding, however the informal networking within the organization can be viewed as the method by which the organization continued to function until August 1989 when workers occupied a steel company which lead to opportunity for EOHR to be finally recognized. Overall I find the topic of informal networking such as communication through social media outlets very interesting, because of the effects it can have on the larger community, especially in informing them on social injustice.