The Egyptian Revolution as a Spectacle for the West

A fascinating piece from The Other Sociologist

Mona Abaza, Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo, argues that there has been a rush of Western ‘academic tourists’ who write about ‘the Arab Spring’ as a way to further their careers. With respect to the Egyptian Revolution, Abaza sees that Western academics seek out researchers and participants living in Egypt for information, but without considering them as equal contributors to the analysis. Instead, Western academics reproduce discourses of revolution from a Western perspective. Unwittingly, such researchers exploit and denigrate Middle Eastern experiences. Abaza uses the notion of Orientalism to make sense of this process. I also see that her analysis resonates with Stuart Hall’s ideas about the Spectacle of the Other. Abaza’s analysis is a great reminder that Western intellectualism requires reflexive consideration about ‘whose knowledge counts more’ when documenting social and historical change.’ 

Read the full post …

'Nobody tells this story'

Real change has emerged from some of the Arab uprisings - but not in Bahrain. With the government locked in standoff with its people, David Hollier speaks to exiled activist Lamees Dhaif in Cairo

Debating the role of social media in the ‘Arab Spring’

Here’s a few interesting resources providing critical analysis of the role of social media in the recent uprisings in the Arab world …

Digital Media and the Arab Spring

Arab Spring - the Ultimate Social Media Guide

Arab Spring - and the Long Winter Ahead

Arab Social Media Report

Many, many thanks to Annalise for sharing updates from, who campaign on information equality and technological democracy. For further details check their website …

A few recent highlights from

Last week, we attended Vodafone’s annual shareholder meeting in London where, with the endorsement of over 8,000 Access members, we publicly challenged Vodafone’s Board to reform their policies so as to never again cede control of their networks to regimes. See the video of Vodafone’s response here (at 29:59) along with international media coverage about our 5-point Telco Action Plan.

We’ve been active on the international stage. At the OECD’s (a group of the world’s most developed countries) high-level meeting about internet policy, we supported civil society’s decision to decline to endorse the official communique, and used this meeting as an opportunity to deliver a draft of our whitepaper laying out a roadmap to smart regulation of the internet. While at the OECD we also participated in a working group on new guidelines for multinational corporations.
Earlier in the year, at the eG8, we staged a press conference before the world’s media where we delivered a petition signed by nearly 20,000 of you and issued a statement signed by over 40 leading civil society NGOs demanding protection of an open and secure internet.

Access held its second Access LIVE web symposium on internet regulation, which featured representatives from Microsoft, the European Parliament, and grass roots activists from Thailand and Chile.

The latest version of the practical digital security guide is now being translated into 15 languages and is being used by citizens all over the world to protect their security and identity. The updated version is also in Arabic on our site. A new Access alert about Man in the Middle attacks is available here too.

After thousands of you wrote to world leaders asking them to watch the incredible videos of the bravery and brutality occurring in Syria’s streets, even more of you took action to support the Syrian people by uploading photos of yourselves. Take a look! Our voices have joined with others to push the international community to finally condemn this ongoing tragedy.

Access’ Global Movement swung into action during a recent election in Malaysia raising thousands of dollars to help the digital activists working around the clock to keep these websites online and to build a firewall to defend against attacks.
During the Egyptian Revolution, we asked for your support to help build the Tor network, which helps citizens around the world to securely browse the open internet. Your impact is still being felt as digital technology and social media tools have proven to be an integral part of the slow change we are witnessing.
Together we rallied in support of the new UN Report on Freedom of Expression Online. Your messages of support were sent directly to over 50 UN missions, demanding our right to the internet.

Where we’re going:

This week, the Access Tech team is off to Berlin, where we’re organizing a village at the 5-day Chaos Communication Camp for leaders working on blackout resilient technology, advocating for your privacy rights online here and arguing the business case of human rights here.

Access is also in the midst of a learning and listening tour with digital activists throughout Asia, meeting with partners in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and elsewhere. 

Access is hard at work planning the first ever Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference, which will take place in San Francisco, California on October 25th and 26th. It’s the first major conference dedicated to examining and exploring how the high-tech industry can better plan for and manage the emerging human rights implications of their technologies and has the support of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Skype, and Mozilla. We’ll let you know how Access members can attend shortly, stay tuned!

Arab Film Festival Australia

Media and Democracy from Afghanistan to the ‘Arab Spring’

In Autumn Semester 2011, UoW hosted a seminar on Media and Democracy from Afghanistan to the Arab Spring

Check out the UoW InFocus clip

plus UoW Media Unit coverage and links to further info