One Year Ago #jan25 The Hashtag Tweeted Around the World
It was one year ago I was one of many who sat glued to the internet watching the birth of a revolution which grew worldwide. Yes, it was first in Tunisia where the people gathered in in the streets in protest. The events began in December 2010 and led to the ousting of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 eventually leading to a thorough democratization of the country and to free and democratic elections.
However, it was on January 25, 2011, that the world woke up when the people of Egypt gathered together and formed a revolution against Mubarak. Protesters flooded Cairo’s main squares and Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr flooded the internet with updates. Supporters of Egypt’s protesters around the world spread information in updates so rapid and numerous that the collective coverage could probably be classified as viral.
Meet Alyouka, the 21-year-old Egyptian who was the first person to Tweet out the #Jan25 hashtag which, along with #Egypt, became a rallying cry and loose way to organize communications around and about the protests. She explains how the protesters used Twitter:
We use it to campaign and spread the word about protests/stands–hashtags are invaluable in that respect, and to share news quickly and efficiently, with our own 140-char commentary on them, and subsequently have conversations with random people/complete strangers. But most importantly, it allows us to share on the ground info like police brutality, things to watch out for, activists getting arrested, etc. A certain class of activists are armed with smartphones, which allow them to live-tweet the protests (for example, some people tweet the chants, because they’re often funny and interesting).
January 25, 2011, ignited the spark within the people of the United States to eventually lead to our own Occupy Wall Street Movement protesting the greed and corruption within our own country. And tonight, President Obama finally addressed many of the concerns raised by the good people of the US in his State of the Union Address.
As I write this, the new hashtag #Jan25two is filling the twitter-waves, as it is now January 25th, 2012, in Egypt and activists are mapping out locations from which they plan to march to Cairo’s Tahrir Square Wednesday on the first anniversary of uprising that toppled Mubarak.
As Dima Khatib with Al Jazeera just tweeted:
Dima_Khatib Dima Khatib
One year ago we did not know what to expect .. The hashtag #Jan25 was filling our tweets as a revolution was about to be born #Jan25two
The country of Egypt is still in turmoil as a new government develops. Egyptian Islamist parties have swept the parliamentary polls, with an alliance of ultraconservative Islamists winning about 25 percent of seats, and the Muslim Brotherhood winning about 47 percent of the seats. The military council leading Egypt since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster said it would keep Parliament in a subordinate role with little real power until the ratification of a constitution and the election of a president, both scheduled for completion by the end of June.
I only hope that the people of Egypt get what they want… not what the US government and military want for them.
I would like to share a video I created last year in honor of the revolutionaries and their passion for fighting for what they believed in.
And I also wanted to honor the women and children of Egypt, so created this video for them.
All power to the people – and, yes, no one ever said it was going to be easy.