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article imageTwitter and Facebook beat guns in toppling oppressive regimes

By Leo Reyes     Feb 21, 2011 in Politics
Popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been playing a pivotal role in recent people power uprising in North Africa and the Middle East, beating guns and military firepower in toppling oppressive regimes.
With practically nothing to secure their own ranks as they stage mass protests to press their governments for the needed reforms, demonstrators and protesters have capitalized on their sheer numbers in confronting armed troops.
Twitter and Facebook, among other popular social networking sites have served as the protesters' ammunition in their peaceful pursuit of peace, freedom and equality.
Most recently, Tunisia and Egypt fell into the hands of almost armless protesters with only laptops and cellphones in their hands to post messages on Twitter and Facebook to tell their supporters to converge in certain areas to join the mass protests.
Realizing the power of the Internet in bringing down a regime, Libya has cut the country from cyberspace in an effort to neutralize the influx of people joining mass protests and cut their communication to the outside world.
Myanmar Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi who has been inspired by the series of people power revolts in some North African and Middle Eastern countries, said she now wants to join other pro-democracy activists by using Twitter and Facebook.
Suu Kyi, who was jailed for almost 20 years by Myanmar's military regime has been leading democracy activists in her country for decades. She was freed late last year after her prison term expired.
The 65-year old Nobel Peace Prize laureate hailed the role that the Egyptian army played during that country's 18-day revolution.
"What everybody noticed is the Egyptian army did not fire on the people, which is the greatest difference and the most critical difference" between conditions in Egypt and those in Burma, she said.
The events in Cairo stand in stark contrast to what happened in her own country in 1988, when protests erupted against the military and were brutally crushed. Some 3,000 people were killed.
During the national elections in Iran in 2009 which enraged thousands of people on allegation of election fraud, Twitter was at the center of the mass protest that followed a violent confrontation in the streets of Tehran.
Protesters found Twitter ideal for mass protest movement as it is easy for the average citizen to use and very hard to any central authority to control, according to a report in 2009.
The same might be true of e-mail and Facebook, but those media aren't public. They don't broadcast, as Twitter does.
With Iran's experience and success on the use of Twitter in mass protest, it is not far fetch the same will be duplicated in Libya's on-going people power uprising.
More about Protests, Demonstrations, Freedom, Democracy, Twitter
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