Twitter instead of cobble-stone. Can Armenia face a Twitter resolution?
Should Vladimir Lenin plot his October revolution in the 21st century, he would think over seizing Twitter and Facebook, instead of capturing post offices or railway stations.
The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have shown that social networks can have tremendous role in organization of political processes. Thanks to social networks, even under total media control by the authorities, the opposition forces managed to coordinate their protest actions and take millions of people to the streets to oust the rulers.
February 12, 2011
PanARMENIAN.Net - Cobble-stone, the weapon of proletariat, is outdated. Now, opposition prefers Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Livejournal. The term 'color revolution' is gradually replaced by 'Twitter resolution'. Politicians and experts are trying to guess which country can be next in the wave of mass protests. Some Armenian analysts do not rule repetition of Egyptian events in Armenia.
According to coordinator of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition bloc, incumbent authorities do nothing but provoke a revolt. However, he notes, the degree of the influence of social networks is determined by the percentage of internet users in the country. “If the figure was about 35% in Tunisia and 25% in Egypt, it has not exceeded 10% in Armenia till recently. This is not a figure that can influence on social and political events,” he says.
Armenian bloggers Sedrak Mkrtchyan and Tigran Kocharyan do not exclude attempts to organize a 'Twitter revolution' in Armenia.
There are protest moods in all countries, including the developed ones. The events in Egypt proved the existence of a detailed scheme aimed to organize revolutions and change rulers, according to Mkrtchyan. “The scheme applied in Tunisia and Egypt will be used in Armenia sooner or later, with the same social networks, the same methods and slogans,” he says.
Organization of a 'Twitter revolution' will not be an easy task, according to Tigran Kocharyan. Although major fundings for popularization of social networks like Twitter and Facebook in Armenia suggest the possibility of organizing opposition revolts, both Armenian authorities' awareness of the methods of operating in social networks and anti-opposition Armenian blogger groups might prevent them, he believes.
Besides, he is confident that not all of the oppositionists, ardently proclaiming their ideals on the internet will be ready to participate in demonstrations to defend them.
At that, both Mkrtchyan and Kocharyan suppose that Twitter and Facebook are likely to be directly engaged in the U.S. policy. “With their central servers located in the U.S., these companies have to be subordinate to American laws and operate in the interests of the United States,” Kocharyan says. “The recent events in Egypt evidence of these websites' policy, obviously coordinated with the White House. Parallel to Obama's calls on Mubarak to start a dialogue with the opposition, Twitter and Facebook launched a campaign to support the rioters. Moreover, these companies helped the Egyptian opposition reach internet bypassing the governmental ban.”
Levon Zurabyan and Caucasus Institute Director Alexander Iskandaryan, however, oppose to that opinion. According to Zurabyan, overthrowing Mubarak was not in the interests of the U.S., Europe and Israel. Iskandaryan, for his part, notes that social networks served as a technical tool only.
“Revolutions could be organized with the help of letters in the 16th century, with the help of newspapers in the 19th century and with the help of television in the 20th century. All these, like internet now, are just instruments,” he insists.
The events in Tunisia and Egypt proved a new political reality - a possibility to overthrow the power which seemed unshakeable for decades. Internet, which penetrated in all spheres of human life, enters politics with a steady pace. Traditional media can only dream of the opportunities internet provides. Should Vladimir Lenin plot his October revolution in the 21st century, he would think over seizing Twitter and Facebook, instead of capturing post offices or railway stations.
Hayk Khalatyan / PanARMENIAN News
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