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Jakarta Post

The Mideast, political failure and the public

  • Pierre Marthinus

St. Andrews, UK   /   Wed, February 2 2011   /  10:13 am

Recent unrest spreading from Tunisia toward Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and most importantly Egypt has taken the world by surprise. With the available information and time, politicians and analysts alike try to make sense of the changing landscape — yet the political outcome from the unrest for the region remains uncertain.The unrest takes a different course and scale in each country, but has several underlying characteristics regarding its catalyst, source of grievance, and susceptibility toward external alterations.First, social networks and the media have been identified as the main catalysts, feeding abundant information and accelerating the development of discontent to an unprecedented level. Previously, nationwide uprisings took revolutionaries decades to plan in advance, but now the layman — along with the layblogger and layhactivist — has organized it in mere weeks thro...