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Media as a Practice of Liberation

Aala Ali
2018 / 12 / 31

The word social media and liberation always remind me with Arab spring revelations, how the young men and women utilized social media as effective means to motivate people and spread information. The Arab spring became a millstone in the history of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

Iraqis joined the Arab revolutionary wave of demonstrations that swept the region in January 2012. Anbar province in south west of Iraq was one of the areas that led peaceful demonstrations. Social media has a significant impact in shaping the daily life of Anbari youth. They use it as a tool for developing their political, social, and cultural networks, but social media role was seemingly less constructive as itís only focused on the negative side of the problem, especially the terrorist groupsí social media.

If I compare Anbar province experience of using the social media in their uprising with the Egypt experience, and why social media failed to support Anbar protests and had no significant role in the success and continuation of the demonstrations. I believe the main reason was misuse of this tool by youth of Anbar and lack of professional expertise to understand the main objectives and goal of this tool.

Going back to the Arab spring there is a huge difference in the contexts of each country, when we compare between Bahrain[Distant Witness book-Bahrain] and Iraq protests. For instance, Zainab Al-Khawaja a Bahraini human rights activist and active participant in Bahrain uprising could stand against Bahrain police and government she refuse their orders and her online photos in the sit-in sights affected the government supporters to response back and justify the government reactions, its true she and her family paid the price. But my question to my Iraqi friends what you will expect to happen for an Iraqi women if she act like Zainab?

I believe now social media can be complementary part to the education system, especially in countries such as Iraq including Kurdistan region, because education system struggling to recover.

The education system is accounted as studentís enemy[The pedagogy of oppressed book], I totally agree with the writer of the pedagogy of oppressed book when he says (the young perceive that their rights to say their own word has been stolen from them) this is totally applies to our students and youth conditions as well, and their current alternative is the social media.

Furthermore, Social media needs to be considered in the graduate programs of the Iraqi and Kurdistan universities and can be linked to the peacebuilding studies as one of the active tools for societal transformation.

Social media has a significant role in promoting women rights in Iraq and Kurdistan Region. Everyday tens of gender based violence cases publish by women rights activists in Facebook pages, personal blogs and tweeter. In addition to online petitions to collect signatures against specific GBV cases for public advocacy.

However, there are many disadvantage of using social media and mainly I focus on incidents of profile and accounts being hacked and how this affect life of individuals specially women in our conservative society this is always our concern specially when we use the social media for promoting women rights issue.

Why Social media is different than regular media? Paolo Gerbaudo highlight this issue clearly in his book (Tweets and the Streets), Social Media brings people from different backgrounds together. Progressive, conservative, believers, non-believer, people with different ideologies and political background all can be connected through social media, because they share same goal which is build a better society together[Tweets and Streets book].




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