Week 14

The Abdo piece looks at American support during the attempted Iranian revolution in 2009.  Abdo points out that America did not back this revolution and, “In the end, the state cracked down, the protestors lost momentum, and the movement failed.” This started to change with Egypt. The success that Iranians saw during the Egyptian revolution gave them hope, especially seeing that U.S. President Barack Obama backed the Egyptian cause. Abdo points out the grievances that Iranians are feeling, like Anderson did as see assessed the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.  Iran is actually looking to the international community to draw attention to the grievances they are feeling, which are human rights violations. As we have discussed in class, these grievances have been around for a long time. They did not spark this revolution. However, the recent success in Egypt spurring increased perceived opportunities among Iranians. This is similar to what happened in Egypt, has Egyptians gained hope after watched Tunisia’s successful revolution.

Cohn writes about the fate of America.gov. It was recently decided that the digital project that was used to promote democracy abroad was going to be removed and that the funds would be reallocated to social media projects. Cohn write that,
The role of social media in recent revolts in Egypt “validated” the shift in strategy, following a major review that took place from September to January of this year.” This finding is in contrast to many of the recent findings we just discussed.  For example, Anderson pointed out that social media did not really cause these revolutions. She argues that the grievances that have been around for a long time cause these revolutions and that social media had nothing to do with spurring these revolutions. The spread of information is also important to talk about, because it was found that people in Egypt got their information from traditional sources and not social media (Wilson and Dunn).

The State Department said that they are doing this to increase two way conversation between American and people in other countries. What do you think Wilson and Dunn would have to say about this? They argued that information did not flow through social media sites from protestor to protestor. But would this be a good idea to get news out of the country? What are the positives and the negatives of this decision?

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