01 March 2011

Revolution extended

Dear readers,

It is a weakness of traditional media and particularly TV stations to select and filter information in a way which will hold in a traditional 25 minutes news bulletin. Unfortunately, this means that most channels and even newspapers will simply let some important pieces fall from the prime time news. This get even worse when there is abundance of events. No time was a better example of this than the last few weeks.

All over the media, we heard about Tunisia first, then the Egyptian Revolution, then the Libyan one, and so on. But this gave us, viewers, an illusion of succession of one crisis following the other. Expressions such as "domino effect" (an old Cold War word) only served to reinforce this feeling. Worse, it created an effect of the type "tree hiding the forest". Indeed, while these countries were making the front pages and prime-time news, several other were doing just the same in complete indifference.

Some Africans in Ivory Coast rightfully took umbrage, and tweeted a CNN journalist until he relented. But beyond the odd and fun news like this (although how fun is it when dozens of people are slaughtered in the mean time?), the fact is that we keep ignoring the forest of unrest on several continents. To avoid this, I have tried to gather a simple list of them. I'll try to update it as it goes. Let's call this the "Extended Revolutions", in no particular order.
  • Tunisia (after all, they were the spark in the powder keg).
  • Ivory Coast (although chronologically before Tunisia, it did not have the same international effect)
  • Egypt
  • Gabon
  • Cameroon
  • Iran
  • Lebanon
  • Armenia
  • China (although it took the form of a weird joke)
  • Azerbaijan
  • Libya
  • Algeria
  • Morocco
  • Jordan
  • Yemen
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • Mauritania
  • Djibouti
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iraq
  • Angola (unsure of this one)
Various other countries shut down all communications very brutally after it began clear that the movement was exporting itself. So it might be very difficult to be sure of the actual extent of the rebellion. Don't hesitate to send me a message if I am missing or misrepresenting any of these.

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