Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt: Goodbye Mubarak, Hello Information Age

Egypt doesn't have a President Hosni Mubarak any more. Mr. Mubarak decided, or was forced, to give up the position he's had for almost 30 years.

The Lemming will be back, after this from Reuters:

First Tunisia, Now Egypt

"End of Mubarak era as protests topple president"
Edition: U.S., Reuters (February 11, 2011)

"A furious wave of protest swept Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak from power Friday after 30 years of one-man rule, sparking jubilation on the streets and sending a warning to autocrats across the Arab world and beyond.

"Mubarak, the second Arab leader to be overthrown by a popular uprising in a month, handed power to the army after 18 days of relentless rallies against poverty, corruption and repression caused support from the armed forces to evaporate.

"Vice President Omar Suleiman said a military council would run the affairs of the most populous Arab nation. A free and fair presidential election has been promised for September, though some question the army's appetite for real democracy.

"Mubarak, 82, had flown with his family from Cairo to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, a ruling party official said.

"Ecstatic Egyptians celebrated a peaceful 'White Revolution' in carnival mood on the streets and people embraced in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, the main focus for protest, claiming a victory over their 'Pharaoh' they hardly dared to believe...."

'And They Lived Happily Ever After?' Unlikely

Based on the last 5,000 or so years of recorded history, the Lemming thinks that Egypt without Mubarak will not be a wonderland of peace and prosperity.

On the other hand, the Lemming thinks that swapping out an old autocrat is a big step in the right direction.

As for "military rule" replacing an autocrat: the Lemming thinks that could be a problem. So could rule by a committee of interior decorators. From the Lemming's point of view, any government that involves human beings is going to have problems.

But since that's all Egypt - or anybody else on Earth - has to work with: well, the Lemming thinks it could be worse. Seriously: rule by interior decorators?

Old-School Habits, Information-Age Social Structures

The Lemming thinks that information technology isn't the only thing that brought down Mubarak's reign. But the Lemming thinks it helped.

Or, more specifically, the Lemming thinks that our vastly-expanded ability to communicate with each other helped. Together with emerging social structures, like Twitter and other online communities.

The Lemming posted about this yesterday, in another blog:

"...I remember the 'good old days,' when most Americans relied on a few news editors, media executives, and publishers to tell them about what happened outside their circle of friends and acquaintances. Because we didn't have many other options....

"...Americans still, I think, rely on a few news editors, media executives, and publishers to tell them about what happened outside their circle of friends and acquaintances.

"But now our 'circle of friends and acquaintances' can easily include folks all over the world."

"For me, and others who don't mind finding out what someone besides old-school journalists and established authorities think: the Information Age is a great time to be alive.

"The folks who used to have more control over what 'the masses' were allowed to know? I suspect they aren't quite so thrilled...."
(Another War-on-Terror Blog (February 10, 2011))

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