Monday, February 21, 2011


Honestly I don’t know whether to be amused or afraid. The Internet, we know, is at the centre of the average person’s universe (more so the younger they are.) The Internet, we know, is the harbinger of the downfall of the printed newspaper. The Internet, we are told, is crippling the entertainment industry by way of illegal downloads. And now, finally (Amazingly? Ridiculously? Terrifyingly?), the Internet is toppling Governments. But not in the manner I would have imagined.
I would have assumed that Wikileaks, with its back catalogue of classified information, its doomsday file, and its secret underground bunker (seriously! It’s where they keep their servers!), would be the righteous strong arm of the Internet, smashing corrupt, lying governments that had kept dirty, dirty secrets from the world and their own citizens for so very long. Hell, I guess even those same Governments are thinking along the same lines, judging by Julian Assange’s current legal trouble. But no, threatening as it appears, menacing as its agenda is, Wikileaks has been beaten to the punch as far as regime-toppling goes.

By Facebook.

Or at least, that’s what Egypt’s shiny new military junta thinks. Which is why they now have their own Facebook page. Seriously. As the Telegraph reports, the page has been created at the behest of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and dedicated “to the sons and youths of Egypt who ignited the January 25th Revolution and to its martyrs.” The Egyptian military, and by extension the Council, are extremely popular in Egypt for their sufferance of the protests (All the blame at civil servant level having been shifted to the nasty oppressive police). Given the events of January in Egypt, and, in fairness, the tangible role of social media sites in providing a means to co-ordinate protest, (Hell, Mubarak turned off the damned Internet in the entire country! He certainly seemed to think it was a threat.) , one can begin to understand the Council’s reasoning behind this move.
But let’s just play a game here for a minute. We’ll call it “Juxtaposition”. In this game we’re going to juxtapose two words. Let’s go with “Facebook”, and… oh, how about “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces”?  Now can you honestly say that that isn’t so weird as to be unsettling? Can you imagine getting a friend request from that page? “Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi (Head of the aforementioned Council) wants to be friends!” Do you accept? What if you don’t accept? Then you’ve just rejected the Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces! You know there will be backlash. You might end up joining the hundreds of people Human Rights groups claim are still ‘missing’ in the wake of the uprising. Amnesty International claim the military is torturing (with whips and electric shocks) those they have detained.
That explains why you got that friend request. Field Marshal Tantawi saw those photos you were tagged in from that S&M party. Oh Balls!

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