War in the Middle East Pt 1: Conflict In A Connected Age
I was struck at the technology involved in unfolding crisis in Gaza, particularly at how Twitter and Secondlife, and other sites played a role in really setting an unprecedented context where differing views could be expressed.
Back in March 2008, Dancing Ink Productions blogged about a Gaza Holocaust Memorial Museum created by Breathe Swindlehurst and Frozenfire Fride on Second Life, as a gesture to pay respect to the lives lost without choosing sides or sending a political message:
This is a statement for all the children who died in Palestine. Regardless of our political opinions, I’m sure we all agree that we don’t want those children dying. There is no place here for arguments on which country is helping or which country is harming. Lets just agree that we want to send out a unified message to the whole world through SL that we are against what is happening here, and lets show them the pics of everything happening so the world knows the disaster from our side.
Yesterday, BoingBoing reported some of the demonstrations that have been happening in the virtual world to protest the latest military operation:
I think it is so interesting to see how a discussion about politics and culture can transcend geographical borders and use an online space as a platform to express an opinions, which may be polarizing, but that are expressed in a non-violent manner. I was also intrigued to note that the protesters were mainly from Egypt, a country where expressing dissent can be harshly punished, and where SecondLife can offer a “below the radar” way to share with the world how they really feel.
Videos like these quickly made the rounds, at a speed that surpassed even the most agile news organizations. They were able to communicate the chaos of the region, the fear, shock and utter panic in a way that a traditional news organization (in my opinion) wouldn’t have been able to do in the same way. Eventually though, News Organizations did catch up and used the same digital content distribution platforms to get their pieces out on the web:
There has been a big reaction on the blogosphere as well. Global Voices has captured a sampling of reactions from all involved parties:
30 Dec – Palestine: “In Gaza it’s 9/11 every hour, every minute, everywhere”
30 Dec – Lebanon: Solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
30 Dec – Syria: More on the Israeli Massacre in Palestine
30 Dec – Syria: Myths about Israeli Attacks in Palestine
30 Dec – Israel: Consulate Holds Twitter “Press Conference”
30 Dec – Israel: Perspectives on Gaza Operation Cast Lead
29 Dec – Palestine: Bloggers in Gaza describe the fear
29 Dec – Syria: Bloggers Infuriated by Israeli Massacre in Gaza
29 Dec – Palestine: French Blogger Weighs In On Gaza
29 Dec – Israel: Israeli Bloggers React to Gaza
29 Dec – Israel: Preparing for War
28 Dec – Palestine: On the ground in Gaza
28 Dec – The Global Twittersphere Discusses Gaza
28 Dec – Syria: Outrage at the Massacre in Gaza
28 Dec – Palestine: The Bloodiest Day Since 1967
27 Dec – Arab World Reacts to Gaza Massacre
27 Dec – Palestine: Israeli Airstrikes Spur Actions from Bloggers
26 Dec – Iran: Islamist bloggers support Gaza
In Part 2, I will be talking about Twitter specifically since there was too much going on to fit into one post, and Part 3 will deal with resources that I’ve come across on the web that shed some light on what’s been happening.