Monday, July 27, 2009


With the help of the accompanying Concept Map, the objective of this blog post is to connect and explore through the connection, how 2 apparently isolated trains of events might after all be closely related together.

The first such series of events is concerned with Middle East politics and reported in a (July 23, 2009) New York Times article:
Seven months after Israel started a fierce three-week military campaign here to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through cultural initiatives and public relations.
"The aim," the article continued, "is to build what leaders here call a 'culture of resistance,' the topic of a recent two-day conference." This is how the article traced the change in tactics:
“Armed resistance is still important and legitimate, but we have a new emphasis on cultural resistance,” noted Ayman Taha, a Hamas leader and former fighter. “The current situation required a stoppage of rockets. After the war, the fighters needed a break and the people needed a break.”

Mr. Taha and others say that the military has replaced field commanders and restructured itself as it learns lessons from the war. The decision to suspend the use of the short-range Qassam rockets that for years have flown into Israel, often dozens a day, has been partly the result of popular pressure. Increasingly, people here are questioning the value of the rockets, not because they hit civilians but because they are seen as relatively ineffective.

“What did the rockets do for us? Nothing,” Mona Abdelaziz, a 36-year-old lawyer, said in a typical street interview here....
As a result of this shift in strategy, in June this year it is reported that "a total of two rockets were fired from Gaza, according to the Israeli military, one of the lowest monthly tallies since the firing began in 2002."

I'm not readily convinced that the prime reason behind such drastic reduction in rocket shelling was a new awareness that it has accomplished nothing. Since when has such popular pressure been built up that rockets "are seen as relatively ineffective"!? This surprise development in Middle East politics begs an obvious question: Why has public opinions, at home and abroad, suddenly gained such prominence in a struggle that has all along been fiercely determined in the battlefield by the warring parties? Other dynamic force(s) must be also at work.

As I pondered upon these questions, it became apparent to me that changes that are happening concurrently today in what is often referred to as the Information Revolution is a likely candidate capable of inducing such a strategic shift, which leads me to the second category of information that I'd like to bring into the discussion.

In the accompanying Concept Map, a selected sources of materials (mainly videos) are connected together, with a view to gaining an understanding of (i) the Web 2.0 phenomenon, and (ii) the amazing developments of Twitter as a Web 2.0 manifestation.

I'll leave it to the readers to figure out how these factors might have generated a new dynamic that is capable of empowering popular opinions to play a significant part in world politics.

1 comment:

  1. The positive thinking is that the Twitter wave could gather people with conscientious minds to do good things together e.g. fighting global warming. The negative thinking is that aggregate real-time responses to a bad news generated by human fears or intentions could be disastrous. And the law is always too slow to deal with the bad but smart guys who can make use of a new technology quicker than the good guys.