Check out George Ciccariello-Maher’s new article:
The Counter-Revolution Will Not be Tweeted
The recent street rebellions against the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran were touted by many as the first baptism-by-fire of Twitter as a political tool. Celebratory articles abounded for a brief time, before such foolish dreams came crashing back to earth under the weight of a metric ton of misinformation, unsubstantiated rumor, and idle gossip.
…And the Tweeters Fell Silent
Any Iranian foolish to put her hopes in this most fickle of constituencies that is the Tweeter must have begun to doubt the wisdom of such an approach as short attention spans inevitably set in and, most devastatingly of all, the death of Michael Jackson stole the headlines. Ahmadinejad couldn’t have planned it better if he had offed MJ himself (in cahoots, perhaps, with South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the other clear beneficiary of Jackson’s untimely demise). Indeed, the Iranian dissidents were the biggest losers of the day, suffering an even worse fate than Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Billy Mays, condemned to historical oblivion by sheer bad timing. But to this list of those suffering from the technophiles’ abandonment of their brief flirtation with the political, we must now add Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, legitimately elected president of Honduras, recently deposed in a barefaced military coup from the far right.
Zelaya, a former centrist who has recently made leftward moves, raised the ire of the entrenched Honduran oligarchy by, among other things, joining the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a radical counterpoint to U.S.-promoted free trade agreements. His overthrow has been followed by a press blackout, military curfew, and repression in the streets, as hundreds of thousands have rallied to the cause of their former leader, only to meet an iron heel reminiscent of Honduran military regimes of the past (dodging bullets in the street, as the magnificent BoRev puts it, “is sort of like Twittering, for poor people”). There have been mass arrests, injuries, and deaths, but some exceptions notwithstanding, these Hondurans are nevertheless, to quote one observer, “Protesters We Don’t Tweet About.”