The new scribes


The protesters in Cairo said that their fingers got tired from tweeting. They should be thankful that Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet. Think of the scribes, who had to copy down tons of papyrus in ancient Egypt. For now, young people just want to celebrate:” let’s tweet again”.

They tried back-up node and alternate routing when the internet was cut off. Instead of tanks, young people used tweets. We have come a long way, from the fax of Tiananmen Square to facebook of Tahrir Square, from Kent State to Cairo. Like in “the Network”, in which people were enticed to open their windows, stick their heads out and shout “I am mad like Hell’, Egyptian youth just staged a three-week long Berkeley-style sit-in, a 4-decade lag.

This time, along with social media, we notice  Al-Jazeera in English along side with BBC World News (CNN got their chance during the Gulf War). Instead of entrenching just from South-South information flow (to Indonesia from the ME),  Al-Jazeera moves El Norte to muscle in to BBC and CNN turfs. From Moses’ tablets to today’s tweets, we can choose who is going to be our scribe i.e. one who mediates reality for us. We can we handle the Truth (interpreted in 7 billion ways). Like a book’s title, “It’s Hot, Flat and Crowded”, it’s up to us to  have a say in our shared tomorrow.

I am glad to see young people cleaning up the streets of Cairo. In one young man’s words ” Egypt will be giving help to other countries” (after it received help during this transitional period.) I heard pride in his voice, rightfully so. It’s time for us to update the image of Egypt in our head, one which goes beyond the Pyramid to the Parliament. Get ready for a 21st century narrative from Egypt. One which decidedly goes beyond the tombs to reach  the stars. The Egyptian Dream begins now.

Al-Jazeera studios in Qatar

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