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Silvio Cocco

of revolutions

Revolutions spread following a sort of invisible tuning. History has been shaped by hundreds of these sort of connected events. History is the time of living people. History is our time. We commonly breathe it and sense it. But lately the revolution tempest came into an innovative form of clouds. The Cloud of million of people connected by internet and its social networks. A new powerful, invisible Cloud.


Silvio Cocco

of revolutions

Iran | june 2009

The Iranian election protests were following the iranian presidential election. The protests were named the Green Revolution. Neda Agha-Soltan was shot by a Basij and her last moments were uploaded to YouTube and was broadcast around the world. Iranian authorities blocked web sites, blocked cell phone transmissions and text messaging. The events have been nicknamed the Twitter Revolution. Social networking sites became the primary source of information, videos, and testimonials of the protests.

Greece | may 2010 The protests were sparked by plans to cut public spending and raise taxes as austerity measures. Three people were killed.

Jasmine Revolution. Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolation video sparked the revolution using the web as a communication weapon. The Tunisian revolution has also been considered the first of a series of revolutions named the Arab Spring. Internet played an revolutionary role rallying anti-government protesters.

Tunisia | december 2010

Algeria | december 2010 Simultaneous protests and riots sparked by sudden rises in staple food prices. 26 year-old Mohamed Aouichia set himself on fire. These suicides were followed by dozens more attempted or successful self-immolations across the country.

Millions of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime. Tahrir Square was the symbol of the rebellions. Liberation square.

Egypt | january 2011

Jordania | january 2011

Food inflation and salaries were a cause for resentment in the country. Demonstrators demanded the dismissal of the Prime Minister and his government.

Police clashed with demonstrators in the town centre in two universities. Demonstrators had organized on online social networking sites since the Tunisian protests. One student died in hospital from injuriesreceived in the clashes. A girl had been arrested for organizing the protest via Facebook.

Sudan | january 2011

Iran | february 2011

A man displayed a poster of one of those killed during the 2009 election protests. This protest’s beginning coincides with the 11th month of the Persian calendar. It was The Day of Rage.

Libia | february 2011

Protesters in many cities broke into housing that the government had been building. Protesters clashed with police and attacked government offices. Graffiti in Benghazi, drawing the connection to the Arab Spring. The protests would lead to an uprising and civil war. Social media played a central role in organizing the opposition.

Over 16.000 protestors took place in Sana’a in anti-government demonstrations. The Friday of No Return. Yemeni protesters wore pink ribbons to symbolise the JasmineRevolution. Pink was chosen to represent love and to signal thatthe protests would be peaceful.

Yemen | february 2011 Morocco | february 2011 The protests were organized by a group largely consisting of students. They created a Facebook page as well as a YouTube campaign video that went viral. Massive Berber activism re-emerged.

Syria | march 2011 The conflict began with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide. Protesters demanded the resignation of President. Syrian Army soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country.

The protest was inspired by Deolinda’s song Parva Que Sou, talking about precarious working conditions.

Portugal | march 2011

Movimiento 15-M, the Indignants Movement and Take the Square are a series of ongoing demonstrationswhose origin can be traced to social networks such as Real Democracy Now or Youth Without a Future. They share the rejection of the current political system, capitalism, banks and political corruption.

Spain | may 2011

Greece | may 2011 Indignant Citizens Movement, started demonstrating in major cities and began through peaceful means. Sparked by the spanish protests, these demonstrations were organized entirely using social networking sites, which earned it the nickname May of Facebook

A nude artist performanced Ocularpation: Wall Street protesting American financial institutions. Occupy Wall Street was a peaceful occupation to protest corporate influence on democracy. We are the 99%, refers to income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population.

New York | september 2011 Iran | february 2012

Internet access to Facebook, Twitter, along with email access, was blocked throughout Iran. The sites were replaced with a message reading: According to computer crime regulations, access to this Web site is denied. Armed children began being used by the Basij against the protesters.

The protests started to contest the urban development plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. OccupyGezi trended in social media. The protestors reappropriated the term çapulcu (looter) for themselves. Chapulling gave the meaning of fighting for your rights. Silent protests with just standing and stopping, spread after The Standing Man started his silent protest. Penguins were adopted as a symbol. We are all penguins.

Turkey | may 2013

Brazil | june 2013 A series of protests in SĂŁo Paulo were organized against bus and metro fare hikes. Protests known as the V for Vinegar Movement or Salad Revolt and Brazilian Spring are ongoing public demonstrations in several Brazilian cities. A popular name for the protests is Outono Brasileiro (Brazilian Autumn) in a playful reference to the Arab Spring.

Egypt | august 2013 14 millions of protesters demonstrated across Egypt both against and in support of the President. Egyptian Armed Forces issued a 48-hour ultimatum. The Egyptian military threatened to intervene if the dispute was not resolved. The head of the Egyptian Armed Forces announced that he had removed the President from power and suspended constitution. The military coup canceled any attempt of democracy.

a Cloud of Netizens

Social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raiseexpectations for the success of political uprising. People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. In Egypt the number of tweets that mentioned revolution exploded from 2,300 per day to more than 230,000 per day. The number of videos, Facebook updates and blog posts about government opposition also rose dramatically. Because Twitter users can send updates from any mobile phone, it shows the clearest evidence of where individuals engaging in democratic conversations were located during the revolutions, since many people in the region do not have standard Internet access, but most do have a cellphone. Government efforts to cut off access to Internet and cell phone service likely caused an increase in activism.

Dictators for a long time had many political enemies but they were fragmented. Opponents used social media to identify goals, build solidarity and organize demonstrations. The level of Internet censorship in the Arab Spring was unprecedented. Lack of Internet freedom was both a cause of the uprisings and a tactic employed by authorities to quell protests. Rulers and governments across the Arab world utilized the law, technology, and violence to control what was being posted on and disseminated through the Internet. The peoples of Egypt, Libya, and Syria witnessed full Internet shutdowns as their respective governments attempted to quell protests. In Tunisia, the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali hacked into and stole passwords from citizens Facebook accounts. In Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, bloggers and netizens were arrested and some are alleged to have been killed.

The developments since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2010 have raised the issue of Internet access as a human right and have revealed the type of power certain authoritarian governments retain over the people and the Internet.


of revolutions

Cloud of Revolutions