Palestine New Media Revolt
The 21st century witnessed one of the most important social and political developments in the fields of communication and media. Some define new media as “A generic term for the many different forms of electronic communication that are made possible through the use of computer technology. The term is in relation to “old” media forms, such as print newspapers and magazines, that are static representations of text and graphics.”
It’s characterized by the massive interest of youth in it which can be easily noticed. New media play a vital role in mobilizing for protests all over the Arab World, in what is known as the ‘Arab Spring’. Activists tweet about their non-violent struggle against tyranny and the violent suppression of regimes and their journey to social justice. It was first used in Tunisia, Egypt, the Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. The political and social movements expanded to other western countries. The Occupy Movement in the U.S is an example. The use of social media has become vivid and vibrant in these movements as well.
Palestine, which is a major inspiration for revolutions in the Arab World, joined this new form of struggle. Hundreds of activists based in Palestine and Diaspora use social media to expose Israel’s violations of human rights in the occupied PalestinianTerritories. Mainly youth activists spend hours tweeting about Jerusalem, settlements, Gaza’s siege, crisis, refugees, water and electricity shortage, setters attacks, weekly protests, land confiscation, prisoners, and their dream of independence and justice.
Palestinian blogger and social media activist Noor El-Borno from Gaza believes that “People want to find ways that are daily accessed. Social Media like facebook, twitter and blogs are very famous and almost everyone uses them.”
“They are so easily used and work instantly. One just writes what he/she wants and post it. It doesn’t cost time nor money,” she adds.
Lately, dozens of Palestinian and Pro-Palestinian activists launched campaigns on twitter in an attempt to shed light on the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers. The tweets reflect massive support for Palestinian prisoners. The hashtags include#75DaysVsApartheid
#DecolonoizeJerusalem #JihadCheckenBrigade. These hashtags, handling different topics related to Palestine and human rights, trended worldwide and were used as tools of pressure against Israel.
The realization of the effectiveness of new media and mobilizing more people to ‘tweet and facebook’ for Palestine can be beneficial. Efforts need to be organized to make more use of this new yet effective tool to raise awareness about the ongoing suffering of Palestinians.
Future battles between the occupied Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation will be on Facebook and twitter. Building a network of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian tweeps is essential to make any trend a success. Including larger numbers of Palestinians in this battle is a first step to engage all freedom fighters in the struggle for justice and equality in Palestine. Social media can provide Palestinians with an effective weapon to expose Israel’s crimes to the world.