There was a time when power came as a chariot. There was time when power came as a nuclear device. In my life time it came as stealth bombers, napalm and drones. Could it be that in the generation now following me that power comes as … the internet?
The twevolution sweeping Arabia which as I’ve written actually first matured further south is succeeding because of the masterful manipulation of information by revolutionaries who are willing to sacrifice themselves to affect significant change, which so far means booting out the dictator.
Read the fascinating blog I posted Tuesday about the software developed in Kenya that is the foundation of the information manipulation in the current twevolution.
Armaments were insignificant in the outcome of the Tunisian and Egyptian twevolution. The regimes were changed with really very little loss of lives and little destruction of property. How’s this possible?
In both cases, because the trustees of the armaments — the soldiers — who absolutely could have caused a huge loss of life and lots of destruction refused to shoot. When challenged by the unarmed masses in such numbers, they backed down.
Were the protesters then less committed? Were their ideas less compelling?
No, there just weren’t enough of them, and the growth in their support happened too slowly. The regimes in power were capable of faster reactions than the protesters. Regime weapons appeared on the scene faster than the people.
Today, that’s not the case. The crowds appear out of nowhere, it seems, although actually they are carefully organized through the internet and mobile phones. By the time they appear, they have virtually won the battle. They outperform at the starting line.
They look, from the beginning, like they are the winners.
That’s the key to mass protest. Defenseless, the only counter to hard weaponry is the sheer volume of numbers. And that’s what the IT savvy in this twevolutionary age can do.
In Libya the difference is that those fighting the people are mostly mercenaries being paid a king’s ransom. The protest has become a fight and it will likely get bloodier. But when it stops, the outcome will be the same as in Egypt and Tunisia.
You see, I believe that people are basically good. And that their inherent desires are communal and compassionate. And that when these inherent desires are repressed, they don’t just go away. They ferment and ultimately bubble out as an outburst.
As they have often in the past, but too often then crushed to smithereens. But not today, perhaps never again. The internet is the manifestation of hundreds of thousands, millions, of individual wills. Armies are made of people, and soldiers know when they’re outnumbered.
It doesn’t matter that they may outgun the defenseless. When soldiers know they are in the minority, they defer and defect.
The problem in the past has been the masses have been unable to organize effectively enough to manifest as the majority, even though they might have been.
The Nazis came to power by default, not political success. The apathy of the non-Jew Germans was cultivated by aggressive information manipulation as it existed then by the Nazis. The organizational immaturity of the Jewish populations and their sympathizers couldn’t confront the more mature organization of the Nazis. And this deficiency was reenforced by similiar inefficiencies and incapacities of greater Europe. The situation was ripe for evil to prevail.
It wouldn’t happen today, in today’s internet world, where the free and unfiltered flow of information reflects the basic good of the people faster than any organized regime can stunt it.
See why China tries to censure the internet? Even that is going to fail.
Now what comes next is as frighteningly unknown as it’s going to be exciting to behold.