Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Tag: #jan25 (page 1 of 2)

Carlos Latuff’s Talk at 1º Encontro Mundial de Blogueiros (Brazil)

Latuff's depiction of the martyr Khaled Said

Brazilian activist cartoonist Carlos Latuff, whose work has been regularly featured on Global Voices, particularly throughout the ‘Arab Spring,’ starts the Brazilian panel thanking his country for “bringing Latin America here,” stating that Brazil tends to turn its back on the rest of Latin America.

“In the Arab Spring,” says Latuff, “I’ve used Twitter heavily to communicate with people in Egypt. It was great getting to know [fellow conference attendee Ahmed Bahgat]. Most people in Brazil don’t even know what SCAF [Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces] is.” Latuff then thanks Bahgat for attending, in English.

One of Latuff's inspirational cartoons

“Twitter, just like Facebook, is an instrument or a tool, just like the Internet is just a tool, just like a Molotov cocktail or a mobile phone is a tool – and people use the Internet to accomplish their goals. In 1996, I was sending drawings by fax to Mexico, in 1999 I was in Palestine, which was my defining experience; from then until today, I’ve worked mostly on Palestine. And with the advent of Twitter, something incredible happened: When the protests in Tunisia exploded and when Ben Ali was taken out of office, the people there asked for drawings, but Ben Ali had already fallen.”

One cartoon depicts Mubarak being shot down by lightning

“People in Palestine contacted me before the protests in Egypt and requested I draw cartoons for them. I was afraid that the Egyptian authorities were going to kill them all. But on the 25th, protests began, and the cartoons I had drawn were often printed and shared during protests. It gave me the confidence that I was producing artwork that has relevance for people. This is what leaves me the happiest as an artist.”

“People say I’m an activist and not a cartoonist, as if those things couldn’t come together,” says Latuff. “I don’t care about being promoted as an artist – even if people removed my name, I’d still be happy. I’m not interested in money; anyone can reproduce my cartoons.”

“I have 50,000 Twitter followers, and many of them are from Egypt. No one knows me in Brazil; it’s amazing how many Egyptian press interviews I’ve done,” says the cartoonist. “To me, this is amazing.”

Note: Latuff’s talk simultaneously translated from Portuguese, and thus quotes are imperfect.

#Hashtagging Real Life

Ever since my good friend Zeynep Tufekci brought me a revolutionary t-shirt from Egypt, I’ve been fascinated by the popularization of hashtags outside of Twitter. And by outside, I don’t mean on blogs, Facebook, and Flickr, where they’re increasingly appearing, but offline. T-shirts, posters, graffiti, and protest signs all make use of hashtag symbolism; rather than long slogans (or in most cases, in addition to), we’ve cut down our symbols into bite-sized pieces, for better or worse. Even the Obama campaign has a hashtag-themed fundraising t-shirt. Here are just a few samplings (photos are from around the blogosphere):

A solidarity march for Morocco's #feb20 or #fev20 movement in Boston

A photo of a protest sign (presumably) taken in Egypt

An Occupy Wall Street protester (from the Boston Globe)

A Libya t-shirt utilizes Feb 17, popularized by the hashtag

This tattoo apparently belongs to @ClinicEscort

Photo of #jan25 T-shirts by 0oshi on Flickr

Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff has popularized hashtag imagery in his art

Sami Ben Gharbia wears a SidiBouzid t-shirt on Al Jazeera

From a Paris protest in January, by kaïs miled on Flickr

Anti-SCAF street art in Cairo, photographed by Hossam Hamalawy

If you have any other excellent examples (particularly from Syria), do send them my way.

re:publica 11: noha atef on egyptian social media stories

Noha Atef, the Egyptian blogger behind tortureinegypt.net is giving a talk at re:publica 11 on “Egyptian social media stories” to answer questions about how Egyptians have used social media and how, overnight it seems, Egyptians managed to mobilize on social networks to assist in the revolution.

“The answer to the question: ‘Were Egyptians using social media prior to January 25?’ is yes” says Noha, sharing figures about how many Internet users exist in Egypt (21,000,000 subscriptions, 4.5 million Facebook users, according to Noha’s presentation; but only 26,800 Twitter users). She says that Egyptians have begun looking to the Internet as some sort of “magical genie” that could answer their demands. She says: “that’s wrong.”

How Egyptians Used Social Media Before the Revolution

Noha explains that the Internet has been around for awhile, and people have been using it for entertainment, information, and much more. She also notes that Egypt has a fairly high illiteracy rate. “Still,” says Noha, “Egyptians have been using new media. They film, take photographs, of protests and celebrations. If they know you’re a blogger, they’ll ask you to post their photo online.”

She shows the famous Al Ahram photoshopped image of Mubarak leading the leaders at a peace process meeting last year, and explains how bloggers blew the story out of the water by tweeting, retweeting, and photoshopping, then blogging the image again and again, and how that created a scandal.

Did the Use of Social Media Pave the Way to Revolution?

Noha’s initial answer to the question is “yes.” She says that social media, and traditional media, shape the views of the public, and since the public made the revolution happen, then of course media and social media influenced that.

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