Egypt-checked…… Tunisia-checked…… North/Southern Sudan-check…. Morocco-Check…. Libya-checking……
I refuse to call them “Middle Eastern” as so many pundits have carelessly termed them. They are North Africans. Regardless, all these countries are undergoing major political reforms.And these are exciting times to witness and be part of the “RE-constitution-alization” of nations. However I am not here to write history, but to lend a thought as to why now? Why are we undergoing this cascade of revolutions.
Let me just affirm that I strongly doubt that a specific event triggered this recent waves of change. Depending on the school of thought one ascribes to, it may vary. But one thing is sure, and that there is a prophetic component to the president of the United States quote that is echoing, and rather loudly, I shall add.
“Change Has Come… We are who we have been waiting for” – President Obama
Perhaps in conferring upon the President such prestigious award, the Nobel academy were granted the divine gift of catching a glimpse of the future.
As America witnesses the long awaited, though unexpected, arrival of a black president in the white house, Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali are deposed. The phrase “Out with the Old, In with the New” couldn’t get a better and more literate illustration than this.
But I have a point to make here. These exciting times for North Africa with such defining moments in Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia, Morrocco are a taste of something much larger and if enough data is gathered and understood properly could erect a model for why other nations are yet to follow suit… What do I mean?
There was a time in history when “fire” brought people together. Cold weathers caused freezing bodies to gather around a central fire to socialize. What fire accomplished then, the internet is accomplishing now, but in this case with ideas, at a much faster rate. And to blatantly state it like Matt Ridley: “Ideas are having sex”, and they are procreating octuplets at once . More precisely, what the internet has been able to do is gigantic. It is proving that the imaginary line that divides countries only divides countries and not people.
So effectively what is the big picture? Everyone has at least two “citizenships”: one national and one global. This duality, in some countries more than others has created an immiscible reality that tends to juxtapose on a daily basis: the nationalism as a libyan/egyptian/moroccan/tunisian vs the internationalism as in who I ought to be as a north African or global citizen or just simply a human being? Thus human rights has been in the forefront of these revolutions.
There is a strong desire for a more homogeneous interface between a)nationalistic long-held ideologies of a given country and b) globalizing citizenship (this would be the topic of another post that touches on the westernization of the world- because really, who sets the standard?). In some countries: i.e. china, lybia…etc that interface has been carefully controlled by the authorities that rule them…
…and bingo- recent events have gone as far as restricting the “internet” access, these leaders recognize that there is some”thing” irreversibly powerful about allowing “ideas to have sex” and such “thing” is common to all humanity.
Now what would this look like in simple mathematics?
, where x is an index of the free and uncensured internet Access. This number can be easily measured for each country, or within a country for each state.province or City.
y is the “change parameter”, also easily quantifiable if we set a grading system for change i.e.
With these two parameters: I predict every country’s data would follow a linear relationship.
Then if you think a bit more about it, the slope m is a measure of our moral compass. This number would be a measure of the human disposition to act upon “a thing” to change it. It has important repercussions, #Imjustsaying for marketing, political, psychology.
Finally b would be a constant (obviously) encompassing all other factors. Perhaps from it, we could deduct very valuable imformation: for example it would enable us to probe for example how much faster would the bolshevik revolution of 1917 or even further back that of 1776 in America took place had they had internet. Or perhaps even something more qualitative: could the middle passage have been inhibited or futher fueled with the advent of the internet. effect of a change occuring as in we can go back in time and see how fast (m)
So how do we catalyze change? Start by increasing free internet access would tremendously lower that energy barrier.
While we’re here… #Didyouknow ….One of the founding fathers of the internets is nigerian. His name is Philip Emeagwali
ok ok ok i have to admit, i had waaaaaay too much fun writing this… But at least you get to catch a glimpse of what i like to do in my free time (THINK). For the studies, I will defer it to my friend Charlotte Marshall, Doctoral Candidate in Social Psych to see if she’d be interested for research. This would be a defining study par-excellence.