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Fire With Fire Essay

816 words - 3 pages

They once required a public square, a soapbox, and a daring speaker willing to stand upon it. Now some argue that a modern revolution merely requires an internet service provider, an office chair, and a savvy blogger—and perhaps the occasional self-immolation. However, while the latest technology can quickly generate the critical mass necessary for viable social change, it would be an oversimplification to assign it too much credit; that would be analogous to praising the tool and not the mechanic for fixing a flat tire. No doubt, social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were instrumental in the recent removal of Hosni Mubarak, but these technologies were merely facilitators. For Egypt, however, these technological facilitators were neither necessary nor sufficient for the success of the revolution—they simply emboldened the winds of change which brought Jasmine across the Egypt’s western border. While the means for distributing the seeds of revolution have certainly changed, the soils of mass discontent—the fundamental necessity—remain consistent through the ages.
In “The Causes of Internal Conflict,” Brown lays out the necessary conditions for domestic instability. Brown classifies the four underlying factors (the “permissive conditions” ) as structural, political, socioeconomic or cultural/perceptual. With respect to the revolution in Egypt, socioeconomic and political factors provided the climate for mass unrest. The economic situation in Egypt illustrates a Marxist class struggle, where those in power “oppress and exploit the less powerful by denying them their fair share of the surplus they create.” With rising food prices, decreases in tourism revenues, and over 10 million Egyptians living on less than $1 a day , few would need a Twitter feed to realize their personal economic woes or the disparity inherent in Mubarak’s system.
Adding to the economic situation was a demographic condition that placed Egypt on the precipice of revolution. With 60% or more of the population under the age of 30, domestic conflict was almost statistically assured. Had Egypt had a much more top heavy population, with respect to age, it is doubtful that a revolution would have occurred. After all, it is not often that the elderly take up arms, or—in Egypt’s case—bricks. Adding to the economic problems, Mubarak’s regime left much of the population disenfranchised. His was a ruling party that was arrogant, nepotistic, and corrupting... [allowing] other parties to exist provided...

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