Shimon Peres & Benjamin Netanyahu, in two different occasions, talked about the role of the Internet in the recent events throughout the Middle East. Peres at a Chatham House Conference: Sixty Years of British-Israeli Diplomatic Relations (30 March 2011), and Netanyahu in a recent YouTube interview (31 March 2011).
Both messages carry the same principles.
It's actually a revolt without organizers. Nobody knows who organized it. It arrived from an unknown combination of sentiments and knowledge introduced to the younger generation by modern communication, the internet, smartphones, Facebook. For the first time, young people in the Arab world could have seen with their own eyes the ugly face of dictatorship, of corruption, of want. And they could have compared their lot with the lot of other young people in the world. And ask themselves why they're not here. And actually, it is really a revolt, unorganized, spontaneous, against autocracy, against oppression, against starvation, against discrimination.
What is common in this entire region, the reason you have this extraordinary turbulence, this earthquake from Pakistan to Morocco, is because the Arab people, and the Iranians there and others, basically had the 20th century skip them by, and now 21st century technology like the internet and television, is telling them what they missed out on, and so they are rebelling.
It is clear that both the President and Prime Minister of Israel believe that people in the Middle East have been able to explore, educate themselves and organize through the Internet.
In a recent Blog Post "Papandreou talks about the role of Social Media in Government", I pointed out how the Greek Prime Minister, talking to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Athens, referenced that:
We live in a new age, an age of transparency, whether is the twitter or the facebook, or the 24 hour Blogging, and we should be able to use this new technology, this new Social Media, for greater governance, for greater participation of our citizens, for greater accountability and hopefully for inovations in governance.
Politicians clearly acknowledge how the internet is shaping politics. In "The Internet and Social Media in #Egypt, how It really matters" I wrote that: Of course people didn't go out to the streets because of facebook or twitter, facebook and twitter, I mean the Internet. gave people the opportunity to search, read, educate themselves, organize and communicate their message across.
In is clear that the internet played a very distinctive role in the recent events in the Middle East. Definitely a trend to follow in discovering and analyzing upcoming Social phenomena.