Some of the participants pose for a photo during the opening of the third Arab Bloggers Conference in Tunis [EPA]
TUNIS, Tunisia – New forms of activism that have evolved in the Arab world in 2011 are being picked up by activists in the West, speakers at the Third Arab Bloggers’ Meeting have affirmed.
The meeting is the first since the uprisings began, and brings some of the most prominent bloggers in the region together for a three-day gathering.
Previous meetings were held in Lebanon. This year, the event was brought to Tunisia, the country where the spree of uprisings began.
Ten months on, as Tunisia heads to an election that is set to rewrite the rules of its political system, protest movements are blazing far beyond the region.
The innovative use of technologies and methods of dissent that had been used so effectively by Tunisian and Egyptian protesters, in particular, were being picked up in Europe and the US, according to Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina.
The forms of civic activism emerging in the region were influencing protesters in other parts of the world, becoming a model for Western countries where citizens had seen an erosion of democracy in recent years, she said.
The parallels between the Tahrir Square protests and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the US were clear.
“This is really a very hopeful time in history,” she said. (…)
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