The internet, and especially social media, have been galvanising political action and allowing dissenters in dictatorial regimes to connect with each other in ways that were never before possible. However, one unfortunate by-product of the absolute “anything goes” forum that is the internet is that those who would preach hate and violence now have a new place in which to do so anonymously and more effectively. For instance, this post on Wednesday exposed some rather confronting antisemitism on Youtube coming out of the London riots.
On Twitter, Egyptians followed the protests, using a derogatory hash tag that makes funny analogies [Ar] between the events the took place during the Egyptian revolution, and imaginary similar events using names of Israeli officials and mock characters instead. However the name of the hashtag #ThawretWeladElKalb, which literally translates to “Sons of Dogs Revolution,” sparked lot of debate on both sides.
As the post goes on to note, the whole debate sparked by this hashtag concerns the propriety of the terminology – a traditional Arab insult particularly applied to Jews in recent decades. Global Voices quotes one Kuwaiti blogger who explains how the Arab education system is designed to foment hatred of Jews.
I do not hate Israelis (although the Arab educational system raises you up to hate Jews automatically, and to feel superior towards others in general) but I definitely oppose and hate the crimes done by the state of Israel, just the way I do with our Arab dictatorships (keeping in my mind that Israel has been acting way more merciful with its own citizens, unlike our almighty police-state regimes). On the other hand, I also have the same feelings towards Arab suicide bombers who kill people in a night club or a school bus. I believe killing a human cannot be justified what so ever, regardless of the ideology, identity, or religion of the victim and the victimizer.
That such voices have a space to be heard is again a reflection of the fact that the internet can aid moderates as well as extremists. As Western society has shown, the best weapon against extremism is vibrant debate through freedom of expression. The growing freedom of people like Kareem to speak out is perhaps the most effective hope for eventually extinguishing the hatred that pervades so much of the Middle East.