Monday, March 21, 2011

Tracking Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

Today we will use social media and online news sources to track the unrest and revolutions in the Arab world. You will complete the assignments below on loose leaf paper and turn it in at the end of class. It is worth a total of 10 points.

Part I: The Revolution Spreads
We will start by watching a video from The New York Times -- Egypt's Upheaval Inspires New Protests.

  1. What locations were mentioned in the video? List at least 3. The map near the top of this post might help.
  2. In your notebook, write two questions based on the information shown in the video.
Part II: A Boy Named "Twitter"?
After massive protests forced Hosni Mubarak to resign from his position of president of Egypt, a man named his newborn baby girl "Facebook". Although the name may seem silly, it is symbolic of the role social networking played in the revolution in Egypt and the role it continues to play in other Middle Eastern countries.

We will examine a mash-up created by the Guardian newspaper (England) which shows Twitter feeds attached to a map of North Africa.
  1. What are the sources for the tweets shown on the Guardian's site?
  2. Give three examples of information given in tweets. For each tweet, include the name of the country it relates to and the source.
  3. Are the tweets a valuable source of information? Can you confirm anything they say?
Part III: A Reporter's View
In a matter of weeks, the people of Tunisia and Egypt got rid of dictators who had ruled their countries for decades. No individual, group or event was solely responsible for these historic shifts in power. Yet these six turning points helped to bring people, who have long felt abused by their governments, into the streets to revolt.

David D. Kirkpatrick, the main New York Times reporter for Egypt, created a six-part web feature called "Spreading Revolution." Examine the feature and listen to the audio. Use them to answer the questions below:
  1. How does Mr. Kirkpatrick break down and categorize the events in Tunisia and Egypt?
  2. What sparked these protests, according to Mr. Kirkpatrick?
  3. What did you learn from this feature that particularly strikes you or surprises you? Why?
  4. Examine the New York Times' feature on the countries undergoing political unrest. Why and how do you think the protests in Tunisia and Egypt spread to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa?

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