Turkey has approached a very crucial turning point in its dealings with its Kurdish citizens. Kurds made gains in the 2009 local elections, but many worry that the AKP is trying to destroy them politically.
Berlin reporter Jabeen Bhatti and I created a project on the crowd-sourcing platform
Kickstarter to help fund a trip to Tunisia to go to ground, talking to people and figuring out what is really going on, then telling those stories.
Just like the Internet lowers transaction costs in the economy leading to networked models of innovation and wealth creation, one effect of the digital revolution on society is to lower the transaction costs of dissent and insurrection.
In the end, what determines the fate of a society is very mysterious -- the movement of collective consciousness. No one can predict when the collective will decides to change, yet once it does, its power is always unstoppable.
Malcolm Gladwell is going further out on a creaky limb. His reading of the role of social media in Tunisia and Egypt actually seems to lead to conclusions that I think he would acknowledge are extremely unlikely.
We are hypocrites. We cheer on the brave Tunisians and Egyptians as they assert the revolutionary power of the street. Hands off, we cry. Let them do it their way. We gave no such license to the Iraqis or Afghans.
No image frightens the average American more than the Arab street portrayed on TV -- an angry mob ready to hate us without provocation. But behind those outraged young men lie real grievances that run very deep.
We in the West and those of us laying the foundational stones for digital citizenship, have much to learn from our Arab friends. They have shown a remarkable degree of self-organization using the new technologies.
The Egyptian president has failed to bottle the public anger and has started seeing the end of his thirty year iron-fist rule. This all looks like the perfect formula for the victory of the public and a revolution that is knocking at the doors. It is not.