Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Nothing is secret

Earlier this week, I heard about this incident via Queen Rania's Twitter feed. Basically, someone took a video of a teacher belittling a child in a Jordanian classroom and shared it via social media. It got around to Queen Rania herself on Twitter, who personally investigated and had the teacher removed. A similar incident of teachers intimidating children happened in Syria late last year and gained publicity among the people via Facebook. The government took notice and took action against the misbehaving teachers, which is almost funny because Facebook is banned in Syria.

I mentioned to Jeremy that the time where governments and authority figures could hide their actions on a large scale seems to be over. There are too many people with cell phone video cameras and once you create a hashtag or Facebook group, a video can be all over the place in a matter of minutes.

The very next day saw the 25 January protests start up in Cairo and proved me absolutely right. It's amazing - anybody who wants to can go to YouTube or Facebook or Twitter and see videos of what is happening, sometimes only minutes after it takes place.

At least until the government shuts down the internet en masse, that is, which is apparently happening in parts of Egypt now.

In the meantime, watch this video to get a sense of the power of YouTube in spreading the word about the protests in Egypt. It's a little romanticized and of course it only shows one view of one side of the story, but it demonstrates perfectly the new reality that almost nothing can be kept secret from the world anymore.

And for perspective, the bulk of the protests in Cairo are happening at Midan Tahrir, right outside the Circumlocution Office. That public square is home to a patch of grass where we took the girls to play a few times. When we were there, it looked like this:

Now it looks like this (source):

Flashback Friday: Demonstrations in Damascus

The new normal