The western world has a wonderfully imbecilic track record for perpetrating the double standard.
Amidst the turmoil and violence surrounding the recent “Arab Spring” occurring in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, the west (predominantly the U.S. and England) cautiously praises protestors and demonstrators who have wreaked violence in the name of what British Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as a “precious moment” for social and political reform in the Middle East.
The most integral part to organizing the various movements across the region is the use of social media to connect and organize groups of protesters.
This tool was recognized to be so important that it prompted then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to pull the plug on his country’s access to the World Wide Web to curb the flow of information between those who sought to oust him from his 30-year rule.
Cameron and other world leaders chastised the move and called for the return of social media access in the name of “free speech.”
Mubarak’s attempt was unsuccessful and he was removed from power shortly thereafter.
Shift the focus six months later and we now see large portions of East London in flames, and rioting and looting dot the landscape of the entirety of Cameron’s British Isles.
The events, occurring in response to a police shooting that took the life of an east London man, has sparked some of the worst rioting in London’s history.
In the wake of the violence, Cameron addressed British Parliament on Aug. 11 to inquire as to whether the banning of social media access to those involved in the rioting is a viable solution to curbing the violence taking place in the city as well as the country.
It’s not at all surprising that when faced with similar protests — the shoe truly has moved to the other foot for Cameron and it would be a truly vacuous proposition on his part to assume the results will differ in any way.
The outlawing of social media as a method of controlling the populace is one of the hallmarks of a government that refuses to understand why their populace is in upheaval.
There is little fear that Cameron will be ousted in the manner of Mubarak, but the attempt to outlaw social media is a truly illustrative sign that, regardless of location, an informed and connected population is a frightening prospect to any world leader.