Posted at 12:55 PM on February 11, 2011
by Bob Collins
Now that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, we turn to what happens now?
"Ask Facebook," a protest leader told CNN this morning, firmly indicating the role that social networking has had in organizing the protests.
And that's where it gets dicey -- who on Facebook or Twitter organized the protests?
That's led to more focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. City Pages has transcribed an exchange with Minneapolis congressman Keith Ellison, who was asked on MSNBC about the role of Muslim Brotherhood now?
ELLISON: What is so exciting about this [Egyptian] movement is that it is a stunning rebuke to al-Qaedaism, a stunning rebuke to anyone who would impose their will on the people through the use of bombs, or force, or anything like that. Not only that, but the people who are in Tahrir Square, some of them are religious, some of them are not, but this is a demand for dignity, for democracy and jobs, and it's exciting. It's both sexes. It's different kinds of people, Christian, Muslim, people of all different kinds of backgrounds. This is about the people. It has nothing to do with what some sectarian group's agenda is. This is a scarecrow, this talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. But the most important thing is this a group of people who are rejecting al-Qaedaism, rejecting religious extremism and saying they want what we already have, which is democracy, and we have to stand on the side of that, Lawrence. I urge the leaders in the United States, with every fiber in my being, to stand unequivocally with the people of Egypt.
Interesting, indeed. And also somewhat opposite what other experts are saying. New media "expert" Walter Armbrust told the BBC today that social media has been at work in organizing Mubarak's downfall since 2002.
"It was connected to a new generation in the Muslim Brotherhood that was technologically savvy and also at different ideological commitments to the older generation." (Listen)
It wasn't just Twitter and Facebook who created the revolution, Armbrust says. But he clearly makes the point that you cannot credit them for being a catalyst for Mubarak's eventual ouster, and discredit the role of the Muslim Brotherhood at the same time.