Digital media and the Sudanese revolution


By Shafie Khader Saeed | –

Industrial revolutions are defined as new scientific and technological breakthroughs and innovative ways of seeing and dealing with the world around us. They lead to a profound change in the economic and social dimensions in favor of the improvement of human life, in addition to developing philosophical concepts and generalizations.

It is well known that the scientific revolution of the first half of the 19th century, through the discoveries of the law of conservation of matter, the law of motion, the law of conservation of energy, the cell theory and of Darwinian theory, in addition to the findings of other natural sciences, dealt a blow to the simplistic concepts prevailing at the time, which claimed that the world has not changed since its existence and that things in nature do not change or regenerate.

These strokes were among the necessary introductions to the emergence of many philosophical ideas, including Marxist philosophy. History records the occurrence of four industrial revolutions which, according to historians, changed the course of people’s lives and contributed to changing the facts of human civilization. Details of these four revolutions can be found by anyone interested in sources that chronicle the development of human society, bearing in mind that industrial revolutions are not just history, but rather the present and the present. coming.

What interests us in this article is the digital revolution that erupted with the explosion of the third industrial revolution in the 1980s, which paved the way for the evolution of the use of computers, the Internet and ICT applications. These then developed further with the eruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the start of the new millennium, which gave rise to the integration of technologies that blur the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological realms. With the eruption of the digital revolution, the process of people-to-people communication, knowledge transfer and information exchange has taken a leap forward through the flow of information between a large number of people connected to each other. to others via Facebook, WhatsApp or other media. These apps also act as media platforms.

In addition, the concepts of communication between governments and peoples have changed, because information is no longer monopolized by governments and security agencies and governments are no longer the only ones capable of controlling and dominating ideas, minds and hearts. The digital revolution has reduced the ability of regimes to cripple movements with campaigns of arrests, and at the same time it has shattered the elitist mentality of opposition movements, creating virtual arenas and organizations to broaden the horizons of the movement. political action, which can translate into a strong force on the ground to bring about change.

However, the tools of the communication and information revolution will remain simple deaf and blind machines if they are not managed by efficient minds who improve the reading of reality and translate its data into innovative initiatives in all political, economic, cultural and social domains. On the other hand, the digital revolution has brought with it new concepts that include electronic espionage and hacking of networks between individuals and countries, in addition to the birth of many negative, and sometimes dangerous, phenomena at the individual level. such as fraud, identity theft, violation of privacy, violation of public and private rights, crimes against users, cyberbullying, identity theft, forgery and assassination attempts.

On the social level, just as the digital revolution and its means of social communication have played an important and essential role in the outbreak and victory of the popular movement in many countries, such as the Arab Spring revolutions and the December revolution in Sudan, counter-revolutionary circles use them to stop or infiltrate the path of change and liquidate its revolutionary content. This is especially true during twists and sharp social conflicts that always erupt after the completion of the first phase of change, that is, the overthrow of the previous regime and the start of the implementation of slogans and programs of the revolution.

In Sudan, and in light of the serious crisis that has taken hold of the country today until it has suffocated, the counter-revolutionary circles inside the country, as well as the foreign intelligence services disturbed by the change in Sudan, seek to establish digital accounts and platforms with false names through which destructive ideas, rumors and lies are spread. They also seek to assassinate the personalities of the leaders of the popular movement and the politically and socially influential national leaders and adopt the objectives of the revolution.

While the activity of counter-revolutionary circles and hostile foreign intelligence via social media is understandable, justified and expected, the biggest mistake causing great damage is our oblivious, sometimes naive, management of content on these media platforms. For example, the media often bring news or information that has dangerous implications, but they do not refer to a specific source, instead using the phrase “reliable sources reported”, “news circulating in political circles” or “breaking news” and we read the news focusing on its content, not paying attention to the absence of its source. We then engage in arguments that distract us from what’s important, but news is usually either fabricated, honeyed poison, or news that serves one side or another’s ends.

An example of this is the news that has spread in the media about the names of the candidates for the post of prime minister. There is no source to which the news can be attributed, all we see is “our sources learned” or “reports said…”. We know that so far there has been no agreement or consensus on the nature and composition of the party that will choose the Prime Minister, but our unconscious relations with the media have turned the news into discussions and analyzes about the candidates. These names may come from the desires and ideas of media pioneers, or are they just test balloons launched by certain actors.

Media pioneers failed to consider that how the Prime Minister is chosen, his name, on what constitutional basis they and their government will be chosen, and what program that government will implement is in fact the main dilemma in the current crisis. Limiting the crisis to the appointment of the Prime Minister without mentioning the essence of it – the coup of October 25, 2021 – and before a new political agreement and a new constitutional document are found ignores the revolution and under- appreciates the value of the sacrifice of its martyrs. It will not achieve any stability, but rather aggravate the crisis.

This article first appeared in Al-Quds Al-Arabi Arabic on Aug 21, 2022

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