Monday, 14 March 2011

Say Hello, Green Wave Goodbye

Can social media change the world? Evgeny Morozov doesn't think so, and perhaps he has a point. A tweet might enable one protester to link up with another with a fashionable rapidity, but try throwing one of those micro e-missives at a tank and you'll begin to see the limits of the digital telegraph.

The Green Movement in Iran in 2009 sought to bring down Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following a disputed presidential election. In that fervid hour, when internet evangelists like Jared Cohen rushed to proclaim the protest "the one that social media built," the cliché of choice was that Twitter would transform Iran, 140 characters at a time.

The failed attempt to unseat Ahmadinejad is the subject of Iranian-German filmmaker Ali Samadi Ahadi's film, The Green Wave, which receives its UK premiere on March 25th. Drawing upon techniques seen in Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir, Ahadi animates the work of Iranian bloggers, thus imaginatively recreating moments from the 2009 protest not recorded by TV cameras.

It is clear that the internet offers a novel locus for dissent; it also allows governments, both authoritarian and democratic, a new means of tracking down citizens who are resistant to established authority. Can social media change the world? Why don't you write a blog post about it?

No comments:

Post a Comment