Talking about societal problems is about as effective as eating soup with a dessert fork. Tweeting about it, however, is as effective as eating soup with a dessert fork blindfolded. This is a reality Arab political activists can’t wrap their certainly-broader-than-regular-citizens’ minds around.
Thanks to the Arab Spring many 12-to-30-year-olds with internet connections and the ability to type up to 140 characters, have decided to express every single waking thought they have about every single problem in society, real or imagined, in the interest of bettering the non-activist lost souls and creating a democracy.
While a large number of activists are eccentric, volatile and inherently impulsive individuals—who allegedly used to pester their mothers to make pancakes from scratch, then brooded over the misshaped ones—they’re mostly educated, concerned people. Their only fault is that they annoy me.
The most annoying thing about activists is that they overestimate the value and impact of their opinions. Sure, by organizing the protests they have ignited almost every revolution, but if it weren’t for the boring, average people who rallied with them, they would have gotten crushed and arrested as usual. So when an activist claims to have made the Egyptian revolution, it feels like having the microwave claim credit for my food on grounds of heating it for me.
There are many types of activists, first being the “Everything Is Illegal” activists. These call anything they dislike unconstitutional and illegitimate, for instance, this article is in breach of the international criminal law and it spits on all 211 articles of the Egyptian constitution which is also illegitimate. It has been rumored that the very existence of people who disagree with the Illegal activists, is a gross breach of the laws of nature.
Second type is the “Famous” activists. These are activists who keep sleep-inducing blogs and have a considerable amount of Twitter followers. Many Famous activists are self-styled journalists, although their blogs—which are challenging to read seeing that the head bobbing begins four lines into them—are mind-bogglingly subjective and entirely based on their self-generated “in-depth analysis,” which would be interesting if they were not 14 years old… and if they could spell.
Third type is the “Look-at-me-mommy” activists. Look-at-me-mommy activists are ones who encourage other people to do something, and when it happens (usually by accident) the next day they receive a false impression of actually having power over people. Despite the fact that in this past year and a half in Egypt, these activists have called for a billion and one things to happen, none of which the public so much as blinked at, they’re still high on power. They relentlessly called for the release of all activists illegally imprisoned or military tribunal-ed, they called for ending sexual harassment. Cute sentiments and all, but the public simply doesn’t give a morning fart about what happens on Twitter. The captured activists are about as free as an Afghani third wife and Egyptian women are still enjoying free breast exams by strange men apparently devoted to early detection.
What does one hope of accomplish by sitting at home and tweeting “Sexual harassment is so bad, you guys. Behave yourselves #ENDSH.”?
First of all, who the hell are they addressing? The usually-poor-and-Twitter-indifferent men who harass, who probably will never hear about your tweet, yet alone read it? And if they did have Twitter accounts and followed your English-speaking-behind that would only be to save your avatar, zoom in on it and masturbate.
For the sake of argument though, let’s imagine a situation where these tweets might have an impact:
A poor man is fondling a young woman on a public bus; “PING” rings his smart phone.
“Ooh, tweet!” he says, excitedly, then frowns and knits his brows. “Err—it says here woman like you don’t enjoying being sexually assaulted, is this true?” he asks, shyly.
“Afraid so,” the woman replies.“Oh, well then. I am sorry about the breast squeezing; I’ll put my penis back into my pants now.”
The Look-at-me-mommy activists and their followers argue, however, that the point of tweeting about such things is to raise awareness, which is as funny as it is fruitless. The people who follow you and read your tweets are more or less educated, lower-middle-class and above. Working class, where a great deal of the harassers and problems in general lie, are a) uneducated, so they probably can’t read your Arabic tweets, much less the English ones, and b) cling to traditions like a fat man to pizza, so your tweet, your TV ads and your precious little campaigns mean less to them than gum stuck to the bottom of their shoes.
Social change is a process slower than a snail in glue. Someone gets ticked off like Rosa Parks and becomes an insolent little passenger, then inspires everyone to become insolent little passengers, they protest and educate younger generations, and BAM you’ve got yourself a black president.
Anyone who has to “convince people to change” and “make the world a better place” on their agenda is an activist who is in violation of the laws of the evidently uncommon sense.
Please next time you feel the admirably heroic itch to point out the obvious in Oh-fire-burns-and-criminals-are-nasty fashion, please, I am appealing to your morally superior nature to refrain from making too much noise with your face hole. Oh, and if you would stop blogging, I promise on behalf of all governments worldwide to stop rigging elections.