This article by Andrew Hammond, from Reuters March 10, 2011 describes the use of social media to plan uprisings in Saudi Arabia. Revolts have toppled Saudi allies in Egypt and Tunisia that have encouraged democracy activists to challenge rulers around around the region. The Saudi authorities and ruling family have warned their citizens NOT TO TRY the same thing, however the author is skeptical that these type of threatening tactics will work with a younger generation that grew up with the internet. More than 32,000 people have”backed” a call on Facebook to hold two demonstrations in March, one on the 11th and the other on the 20th. Interestingly, the Hanbali school of Sunni Islamic Law, insists that the ruler should be “obeyed at all costs”…..political parties are banned in the country. Rhetoric is used that Saudi Arabia is an “Islamic Utopia” where God’s word is law and allegiance to the ruler is non-negotiable….I interpret this as a religious dictatorship!!
Salman al-Odah is a scolar, not a cleric, who has a weekly program on pan-Arab channel MBC1…..he used Twitter this week to state that the “the youth must be given some freedom to criticize” Once again we see social media impacting political structures around the globe.
In another article entitled Saudi Arabia: Police Broke Up Protest; Used Stun Grenades, “Rubber or Live Bullets”‘ Saudi police broke up a protest by minority Shi’ites the night before a day of protests had been called for on social media….four people were injured.
Have these demonstrations and/or will these demonstrations lead to censure or blockage of social media in Saudia Arabia???