chapter  11
Revolutions, the internet and orientalist reminiscence
ByMIRIYAM AOURAGH
Pages 22

In front of the Egyptian embassy in London on a January afternoon in 2011, an Egyptian man was asked what he thought of the events taking place. The first minute was a correct analytical description, but then he was asked what his message was for the people in Egypt. His voice changed, he seemed caught offguard, and tears started rolling down his cheeks. His words (quoted above) captured the indescribable sensation that comes with ‘once in a lifetime’ events. As soon as the video was uploaded it was shared on Facebook. According to the YouTube statistics it was watched at least 167,000 times via the main video link.3 Probably given that they had witnessed two revolutionary uprisings unfold in the space of a few weeks, it struck a familiar chord with many online viewers, and far beyond London. The way this video was mediated shows how contemporary media and technology offered world audiences windows into some of the day’s most epic events. Digital videos and photographs made and shared by ordinary people offered arguably the most spectacular dose of visual, textual and sound content ever to be broadcast and to be followed almost instantly on a global scale. This type of immediate and free dissemination expressed unabridged and genuine sentiments and allowed Wassim and his comrades to tap into events as they unfolded as well. This facilitated his analyses and shaped his emotions:

The days in front of the embassy we kind of felt the crescendo of the movement, vicariously of course, as we had followed the events on the ground moment by moment. I did not have a smart phone (of course I do have one now) but many people did, so we received not only the factual news from

people but also the slogans raised in Tahrir, or Suez, or Alexandria, and we were repeating them in front of the embassy. The events and the slogans kept going up [online], and we kept going with them.