The dictator #bashar is learning that in an era of technology, if u fire on crowds, it is documented and disseminated #basharcrimes
Keep documenting the #BasharCrimes so he doesn't get away with any more murder in #Syria
Wow, death toll in #Syria today has reached 68 PEOPLE #BasharCrimes
Troops are firing on civilians, and the scene is quite horrible. But I fear that he and other believers in the political uses of new media are going to be disappointed if they think that drawing attention to atrocities via Twitter and Facebook will make a difference.
Call me a cynic, and I will be delighted if events prove me wrong, but I don't see how tweeting about Bashar's crimes will do anything to hold him accountable. We have been in "an era of technology" for quite some time now - it even predates the internet! - but dictators have gotten away with murder all along.
Back in 1989, when @Jared was eight years old, there was a notorious incident of a totalitarian regime violently suppressing peaceful dissent. It was quite well documented in real time by the world's news media:
I don't know what a thousand tweets could have added to the impact of that single 'old media' report. Everybody saw the Tiananmen Square massacre happen, everybody was shocked, but nothing happened to the Chinese leadership as a result.
International Court of Justice? Not interested. An embargo on international trade and economic development assistance? You must be kidding. Diplomatic consequences? Mere hand wringing, and not even much of that. If Chinese relations with the rest of the world suffered in any way, I can't see how. Certainly the U.S. is very friendly with China today.
Two months later, when the State Department assessed the aftermath of the China crisis, it was clear that there would be no lasting consequences either internally or externally.
The current 'Arab Spring' is analogous to the wave of uprisings that passed through Communist states in 1989, and this naturally excites the imagination of well-wishers. But the uprisings of 1989 ended when they hit the wall of a regime confident enough to use whatever force was necessary to maintain its authority and let world opinion make of that what it will.
Maybe Bashar Assad and his lovely wife Asma will turn out to the next Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. That would be okay by me, but I don't think tweeting will make that happen.