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The Facebook Intifada
Sam Oudeh
by Sam Oudeh
July 16th, 2014 (No comments)
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First, I want to start out saying that my heart and prayers are with every family in Palestine. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they are going through in Gaza, and I hope that they can stay strong and know that they will get through these horrific times.

Yes, unlike some, I am optimistic about the status of Palestine right now. The unity between Fatah and Hamas is still intact, and the Palestinian people are now united as one in government. But the reason I am very optimistic during this assault on Gaza is because of the importance of social media. Injustice doesn’t last forever, and social media is the best way to exploit it. As a Palestinian, I’ve obviously known the terrors that we have endured throughout the years under Israeli occupation. But with social media so integrated in our society, I have started to see more and more non-Arabs take up this cause. It can be seen on the Instagram pages of actor Ryan Gosling, and rap artists Waka Flocka Flame, Swizz Beats and DJ Khaled (who is a Palestinian-American). I believe that this movement by non-Arabs will keep growing and the international community can put substantial pressure on Israel. Israel has showed no signs of letting up on the new Gaza offensive, and may even come in with ground troops. If they do that, then I believe a third intifada will start: the Facebook Intifada. I think that the more traction that the Palestinian movement gains in America, Israel’s injustices will be exploited more and more. Israel is even worried about social media so much that they pay young Israelis to go onto social media and spread Israeli propaganda. This is a sign that even Israel is worried about the movement that has begun.

Social media has played a critical role in the Arab world. It helped tremendously with the communication of protests both in America and overseas. Just thinking about how it has changed the world is astounding. An event can be put on Facebook, and thousands of people will show up. We are lucky enough that we live in a country that doesn’t restrict the flow of information through social media, and it has provided a great benefit to our people. How would we have known about every event happening there like we do now? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are every bit as good of a news source as anything else. People share interesting articles and information spreads quicker and farther than it ever would have before. Social media, in this case, is a great advantage.

I already said this, but I am going to say it again. Injustice never lasts. I believe that the most important thing for us to do is to help the movement gain more and more followers. When the people take up a cause, the possibilities are endless.

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Sami Oudeh is a Palestinian American graduate of the University of Kentucky. He is a sports nut and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

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