Tahrir Square: An Example Protest
The Arab Spring is still ongoing sociopolitical movement that is reshaping the political landscape of the Middle East, characterized by anti-government protests and civil demonstrations that represent social unrest, but also myriad and often contradictory sociopolitical or ideological perspectives.
Tahrir Square became the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution spontaneously on January 25, 2011, as thousands of protesters began to flood the space demanding for democratic reforms. Gradually this area became the physical incarnation of the revolution itself, newly symbolizing popular grievances expressed through mass demonstration. The Square became more than a protest ground, though, as it is also became “an idea… a hub for dissent,”[i] which is even still being actively employed by Egyptian protesters today.
Tahrir Square organized itself through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs and engaged an Internet-wired and middle-class Egypt in a way never before demonstrated. Popular access to new telecommunications devices is the socio-technological shift that engendered the Arab Spring, however, the discourses that this telecommunication produced and conveyed reflect the different geopolitical, socio-economic and ideological actors in the Arab Spring, or more specifically those that acted in the case of Tahrir Square, and which are both their origins.
To critically understand Tahrir Square’s role insofar as a geopolitical element of the Revolution, it must not only be understood as a previously symbolic or convenient place to assemble, but as a concept of the Revolution: an incarnation of qualms from diverse sociopolitical identities, engendered and facilitated by popular access to new information technologies, which forged a space of liberation within Egypt and functioned as the hearth of its revolution intellectually and conceptually as well as physically and symbolically.