The ‘Great Arab Digital Revolt’

Abdullah Habahbeh (Photo: Jordan News)
The current generation of young Arabs around the world has recently been, for the first time, united together with true devotion in harnessing social media as a weapon to fight a digital war from their very homes.اضافة اعلان

It all began with the hashtag “#SaveSheikhJarrah”, which ignited what we can call the first “Arab digital revolt”, with heaps of knowledge going viral for the purpose of educating the world about the ongoing occupation of Palestine by the apartheid state, Israel.

This young generation, with its variety of thought and ideology, has had each of its members play a significant role; especially through digital content creators who aggregate information into text, audio, and video, backed by an army of sharers and distributors of this content, carrying Palestinians’ voice and showing the world not only what is currently happening, but what has been happening in Palestine since 1948.

Many others have played a crucial role as they took the risk to document current events, going out to the horror of the unequal and continuous war raging in Palestine and the Middle East.

For years, faith in the younger generation was questioned due to their complete indulgence in social media. All we had seen before the recent events is their desperate need for attention; a like and a follow. However, the world has changed now as these young digital creators, influencers, and followers have become an unstoppable army that is fighting an online war. Social media is no longer a place to hang out and share immature content — it is now a new battlefield.

The “Great Arab Digital Revolt” started with one hashtag accompanied by despair, anger, and resistance; when families of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood stood against the Israeli settlers who stole their homes and forcibly displaced them. One can only imagine how it must feel to have someone show up at your house and take it from you by force, supported by the whole world. To be able to kill you without consequence.

Yet things do not stop at that. Israeli occupation forces assaulted innocent people praying at a mosque, wounded a lot of protesters, and killed so many in violation of every human rights agreement and convention.

Today, social media tycoons are trying to silence Arabs by manipulating their algorithms, censoring their content, and denying them freedom of speech; they want to stop the truth from getting out. It is as if the whole world is either controlled by Israel or perhaps held hostage to the Zionists.

Many Arabs are facing daily threats of having their accounts blocked, their posts deleted and/or temporarily banned from using certain features. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter have entered this war on behalf of Israel, and they declared war upon the Arabs and their voices. There are 3.484 billion social media users around the world, of whom 136.1 million users are in the Arab world, according to a 2019 annual report for from the global platform Hoot Suite.  Therefore, with this many users, it is frustrating for us to see the whole world trying to cover for Israel’s war crimes and its constant hostility towards Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

This digital war started with a request from Israel itself, with a claim that Arabs are using social media to spread false news and hate speech to tarnish its image as

“the most democratic country” in the Middle East. Arabs did not stop. They are fighting the algorithm on daily basis, trying hard to spread the news and show the world the awfulness of Israel’s practices. However, they end up finding themselves the victims of racial discrimination, with no right to speak up, to voice out their thoughts, or to spread their message with dignity and equality.

It is a tremendous feeling to see our youth united together, taking control, and trying to win this war. This new generation is in control now, and they are planning protests and marching towards borders, making a stand, and still fighting an online war to expose Israel and its illegal practices. This new turning point of events is changing everything, and Israel is under fire from all sides.

Who rules the world? Zionists or social media tycoons; those narcissist billionaires that gave themselves the right to control who can speak and who cannot. When social media first came to be, it was a liberation from controlled and paid media, it gave the people hope to speak up and fight for their beliefs. For example, social media sites were a vital instrument that showed the whole world what happened in Egypt in early 2011 when the January 25 revolution succeeded in toppling former president Mohammad Hosni Mubark as a result of the Arab Spring uprising. This raises the question of why social media would try to stifle Arabs now.

It is important to state that Arabs are fighting Zionism and Israel’s unfair occupation of Palestine. Arabs are not fighting Judaism — it has never been a religious conflict. Yet this is what Israel is trying, and has always been trying, to convince the world of: That Arabs are fighting Judaism and rousing anti-Semitic sentiment instead of fighting for their very simple right to a decent and honorable life free from oppression.

The impact of our digital war has reached the whole world. Protests formed, and continue to form, in Europe, South America, North America, and Africa. The world is witnessing, listening, and believing. People are raising their voices in solidarity with the Palestinians. Moreover, the impact of this digital war has reached the point where many celebrities from all around the world have shown empathy and solidarity with the Palestinians by sharing the viral content that Arabs and non-Arabs have shared and are sharing on social media.

What is happening now in the Gaza Strip is a brute attempt to annihilate an entire city, along with its people. Gazans have suffered for more than a decade now; this unequal war has to stop.

Israel is not only trying to control social media but is also trying to silence the international press by bombing buildings that encompass offices of press agencies that are trying to cover all the war crimes that Israel is committing.

We must continue this digital war against oppression, we must show the world that we have a voice, and we want to be heard. This is the rise of the new world order and we must gather ourselves as a new army that is ready to fight a novel kind of war.

Israel is committing genocide and war crimes against the Palestinians while playing the victim and seeking empathy and support from the international community. Israel is an apartheid state that was built on the ashes and the blood of the Palestinians and just like the phoenix of legends, a free Palestine shall rise again from those ashes.

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