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Let us look at the last days of 2009 that were full of incidents.

Even if we don’t look at particular incidents, a quick recalling of these events reveals how the days of the previous months [were filled with incidents] to the point that we were rarely able to stop and contemplate their meaning or implication.

Perhaps this is what is driving us to attempt to rectify what we failed to understand. Perhaps we wish that some of these events are repeated. However the majority of what we seek is to overcome and forget, or at the very least take account [of these events].

Overwhelming events took place, and figures excelled, and [many] images were published [this year] and so it is difficult to sum up 2009 with just one event or incident. Leading media organizations excelled at highlighting events and analyzing them, while classical magazines listed figures and events that characterize the passing year…

There have been developments that have changed the course of the lives of ordinary people and those around them in a fundamental way…

This for example led the British Times newspaper to choose Neda Soltan, the Iranian girl who was killed during the summer protests, as its Person of the Year. Neda was a music student who was not known to be connected to political activism, but whose death in the middle of the demonstrations became a symbolic scene shown on internet websites and throughout the media. Neda Soltan became the face of the Iranian protests, and a symbol of the revolt against the current [Iranian] regime. It seems that the lives of many Iranians who have never engaged in political activity have changed. This can be seen in the “Twitter revolution” that was launched by the Iranian opposition movements. The Iranians showed great skill with regards to organizing, as well as expressing their opinions and communicating inside Iran, and with the world at large. These demonstrations have not been extinguished since the summer, and it seems the end of the year will witness inflammation and strife as well. There is also Twitter or the internet in general, which is a unique means to find out what is taking place in Iran.

This talk takes us back to an article published last summer by an Israeli commentator who said that he was more worried about the Iranian progress with regards to utilizing the internet than he is about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s forthcoming nuclear bomb. Iran is second in the region after Turkey in terms of the extent to which its society relies upon communication and information technology. This gives power to the opposition forces in the recent clashes, and we received pictures [of the demonstrations] in this manner, although the [Iranian] regime believed that by banning the traditional media from working it would prevent this. However, and since technology is a weapon available to all, talk has begun today about the regime’s capabilities to use this technology to monitor the opposition; as the regime’s capabilities are greater than those of the opposition and it is more effective, and this allows it [the regime] to access the network and monitor [the oppositions] intentions and directions.

This debate began online, as it is true that the internet provides the ability to communicate, but it also allows the possibility of monitoring…who will be more effective in using this technology, the regime or the opposition??

We will see the answer to this question in 2010…

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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