Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Slacktivism, Armchairism and Apptivism

2011 has certainly started on a promising note.

Tunisia ousted Ben Ali, ending decades of tyranny and offering the fragile hope of a more free, open and successful society.

The past week has seen awesome scenes in Egypt. Pundits and commentators talked of a ‘clash of civilisations’ in Egypt at the end of December, predicting Christian and Muslim tensions. The fallacy of such notions was dismissed when, unpredicted by all self-professed experts, the country rose up against the tyrant Mubarak. The streets of Cairo fills up with protestors daily, Muslims and Christians side by side.

The world also saw duplicity with which US foreign policy operates; invading Iraq in 2003 in the name of ‘democracy’, while simultaneously providing "military aid to Egypt [that] totals over $1.3 billion annually". It is this Egyptian army that has racked up a death count of 300 innocent protestors, and currently stands between the Egyptian people and an ousted Mubarak.

But the topic of this blog is not to add to the rolling and constant commentary on the unpredicted and unpredictable events in Egypt or Tunisia or the rest of the Middle East.

Rather, it’s to express dismay at the rise of the slacktivist, also known as the armchair acitivist, also known as the apptivist. The idea is pretty simple – Egyptians risk life and limb to protest, the slacktivsit tweets, clicks, and blogs his or her protest (yes, I’m a tweeter, a clicker and of course, a blogger).

It’s not that the tweeting, clicking or blogging is the problem. The problem is when it ends there.

We may not be in Egypt, or Tunisia, or Yemen. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do. We don’t live in a utopia (…yet). Whether you live in the UK, the US or the Russian Federation (most my readers come from those three countries apparently!), there is plenty to be doing.

Poverty, injustice, oppression aren't absent.

The actions of protestors in the Middle East and elsewhere should remind us our duty to our community, the place in which we live.

For the believer, the action of the protestors should remind us of God’s appointment of mankind as “vice-regents of God on earth”, and the weight of this responsibility.

In the meantime, I’ll be heeding the words of Suhaib Webb, and remember Egypt in my prayers.

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