Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns (eds), Tweets from Tahrir: Egypt’s revolution as it unfolded, in the words of the people who made it

IssueMay 2011
Review by Gabriel Carlyle

Can a book of “tweets” (140-character-or-less micro-messages) really be readable? The answer is a resounding yes (and don’t worry if you’re not Twitter-savvy, I certainly wasn’t).

Through careful selection the editors have created an inspiring and coherent narrative that not only explains the evolving strategies of both sides but also allows personalities to shine through. Nonviolence played a crucial role throughout, especially in the early decisive confrontations with the police (“Police throw rocks @ demonstrtrs while we raised our arms. We’re unarmed, they’re in full gear. We are strong, they’re weak”). Later, when Mubarak resorted to using armed “thugs” to attack – and in some instances kill – demonstrators, they used force to defend themselves but appear to have been able to keep this from escalating out of control.

Some final words from tweeter Manar Mohsen: “Who did this? WE did, the people. Without guns. Without violence. Rather, with principles and persistence. Mabrouk [congratulations], everyone!”

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