How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

For some Egyptian Americans, the revolution will be Facebooked

An Egypt solidarity rally, partly organized on Facebook, outside the federal building in West Los Angeles Saturday, January 29, 2011
An Egypt solidarity rally, partly organized on Facebook, outside the federal building in West Los Angeles Saturday, January 29, 2011 Photo by Asim Bharwani/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Social media has played a remarkable role not only in how Egyptians used it to coordinate the anti-government protests that are now in their ninth day, but in how the world has witnessed, relayed information, and organized around the crisis.

Stories have ranged from the ways in which Egyptians finagled ways around a government shutdown of Internet and cellular access to continue using Twitter and Facebook to how a UCLA graduate student, employing a network of acquaintances in Egypt and old-fashioned telephone land lines, relayed eyewitness updates via Twitter @Jan25Voices.

Among Egyptian Americans, Facebook has played a big role in communicating, commiserating and organizing around the protests, as many have done in recent days to stage solidarity rallies in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Many of the Facebook pages dedicated to the Egypt crisis are administered out of the United States (where they tend to be pro-demonstrator).

Here's a sampling:

  • Society of Egyptian Americans - (SEA) This page, representing an immigrant organization based in Southern California, played a part in the organizing of a rally in West Los Angeles last weekend. Posted Jan. 28: "We are inviting you to attend media and all others to attend in unity to support our cause against the current Egyptian Government. Saturday January 29th at the Federal Building."

  • Egyptian Diaspora in Support of Demonstrators in Egypt - Jan 25 & Beyond It's not clear from the page where it's administered, but posts call for Egyptian Americans to rally and call U.S. political representatives. From the description: "This is a page dedicated to Egyptians living abroad to network and share ideas in support of the January 25 uprising." On the discussion page one man asks, "Are there any peaceful demonstrations in Miami Florida?"

  • Support the Egyptian Revolution A page administered out of Tallahassee, FL. The description reads: "To all the world, please Support the Egyptian revolution against injustice. This Revolution will be the largest in the Middle East to democratic rule in Egypt and the Middle East and the (w)hole world." Many of the comments are in Arabic.

  • Egyptian American Support for ElBaradei Administered out of New Jersey. From the description: "He will never make it alone, he will never make it without support, He said it very clear, he needs the people's support. We are the Egyptian American dual citizen living in the USA ,and we support YOU." Most of the comments are older, but interesting. One posted in June, in response to an Associated Press story about a young man allegedly beaten to death by police, read "Shame on Moubarek (sic) and thugs for allowing this to happen. Shame on us, Egyptians in and out of Egypt, for just sitting their (sic) and watching as inocent people (get) brutally killed."

And this page, which is not administered in the U.S. but does stand out:

  • Scuba Divers in Support of Egyptian Freedom & Peace Yes, the scuba divers are in this, too. The page is administered out of Norway and Dahab, an Egyptian diving destination on the Red Sea. From the description: "Ever wondered why your Dive Master had a Masters degree in History, but spent all his day carrying tanks? Yes he loves diving like us, but he was never given an equal oppurtunity to travel to other diving destinations, or just be a guest, like we do. Egyptians are now trying to take back their country and rights as citizens!"

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