Arab Revolutions: Breaking Fear| The Arab Spring & Online Protests in Iraq
This article traces the influence of the Arab Spring on Iraq as activists staged fervent protests against corruption, sectarianism, and favoritism that largely characterize Nouri Maliki’s government. A group of young Iraqi intellectuals, journalists, students, government employees, and unemployed youth posted their plan to organize demonstrations against the government with the use of social media in February 2011. This study investigates the use of Facebook and YouTube that bypassed the government’s attempt to limit the coverage of these protests. Indeed, the events during the Arab Spring in Iraq crossed the sectarian lines and united different Iraqis against the Shiite-dominated government. The five most popular Facebook pages are examined together with over 806 YouTube clips that are related to the Iraqi Arab Spring and their 2839 comments. The study revealed that young Iraqi males aged between 25-30 were the most active vloggers, while those aged between 20-24 were the most active commentators during the protests. Further, the study showed that other Iraqis living in the Diaspora especially in the United States and Canada played an important role by posting YouTube clips and comments. Also, there was a great gender disparity since Iraqi male users surpassed females in the number of video clips and comments posted.
Arab Spring; Arab media; social media; Iraqi Arab Spring; YouTube; Facebook; Arab blogosphere; Internet use; social activism; Arab protests.