Arab Revolutions: Breaking Fear| The Cultural Logic of Visibility in the Arab Uprisings

Hatim El-Hibri


The events of the Arab uprisings reveal a new tension in the relationship between media and space. This article situates iconic moments of the uprisings, such as large groups of people gathered inTahrir SquareinEgypt, by examining how they depend on tactics of disinformation, secrecy, and concealment. It compares two examples—footage from the Qasr Al Nil Bridge in Cairo at the beginning of the January 2011 uprising and the politics of anonymity in the case of the outing of Syrian activist Malath Al Aumran—to situate the stakes of public visibility in regimes of spatial control as they intersect with new modes of visual circulation. The article draws conclusions about our understanding of how media structured these events.


Arab media; Arab Uprisings; social media; visual culture; public space

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