Revolutions and Technology - Page 2
Finally, 1989 saw the world’s first revolutions to be broadcast on television and radio. Beginning in Poland, radical change engulfed the entire Eastern half of the European continent and governments were toppled in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Albania. Only in Romania did the revolution turn violent, but by December this regime had fallen too. Within a couple of years further changes had come to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia itself, while a war had been ignited across Yugoslavia. The stirrings of change inspired people in Burma and China in 1989, but these revolutions ended in bloody victories for the reactionaries. Television and radio, like I said, brought news of these changes into living rooms, feeding a chain reaction, but the telephone too allowed the transmission of news, directly, from person to person. I remember being with an East German friend in the Netherlands as her mother gave her a blow by blow account of a massive demonstration in Dresden in November 1989.
The Internet has further fragmented the sources of our information. Using Twitter you can collect hundreds of bites of information from disparate sources as events unfold. But all of these revolutions -1848, 1905-1919, 1989 and 2011 - stem from a variety of causes, like economic stagnation, unresponsive governments that have failed to reform, foreign rule and a lack of human rights. And all of these revolutions, not just the current Arab Revolts, have been helped by forms of technological communication.