Miladi, N. (2011) Social media and the people's revolution in Tunisia. Panel Presentation presented to: The Jasmine Revolution: Causes and Consequences for Tunisia and the Region, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London, 04 February 2011.
Never have culture, aesthetics, and politics become more intertwined than during the current uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. The regions Hip Hop musicians have not only joined in the protests, but also have planted the seeds of revolt. Twenty-one year old Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben Amor, or El General, released his incendiary rap song 'Rais Lebled' “Oh President of the Country,” a few days before the Tunisian revolt, around the time when Tunisian fruit-seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire. The song directly addressed then-Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, inspiring thousands of young Tunisians to take to the streets and launching an unprecedented wave of protests in the Arab world. The mushrooming of social networks on Facebook and Twitter was by far the most instrumental factor in the escalation of events. Hundreds of thousands joined Facebook groups where circulation of such videos like Ben Amor's hip-hop songs took place.