Nathaniel GreenbergFeb 12, 2021
How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring
The Politics of Narrative in Egypt and Tunisia
Edinburgh University Press 2019
On January 28 2011 WikiLeaks released documents from a cache of US State Department cables stolen the previous year. The Daily Telegraph in London published one of the memos with an article headlined 'Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising'. The effect of the revelation was immediate, helping set in motion an aggressive counter-narrative to the nascent story of the Arab Spring. The article featured a cluster of virulent commentators all pushing the same story: the CIA, George Soros and Hillary Clinton were attempting to take over Egypt. Many of these commentators were trolls, some of whom reappeared in 2016 to help elect Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Nathaniel Greenberg's book How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: The Politics of Narrative in Egypt and Tunisia (Edinburgh UP, 2019) tells the story of how a proxy-communications war ignited and hijacked the Arab uprisings and how individuals on the ground, on air and online worked to shape history.
Marci Mazzarotto is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Her research interests center on the interdisciplinary intersection of academic theory and artistic practice with a focus on film and television studies.