When Time magazine named the Protestor, 2011 Person of the Year, it got me thinking about the role mobile technology played in the Arab Spring. Whilst social media sites received a lot of attention for the part they played, for me the real difference maker was the mobile phone. Because of its size and recording capabilities the world was able to see for the first time the atrocities we knew were happening but were never able to evidence. Because of the difference it made, the mobile phone deserves to be nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
Before getting cynical, this would not be the first time that a technology service has been nominated. In 2011 both the Internet and Wikileaks were nominated for the role they played in global peace. According to the official Nobel Committee, nominees are required to have participated in, ‘humanitarian efforts and peace movements’ and that the prize has previously been awarded for ‘advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control’.
Against these requirements it becomes quite clear that the mobile phone at least deserves to be recognised for its role with a nomination. So critical was the mobile phone considered in demonstrations and fighting that many of the doomed governments attempted to cut off communication lines in a bid to gain the upper hand. This only ended up causing the opposite as it infuriated protestors, increasing resolve and in turn bringing them closer together.
In my view the mobile phone was the courage maker, surveillance breaker and momentum generator that the protestors needed in their fight against dictatorship and oppressive rule. With a mobile in their hand the protestors had a means to go along with their outstanding will. It was the only weapon they needed. Do you agree that the mobile phone should be nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its role? Let me know your thoughts.