Frank Rich eight days ago:

The talking-head invocations of Twitter and Facebook instead take the form of implicit, simplistic Western chauvinism. How fabulous that two great American digital innovations can rescue the downtrodden, unwashed masses.

His own paper today:

As protesters in Tahrir Square faced off against pro-government forces, they drew a lesson from their counterparts in Tunisia: “Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.” The exchange on Facebook was part of a remarkable two-year collaboration that has given birth to a new force in the Arab world a pan-Arab youth movement dedicated to spreading democracy in a region without it. Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades.

They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons. Breaking free from older veterans of the Arab political opposition, they relied on tactics of nonviolent resistance channeled from an American scholar through a Serbian youth brigade but also on marketing tactics borrowed from Silicon Valley.

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