(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Ayeni Olusegun |
Social media platforms can be positive tools to drive societal change and resonate Arab youth voices in regional policies and development.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), about 55 percent of the Middle East and North African population are under 30, with nearly a quarter of those falling into the critical years of 15 to 29.
Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of an exhibition to highlight the voices of Iraqi youth at 'The Invasion of Iraq: Regional Reflections' conference organised by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), Mohammed Noeman, a student of International Politics at GU-Q, said through the platform, youth in the region could actively engage in shaping the future and redirecting change to failing sectors.
“I think social media is the most important tool today because you can spread the word so easily through social media. You can start a revolution if the right grievances are there. Many countries in the region face many challenges with poor infrastructure, unemployment and political dysfunction. These grievances build-up, and with social media, the youth can drive significant support.”
Noeman noted that the similarities in culture, religion and language could trigger uniform youth opinions on pressing issues.
“Anything that happens in the region 100% affects the other countries because we share the same language, culture, and in some cases the same religion too.
During the 2019 uprisings, we had the same revolts in Lebanon and Sudan, which ended up toppling Omar Al Bashir.
“The thing with this region is if one country revolts it eventually happens in the neighbouring countries, and I think the first Arab Spring is evidence of that,” Noeman said.
Meanwhile, Noeman highlighted the importance of the research project“Youth and Activism in Iraq,” which includes an analysis of the 2019 October protest movement in Iraq, drawing parallels with the prolific public art that appeared during the social movements.
GU-Q students Shahd Al Qassabi, Nagla Abdelhady, Nafisa Sagdullaeva, Mohamed Jaski, and Islam Suleimen, also worked on the research.
“I think art usually has powerful messages and there's no revolution without art. It's a way for people to express themselves instead of writing a 1000-word paper, you can draw, which says a lot.
“Some of the arts we have say a lot about the situation and the people that got killed - 600 people were killed during the uprising,” he added.
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