If like me, you are glued to the television screen as events unfold at the Middle East, then you may want to consider alternative sources of information to fill in the gaps left by BBC, ITV and Sky. With this in mind YouTube has become invaluable. I was first aware of its clear potential – though I am sure that many had spotted this much earlier than I! – during the early years of the Iraq war, particularly in the first six months when the Allies were claiming victory and yet were facing almost daily attacks. Then, members of this global community were posting news reports from American as well other channels, clearing showing the war had only just begun and would be a long hard struggle, which may not end favourable for those who had come as liberators. The most powerful video images were posted by those who fought in the war, whether they were the soldiers themselves or the so-called insurgents. I will always remember one posting that showed very young and very terrified American soldiers holed up in a room attempting to fire out of a window at an enemy they could not see. “Where is he?” one young man cried, “Is he there, is he there? With Hosni Mubarak clinging onto power despite widespread anger at him and his whole regime, Youtube has once again come of its own. One posting that did not make onto the BBC of ITV News, but was used on Iranian-run Press TV was that of a truck running through gap in a crowd of demonstrators. This was a deliberate attempt to intimidate peaceful protestors, a fact driven home by the driver who knocked aside one man and ran over another and continued driving at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, one gets the impression that there an awful lot of these incidents and hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths before the status quo is overturned. And when it does, one suspects that Youtube will a huge part to play to giving us all the full story of this historic event. And another thing, I remember seeing a you tube posting a car accident in which the driver had simply driven onto the pavement and knocked over a pedestrian. The driver then walked out of her vehicle to look at the damage done to it. She was not prosecuted because she was a member of Russia’s elite. Incidents like this always point to a nation that is on its way down. Had Youtube been around at the time of the Cold War, perhaps the end of the Soviet Union would not have been such a shock. If Russia continues to disintegrate, as some are predicting, then Youtube postings such as this one will be used as an indicators of what was really going on behind all the bright lights and smiley faces of post-Soviet Moscow.
Posted by Nayab Chohan