The Internet has been an important part of the efforts by protesters during 2011’s “Arab Spring” events across the Middle East, allowing citizens to pass information back and forth and organize rallies.
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have been instrumental in sharing information about protests and government crackdowns in several countries with the rest of the world, which has helped reform movements in those places to catch on and enact serious political change in many cases.
But for the first time, a revolutionary movement is turning to the iPhone for help with protests.
A new app out of Syria might be the first of its kind. An effort to battle government censorship of news events coming out of the country about political upheaval, the app Souria Wa Bas provides users with news from protesters in the country that they might not be able to get anywhere else, without requiring them to necessarily have access to a computer to check the Internet.
According to a story from The Daily Beast, the app’s creators say Souria Wa Bas is mean to counter “deliberate attempts to distort facts” and that it compiles the most important news it can from Syrian news sources. Among the information on offer are maps of locations where protests are heavy, news articles, videos from events taking place around the country and even jokes to lighten the mood.
But it seems as though the advent of the Syrian revolution app is an important one. The government crackdown in the country has been vicious, The Daily Beast reports, with the United Nations estimating that more than 3,500 people have been killed since March. But the protest movement isn’t slowing down in Syria; it may, in fact, be picking up steam. Making and keeping information readily available through instruments like iPhones may be key to maintaining that momentum, as well as helpful in keeping people safe.
If nothing else, the use of an iPhone app demonstrates what a dynamic tool Apple’s smartphone can be. Coupled with the power of the Internet to help organize people, Apple’s device continues to have major impacts on people’s lives. Hopefully the iPhone and its apps may help people in Syria stay safe during the dangerous times in which they are engaged.