Confronting The Dictators

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, at 11 PM, January 25, 2011

From Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic:

This gripping photo has been bouncing around the Internet today. If the protests of the last few days manage to extract meaningful reform from the Egyptian government, it could enter the pantheon of iconic protest images epitomized by Jeff Widener’s tank man.

Apparently, it was shot by an Egyptian Reddit user named latenightcabdriving. He posted it to the social network about five hours ago, and it already has 1883 “upvotes.”…

Though the point is fairly obvious, it should be made for posterity. The widespread availability of good digital cameras, the diffusion of the skills to operate them, and the networks to spread them as the protests are going on has given activists a potent new tactic. … No need to hope mainstream media shows up. No need to wait for tomorrow’s papers. Everything can move quickly….

Which begs some questions:

•  How much longer will Chris Johns, Editor of National Geographic, insist on keeping “amateur” photographers sequestered in the Magazine’s Your Shot ghetto?

•  When will an Editor of National Geographic use the internet to truly tap the potential of the “the widespread availablitiy of good digital cameras [and] the skills to operate them”?

•  What will convince National Geographic that our Society’s center of gravity has shifted away from 17th & M Streets?

National Geographic members aren’t mounting any mass protests, of course. They don’t need to confront the executives who are defending the status quo. Instead, millions of NGS members are simply walking away — and taking their money with them.

Who is filling the Society’s financial hole? Corporate “partners” such as Shell, Dupont, Porsche, and Lipton. You might call that a business plan, but we challenge you to call it a sustainable one.

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≡  photo by latenightcabdriving via The Atlantic

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