Quando i social media diventano strumenti di solidarietà. Nel mondo arabo. L’incontro dedicato allo sviluppo di forme di citizen journalism nel Medio Oriente riesce a sfatare in un colpo solo il mito della Rete come luogo di isolamento e virtualizzazione fine a se stessa e quello dell’arretratezza digitale dell’intera regione, che invece presenta fasi di sviluppo molto diverse tra loro.
In Giordania, ad esempio, secondo le statistiche ufficiali solamente il 30% della popolazione ha accesso a Internet. Ma le cifre, a volte, non dicono tutto. In primo luogo perché non tengono conto che nel mondo arabo internet si consuma nei luoghi pubblici. E, soprattutto, perché l’impegno di pochi può trasformarsi nel successo di molti. Un esempio? La raccolta di cibo e vestiti organizzata per il 30 dicembre 2008 da Naseem Tarawnah completamente tramite il Web. Sono bastati infatti un post sul suo blog 7iber.com – una sorta di Huffington Post del mondo arabo – e la creazione di evento su Facebook per raccogliere 40 tonnellate di aiuti destinati alla popolazione di Gaza, mobilitare centinaia di volontari e una folla tale da bloccare il traffico per ore. Il tutto il giorno prima di capodanno, sia chiaro. Una storia che merita di essere raccontata con le parole dello stesso Tarawnah:
Let me start by saying that this was meant to be a 48-hour, emergency clothes and food drive for Gaza in an attempt to get the goods across the border as quickly as possible. That was the idea. It was probably the first, or amongst the first campaigns to be launched in Jordan, and that affected the turnout immensely. With that in mind, it started as a 7iber-led campaign in partnership with the Action Committee, and via the 7iber website and the posting of a simple Facebook event, the campaign spread like wildfire. In less than 48 hours it had spread through email forwards, SMS forwards and on-air radio alerts, blogs and word-of-mouth.
On Tuesday night, the rain began to gently fall and as soon as members of our team arrived, a whole hour before the official start time, people had already begun to deliver their donation. Everything that happened after that is almost like a haze at this point. I remember people coming out no where; car after car after car. I remember the entire street outside the Cozmo area being pretty much shut down for over three hours. I remember young Jordanians of every background, people I didn’t know, hanging around on this muddy street corner, in the scattered rain, just helping load the goods on to these large red Aramex trucks. I remember the riot police, fully armed and under the impression we were demonstrating. I remember how they ended up directing traffic for us with their batons.
I remember everything being organized on-the-spot. None of us had any idea the volume of goods we would be receiving. Trucks were loaded one after the other, with young people volunteering to tag along to the Aramex warehouses to help unload the donations and send the trucks back to us empty. I remember the fog being so thick that you could hardly see the car in front of you on the way there.
I remember seeing the sheer volume of donations piled up in mountains, sprawled across the warehouse floor.
The next day was New Year’s Eve but we managed to get just enough people, arriving in different shifts throughout the day, to help sorting. This process has taken about four days as of now.
We are talking about roughly 40 tons of donations.
All collected in 48 hours, if not less.
In my opinion, this has been one of the largest and quickest mobilizations of young Jordanians working for a single cause under emergency circumstances that I have ever seen.
During those three days of sorting, I think there were hundreds of young people coming and going. They worked tirelessly and unapologetically. They didn’t complain. They worked straight from the heart.
In the past ten years, I have personally participated in at least a dozen of such events and in all honesty, I’ve never seen something quite like this before. If the lights weren’t turned off in the warehouse and people forced to go home, I think everyone was prepared to work through New Year’s Eve.
Oggi la Giordania, lo ricorda Donatella Della Ratta, viene considerata la “Silicon Valley” araba. I giovani non mancano, le idee neppure. Entro il 2011 un giordano su due potrà accedere alla Rete anche da casa. Mancano solo investimenti adeguati alla capacità creativa della Regione. Che nel frattempo, come visto, si nutrono della potenza dei social media e di uomini di buona volontà. Un binomio di cui si dovrebbe fare tesoro anche da queste parti.