Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mubarak Ho: How protesters at Cairo targeted bureaucratic hotspot -- Mugamma

Are tech-saavy IAS officers trained on dos and don'ts of internet?
THE groundbreaking social media-led revolution in Egypt that culminated in President Hosni Mubarak’s stepping down on Friday, has also witnessed another facet – paralyzing bureaucracy. During the protests, the efforts were made to block all entrances of Egypt’s imposing central administrative complex, Mugamma el-Tahrir.
Smart, young protesters were aware of the fact that they needed to cripple bureaucracy if they wanted their voice to be heard. So Mugamma that houses 14 government departments with about 18,000 employees working there, remained the target during the protests that began on January 25, 2011.
The Mugamma, the hotbed of Egypt’s bureaucracy, remained shut for first 14 days of protests before it was partially opened on last Sunday when bureaucrats were asked to take the back-door entrance to avoid wrath of the protesters.
According to media reports including one by AFP, the Mugamma over the years has become a symbol of the heavy burden that bureaucracy imposes on Egyptians in their everyday life. This 13-storey government building at Cairo was the main setting for the 1992 movie comedy “Terrorism and Kebab” with a focus on corruption. The lead character of the movie inadvertently ends up taking the mammoth building hostage.
Have these young IAS probationers (picture on top) who met Indian Prime Minister and Vice President in New Delhi, adequately been trained to tackle any crisis including new-age protests through Facebook, Twitter and Blogs? It’s the time the IAS Academy at Mussorie must emphasize on a few training modules on social media!

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