Social Movements and Asymmetrical Warfare in an Information Era

In the society we are in now , in which key social structures and activities are organised around electronically processed information networks, social media becomes, as journalist Walter Lippmann said, a “pseudo-environment” critical in shaping public opinion. The entire world is able to see the asymmetrical relationship predominant in modern conflicts throughout society- notably during key events such as the crisis in Myanmar, the beating of Catalonia voters by Spanish police and police brutalisation towards African Americans in America. The infamous photograph from 1972 of the “Napalm girl”, Phan Thị Kim Phúc OOnt, caused a massive outcry and led to protests globally against U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese War, and led to huge pressure on the American government to withdraw their troops. Similarly, the photo of a drowned Syrian child, Alan Kurdi, laying in the sea, caused widespread sympathy for refugees as well as a decrease in anti-refugee rhetoric in many Western countries. This shows a close relationship between the role of media in worldly affairs. As warfare continues to evolve, the camera has become an essential weapon to be examined- particularly in how it is used in conflicts and pressure for change, both by state and non-state actors.

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