08 April 2009

Youth, Twitter and getting your voice heard

... in Republic of Moldova.
On Sunday April 5th national elections took place.
On Monday the first results from the polls were giving the Communist Party as winner. Monday evening, a spontaneous action by young people took place in Piata Marii Adunari Nationale - Great National Assembly Square (PMAN) as they were protesting against the prospective of a continuous Communist regime. Participants sent text messengers on the phones but also on Twitter to let each other know about it. When they return from the protest one of them had the idea of using tag #pman in their tweets to let each other and their friends know about what was going on in the PMAN.
The next day more than 10,000 people were taking part in the protest. At one point violence started in the physical PMAN as some participants were forcing the entrance and interestingly enough succeeding in "winning" the Parliament and Presidency buildings. News, links and comments were sent on #pman mostly by people trying to find out what was going on in the square. From time to time some of the users were translating the tweets in English. Most of the Moldava's mass media channels are dependent of the Government and the only news about what was happening in PMAN was broadcast very late and substantially transform to reflect a certain part of the story (the violence and the impertinence of youth). The Internet was partially censured.

Since its beginning 2 days ago #pman was used in more than 9000 tweets. People around the world followed it but also learned about how uprising was organized with Twiter, Moldova's Twitter Revolution or how in Moldavia, Twitter won the battle with classic media channels. People from different parts of Europe were supporting the PMAN movements by organizing street protests in Bucharest (and many other cities in Romania), Paris, London, Brussels.

Interestingly enough on Wednesday, when in the square there were 5000 people the #pman became a hit on Twitter and several aggregates came about: pman.cloudapp.net, www.mybot.ro/pman. The Support Moldova group on Facebook has 5400 members (in less that 2 days). People everywhere were encouraging the Moldavians to fight against Communism. Often times I saw these messages addressed to Young Moldavian because they are said to have started this.

To leave you with a glimpse of what it can mean to be a young person learning to speak your mind in Moldavia today, I'll post here the first official statement of the people from PMAN (that I found, of course, on #pman)

We are many, we are young, we are united! We will go all the way!
You cannot control us!

We are sick of suffering a totalitarian regime, supported by fear and terror!
Communism is guilty of the biggest genocide in history!
We do not want to be lead by those who killed and deported our parents and grandparents!

We ask for President Voronin's resignation and the outlawing of the criminal Communist Party!
We do not want extreme solutions - we ask for the President's trial under the Constitution! We are doing no one's politics, and are paid by no one!
We have no political color - we are pure and transparent!
Down with the communist magnates who send us to work on the black market and steal our money right from the Western Union office!
The luxury furniture and the hardwood floors in the Presidency and the Parliament are bought from money exchange fee!

We do not want to go to Italy, Portugal or Spain!
We do not want to go to Canada or Moscow! We want to work and be paid in our own country!
We want a state grounded in respect and trust, not in fear and blackmail!

Down with the fear, Moldavians!

Tonight the official result of the elections was announced and the Communist Party won but with less than what was announced 2 days ago. At 10AM (2PM our time) the protests are schedule to continue on PMAN. You can follow what is going on following #pman.

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting. My friends and I have been having long debates about the value (or lack of value) in something like Twitter. I will have to show them this-thanks!