Monday, August 19, 2013

The lack of civility in the "Arab spring" #wlic2013

The lack of civility in the "Arab spring" and librarians and document manager’s duties for civic literacy and librarians and document managers duties from Ahmed Ksibi (Institut Supérieur de Documentation, Tunis, Tunisia) is the next paper at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore.
The speaker noted that the "Arab spring" movement began in Tunisia and shook the Arab world. Although Tunisia is small, it has a long history and had the first constitution in the world (as Carthage). The speaker identified the demands of the young people who took part in the uprisings - to do with demands for freedom, dignity and employment and catch up with gains in other counries. Ksibi talked about the demonstrations and activisim elsewhere e.g. in Spain and in the USA, also stimulated by the worldwide economic crisis.
He said that the arab spring is now turning to a dark autumn with a "gerontocracy retrograde" taking power and increased moves from militia and facist powers.
In terms of "lack of civility" he listed elements such as the impunity of people who practised violence, uncontrolled construction, increase in pollution etc. This should be reveresed with a movement for civic literacy. There has been a previous IFLA conference on the topic of civic literacies.
It was vital to accompany the revolt with a conception of the library as contributing to civic culture. The ides of the library as the "third place" that can establish a process of dialogue and be a place of discussion was very important. There, people can engage with each other about complex public issues, in a non-partisan manner. Also there can be access to documents and data relating to civic literacies on open web sites. The full paper is at

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