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The Worst Kind of Pandemics: the “Exception” in Politics

I chose today to talk about a specific theme: how institutions justified mass surveillance by claiming that this is an ‘exception’ under an unprecedented and truly dangerous pandemic. Therefore, this article will be divided into three parts. The first part would define the concept of ‘exception’ and give you more concrete ideas about it. The second segment would explain how mass surveillance really works and how data gathering can happen in the simplest of ways. The third and the final part will be mainly recommendations for governments and institutions on how to deal with this pandemic without the politics of exceptions

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You are under surveillance

In this digital age, our lives have become reduced to virtual communities condensed behind small screens. However, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of hours spent on our phones drastically increased due to quarantine and self-isolation. Notably, people spent most of their day on social media platforms such as Facebook which marked an increase of 27% on a user’s ‘online hours’ and Netflix which also registered an increase of 16%, as per an article written in the New York Times. 

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The Lebanese Revolution that already won

People have been protesting for more than two weeks now and the government is numb to the people’s demand. No matter what happens next, this revolution already created a series of achievements for Lebanese citizens to be proud of.

It is in those few seconds after opening your eyes and checking the news on your phone every morning for the past ten days that the truest prayers were sent. My biggest fear was waking up before dawn and realizing that the demonstrations are over, and the people full of hope went back devastated to their homes away from the streets. 

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Why did the “Gilets Jaunes” fail to use Twitter?

Helena Saadeh – Digital Data in a Societal Context – Sciences Po, Paris

Reaching their peak in November 2018, The Gilets Jaunes or Yellow Vests protested against reforms made by the government and had a list of revendications they wanted to implement. However, physical protests went beyond the streets of Paris and took part in the virtual world of Social Media, notably Twitter. The problématique for this paper “How did the Gilets Jaunes Fail to tweet their demands?” will be defended by the argument that the Gilets Jaunes’ set of revendications have shifted from raising the demands to mainly attacking President Macron, on Twitter. This research matters because throughout the years, Twitter, a more public and accessible platform, helped many other movements and revolutions to see the light such as the Egyptian revolution, the “MeToo” movement, and solidarity hashtags like recently #NotreDame or #SriLankaAttacks. This paper will study how the Gilets Jaunes, on the other hand, did not use the maximum outcome of Twitter for their pressures and demands; it will cover in depth the methods used to collect the data of the four hashtags used on the sixth of March 2019. In addition, it will highlight the findings which support the main argument of the paper and the related five academic readings. The paper will be concluded with implications and questions for further research.

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Child Marriage among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Wars change lives and leave a negative impact on people. The war in Syria led to a growing problem which is child marriage. Child marriage has been present for decades but increased dramatically as the war found its way to Syria. In fact, 400 million of the women now aged between 20 and 49 were married before the age of 18 Continue reading “Child Marriage among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon”