How Egypt's Social Media Revolution Could Spread Across the Middle East

The drama going on in the Middle East eclipses any storyline Hollywood could conjure, Oscar season or not.

Regimes of 30, 40 and 50 years are shaking at their foundations. And it is all happening in the blink of an eye.

To be clear: the visionary products created by Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Evan Williams at Twitter are foundation stones of what is becoming a regional revolution. We reserve a nod for the emir of Qatar, who brought the world Al Jazeera.

Modern day communications are undoing what decades of repression wrought.

Over 25 years of a journalistic career I have kept a close eye on the Middle East. (For those who only know my work in Hollywood, this may be confusing, but I assure you it is the case.)

Read also: Anderson Cooper Attacked in Egypt; Media Becomes a Target

And for the past 60 years or so, the regimes of the Middle East contained the widespread frustrations of their populace with a single policy: blame Israel. The semi-democratic states of Egypt and Lebanon, the dictatorial Syria and Iraq, the theocratic Iran and the despotic kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait all aimed their political fire at the Jewish state.

Israel was the villain of the modern political Arab narrative. Even in the non-Arab Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel was the way to divert attention from poverty, illiteracy, corruption and unwillingness by entrenched leaders like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to share power in any meaningful way.

The Palestinian tale of suffering made the day to day suffering of average Arabs seem bearable, and their need to maintain ethnic unity a noble -- if long-suffering -- goal.
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