Technology means age of dictators over-Ebadi

Wed Feb 2, 2011 11:42pm GMT
 

* Middle East unrest could spread to Iran

* Technology pivotal in mobilising opposition

By Caroline Copley

LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi said on Wednesday the rise of communication technology in organising political protest meant dictators would no longer be able to sleep soundly at night.

Referring to demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and an uprising last month in Tunisia, Ebadi said however pro-democracy protesters should be aware that while dictators could be ousted, others could take their place.

Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for efforts to promote human rights, said technology played a central role in bringing activists together and raised political awareness.

"So, I can tell you that thanks to technology dictators can't get a good night's sleep."

She said unrest spreading across the Middle East was bubbling under the surface in Iran.

"As to what is going to happen in the future it is too early to say. But I can say the people in Iran are extremely unhappy with the current situation," she said. "Iran is like the fire underneath the ashes and the ashes can suddenly make way for the fire at the slightest event."

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

 
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