- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
It’s certainly debatable whether last week’s events in Tunisia were a “Twitter revolution,” but at least one Twitter revolutionary has not joined the country’s government. Slim Amamou, a pro-democracy blogger and Tweeter, who was arrested during last week’s demonstrations, has joined the new cabinet as State Secretary of Youth and Sports. Amamou is a self-described member of the Pirate Party, the Swedish-founded but now international political movement dedicated to Internet transparency and opposing intellectual property laws. TorrentFreak has more:
Amamou has been appointed as State Secretary for Sports and Youth, and his appointment is most likely the result of his good reputation in the online community, which played an important role in the revolution that unfolded in Tunisia.
On Twitter Amamou, who runs a team of software developers at his company Alixys, describes himself as “against censorship, against the intellectual property rights, for net neutrality,” all topics that are dear to Pirate Parties worldwide.
TorrentFreak has been briefly in touch with Amamou, who is understandably very excited about this appointment, and we will conduct an exclusive feature interview with him in the days to come. Meanwhile, we congratulate all the Tunisians who stood up for their rights, both on- and offline, and hope that their strength leads to a better future.
The Pirate Party, in its Swedish and Swiss incarnations, has also been a valuable ally for WikiLeaks, providing it with server space and web-hosting. It’s certainly not clear that Amamou will be able to advocate Pirate Party positions from his ministry — or how long this government will even last following the defection of three ministers today — but his appointment does seem to be a sign that the Tunisian authorities take the online opposition movement pretty seriously. His influence on that community may turn out to be limited, as a number of his onetime compatriots have since attacked him for joining the unpopular new unity government.
In any event, Amamou is certainly the world’s current highest-ranking Pirate Party politician, however long he lasts.