Dumbing Down or Reaching Out? Facebook in Kurdistan and Nasser Razazi

Proceedings of The International Conference on Future of Social Sciences and Humanities

Year: 2019

DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.33422/fshconf.2019.06.342

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Dumbing Down or Reaching Out? Facebook in Kurdistan and Nasser Razazi

Ehsan Shahghasemi



There has been much debate on how Web 2 technologies and social media have contributed in empowering the disempowered. Over the last decade, Kurdish people have widely used social media as means against external and internal threats. As such, many have begun speculating that social media have provided a platform for doing the unthinkable, namely, creating a harmonious, integrated, and independent Kurdistan. Yet, there are alternative perspectives which although acknowledge the emancipatory benefits of social media and Web 2 technologies, are cautious that popularization of debates may marginalize the authentic and more sophisticated leaders of thoughts. After giving insights on how Facebook has been received among Kurds, this paper will study different trajectories of online debate in the case of Nasser Razazi’s recent assertions. In these assertions, Razazi who is an iconic Kurdish singer and former member of a Kurdish rebel group in Iran had criticized Kurdish parties and said he no longer favored independence from Iran. As a result, thousands of Facebook users of Kurdish background participated in online debates on his position. Here, I conducted a mixed-method study on a sample of 217 comments by users on some pages and posts regarding Razazi’s recent assertions and showed how Facebook debates in Kurdistan might contribute to a “dumbing down” process, or, help Kurdish people to build a working civil society.

Keywords: Dumbing Down; Kurdish Culture; Nasser Razazi; Social Network.