From clicktivism to blood and guts politics

Paul Conroy, the Welsh photojournalist injured during a Syrian army missile attack in Homs in which fellow journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik were killed, has been smuggled out of the country by activists organised by Avaaz. Thirteen of those rescuers lost their lives in repeated mortar shelling between Homs and the Lebanese border.

And now the attention turns to Avaaz itself. A largely online community which raises global petitions on issues of interest to those mostly of a left wing persuasion, Avaaz has been derided by armchair cynics for its “clicktivism” – defined as a lazy form of protest that demands nothing more than a few mouse clicks.

The Guardian’s Julian Borger notes that Avaaz’s critics are now asking…

“…whether a group that started out in the high-tech safety of the internet has found itself out of its depth in a brutal conflict in the real world.”

Damned if they don’t, and damned when they do.