My colleague David Phillips maintains (as his comments on here show) that e-communication is the future, I remain sceptical; however there are glimmers of hope that his brave new world may yet be a reality.
An interesting article in the FT highlights the growing number of activists in the undemocratic regimes of the Middle East are using their blogs to highlight inequalities in society, call for reforms and, importantly, get more people interested in the issues. They see that too many people are focusing on the bread and butter issues and not looking to the real reasons of social problems: the oligarchic nature of the state.
While in its infancy the movement could just build up to the proportions the anti-capitalist movement had in the early to mid 1990s, one that could gather momentum and carve an alternative future for the region. They take great risks in the open dissent, but their presence remains and grows: are they the new face of Middle Eastern politics who are embracing new technologies, cultures and ideas (if you understand Arabic have a look at some ideas and follow a few links) its inspiring stuff!