WHEN the people of Tunisia took to the streets to topple the corrupt dictatorship of Zine Ben Ali, there was a tourist in the crowd who had more than a passing interest in how the events were unfolding.
Psychologist Dr Chris Cocking was on holiday in the north African country when the revolution began. But for the London Metropolitan University lecturer, watching Tunisians call for a fresh start was not only uplifting in terms of seeing a people rise up in the name of freedom – it was interesting from the point of view of his current research, too.
The academic found himself in the midst of revolution in the Middle East as he conducts
new research in the psychology of crowd behaviour. So rather than cower in a hotel room, he went to investigate.
“We found ourselves caught up in a couple of riots,” he explains – and while this may sound like a daunting experience, for Dr Cocking, the behaviour of the crowds confirmed his theory of how humans act when large groups find themselves in potential danger.
“Despite press reports, we felt safe,” he says. “The only time we felt concerned was when the police arrived and people scattered.
“People spoke to us, and we found that not only were they not threatening, many were coming up to reassure us – to explain why they were targeting certain buildings and not others, and give their view of the president.
“It gave me first-hand evidence as to how crowds are reported compared to the reality on the ground. I have to take issue with the media [because] they pursued an angle – “terrified British holidaymakers caught up in the middle of a revolution” – that buys into outdated views not only of how crowds behave, but also ignores how people are more resilient in the face of adversity than they are given credit for.
“This reflects a deeply pathological view of crowds pervasive in social discourse, but not supported by evidence.”
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.