This really bothers me. Bringing Egypt’s networks down was bad enough, but a sense of self preservation still seemed present while ISP Noor was still up — the banks and stock exchanges were on that, so it made sense that it was spared. But that it also went off the net days later, just before the #millionmarch doesn’t seem coincidental to me.
I hope I am wrong and I hope nothing disastrous (except to Mubarak’s government) happens during this march. It is 9 pm Monday as I write this so it is almost 7am there now. I am watching the twitter feed, but there doesn’t seem to be any activity yet. I’ve just seen this tweet: Protestors will march toward presidential palace today. Will anyone try to stop them? https://bit.ly/foC6LP #jan25. That links to this Egypt prepares for Million Person March. That indicates the march is to begin at 9 am local time, two hours from now (I usually write my posts the night before I publish them; but events are moving fast enough here for the delay to be noticeable.)
Mubarak’s government also shut down trains and mobile phones, most likely to try and disrupt gathering for the march on Feb 1st. Al Jazeera’s live feed shows plenty of crowd action there at this point, though.
Adding this this morning:
Here’s a clip of the beginning of the march:
You can also watch Al Jazeera on YouTube here, but it’s pretty much for hearing people only.
Response to Noor’s fall was swift. Google set up @speak2tweet, which posts links to the audioclips of the messages automatically to twitter. This has spawned a massively awesome crowdsourcing project (the spreadsheet is here) that is drawing on everyone who can help, even for a file or two, with transcribing the calls into whatever language the call is in, and then making sure there are translations into Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. There’s even a video of this showing how staggeringly fast this process is coming along: Incredible: Watch volunteers translate Egyptian phone messages into tweets.
In the midst of all this, there’s calls for corporates to stand up: Twitter and Facebook, step up: Egypt protests raise bar on corporate responsibility. (Hey if we made them legal persons, they can damn well grow a conscience and protest in the streets — even virtual — with the rest of us!) I’d say Google and Twitter are doing some good stuff (esp as above). Facebook has stayed pretty quiet as far as I can see, although I know it is (or has been) used quite a bit for organizing.
Egypt: Avaaz.org and Tor team up to fight the Internet blackout, you can help with donations to Tor, which will allow them to set up more relay points in the network, increasing both the security and their ability to handle the traffic coming through Tor which as you can imagine has skyrocketed this past week. Foreign activists stay covered online details this and the work the Tor project does.
For the past few days, the main source of (more traditional) media news about Egypt has been Al Jazeera. That simple fact must be making a lot of teeth grind in various government departments in the U.S., which has previously falsely accused the network of war crimes, among other things. Washington’s Sudden Embrace of Al Jazeera Won’t Erase Past US Crimes Against the Network.
“We are concerned by the shutdown of Al Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents,” State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley tweeted. “Egypt must be open and the reporters released.”
Crowley, if you will remember, was soundly skewered recently in an AJE where it was made quite clear he had no idea what he was talking about (EGYPT: Al Jazeera Strips the Bark Off of State’s P.J. Crowley, among others). Tragically, I haven’t yet located a transcript, but from all accounts it was quite something to watch. In any case, suddenly everyone, including the Obama administration, is watching Al Jazeera. But most are livestreaming it through their computers because Al Jazeera is not carried by most U.S. cable companies. It’s quite a turn around from the early 2000’s where the Bush administration tended to bomb Al Jazeera’s buildings in passing and so on.
I have no good words to describe this piece of eloquence and understated passion (other than that I wish I could write like this) so go over here right now and read this: ‘Welcome to the lions of Almaza’: Neighborhood patrols defend a Cairo in flux.
On a lighter note, this mashup by @furrygirl made me laugh: What’s Happening in Egypt, the Action Movie Explainer: “Raiders of the Lost Mubarak”. Especially after @exiledsurfer and I recast all of #Egypt into Dune after I tweeted about Air Force cadets expelled for using “spice”…
And finally, an awesome collection of protest posters from around the world — you must look through this: The Best Egypt Protest Signs From Around The World. It doesn’t contain my all time favorite one, though, which I used above 🙂