GlobalVoices is doing a great job covering what’s happening in Egypt btw. Mubarak has cut off all access to the internet. He has closed banks and ATMs are running out of money. Medicine and food is beginning to run low. He shut down the trains and the water supply. I’ve heard from friends who have family in Egypt that many of the looters were actually Mubarak secret police trying to frighten people into going home. He’s trying to starve and terrify them but it’s not working. Despite all this Tahrir Square is filled with people attending the Million Person March saying they want change. There is, however, a real humanitarian situation occurring in Egypt that is going unreported here in the U.S. where the media has become more focused on the efforts of Americans in the region to leave or if you’re watching Fox News, whether or not Egypt will be taken over by Al Qaeda. Oh yeah, and I guess it’s going to snow again? (sorry, brief pause while I roll my eyes forward from the back of my head…)
From GlobalVoice, tweets from those communicating with folks inside Egypt:
@Alshaheeed #Mubarak plan now is to depend on Egyptians getting tired & hungry for food & security. #Jan25 #Egypt Our plan is to survive. We’r younger
Despite the bleakness, there is a flicker of light, as Egyptians come together in their resolve to throw their dictator.
@MoatazMedhat An Egyptian citizen donates 7000 L.E. (A lump sum in Egypt) to buy food for protesters in Tahrir (liberation) Square. #Egypt #jan25
More tweets of shortages continue:
@AlyaaGad People need food, money and medical help! People have no access to basic life needs in #Egypt right now. SOS shituation! #Jan25
@ctrinity Water cut off and food supply in #Egypt running low. The injured can’t be properly treated. No comm. #Egypt under siege. Speak now! #Jan25
But the attitude remains upbeat:
@HB_1_2011: people are euphoric in egypt, and willing to sacrifice with food and money so the regime would go #jan25 #egypt
Showing a bit more bravery than the Obama Administration, Google and Twitter actually worked this weekend to provide people in Egypt a voice using SpeakToTweet. Again from GlobalVoices, which analyzed some of the tweets last night ahead of the march:
This evening, following the total Internet blackout in Egypt, Google and Twitter (along with SayNow, a company recently acquired by Google) made a timely announcement: that they were jointly launching SpeaktoTweet, a service that would allow Egyptians to call an international number and record a voice message that would then be tweeted from the Twitter account @speak2tweet. All evening, recordings have been popping up on the Twitter account from Egyptians who have had the chance to learn about the service. Because of the total Internet ban, Egyptians on the ground have presumably learned about the service from phone calls to and from friends and family outside of the country.
Hi, this is Mona from Cairo, I just wanted to let the world know that we have been disconnected from our last point of communication through the Internet and there’s a strong word going around that we will again be disconnected from mobile phone calls. So, I wanted everyone to know in case you don’t get any feedback from what’s happening tomorrow, and I didn’t want anyone to worry about us.
They did this before, the only difference is the last when time they did this I was completely freaked out; I was so scared that they were going to shoot us all and nobody would know about us. This time, I’m not scared at all, I feel as if, like, I want to tell them ‘bring it on!’ We are excited, we are happy, we are going to be in Tahrir Square tomorrow, we are going to be huge, and we are going to do our march and do our protest and Mubarak is going out.
[sigh] Be with us! Bye bye.
Most of the calls are made anonymously, without the speaker identifying him or herself. Another call from Egypt, available here, is as follows:
Tomorrow, history will be made. Tomorrow, we will make history. Tomorrow, the Mubarak regime will be over. Tomorrow, we want you out of our country. Long live Egypt.
Egyptians outside of the country have also taken advantage of the service to have their message heard by the world. One such user, who self-identifies as Egyptian-American, spoke:
…You are making us so proud, you are making us so so proud in America. Stay strong, Egyptians, stay strong, we love you here. This is an Egyptian-American and talking for all of the Egyptian-Americans who emigrated here because of the brutal regime, stand strong: you’re making us so proud. Free Egypt. I love you! [Egypt, mother of the world].
Anyone can take advantage of the service by calling one of the following international numbers and leaving a voicemail: +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855. Their message will be automatically tweeted at @Speak2Tweet.
Mona — the American people ARE with you. We are watching and we are rooting for you. Our leaders may play footsie with dictators at times and our conservatives may shudder at the thought of the people exerting their will if it’s inconvenient or scary for Glenn Beck. But ordinary citizens here want the same things that ordinary citizens in Egypt want — freedom of speech, of worship, from want, from fear. And let this be a lesson to leaders worldwide — if you cannot provide at least these basic four freedoms (thanks FDR), we now have the tools and the strength to drive change. And if you try to take away those tools — we will create new ones. Dictators beware — we will fight you here and we will fight you there and everywhere.
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