People in the demographics that I most frequently encounter love to bag the internet as a facile and self-indulgent procrasturbation aid. Not always. Below is one of the extraordinary things it has passed on. Revolutions don’t happen every day – not the real, nationwide, government-toppling, epoch-forming kind. While the Egypt drama has been unfolding it seems that everyone has been waiting for it to get ugly. Finally it’s done so, with hired thugs attacking and killing protestors. When you listen to this phone call from Tahrir Square – the gunfire in the background, the activist on the line beginning to weep – it’s impossible not to feel the distance between you and Cairo telescoping to zero. “We know, everyone in this square knows, if we decided to give in now they will hunt us one by one,” she says, and I believe it. It’s only too apparent that so does she. Click the link below to play the full recording.
While on the topic of the apparent worthlessness of the internet, this comment by an activist posted on Mondoweiss is also relevant.
Internet is back and I think they will try to use FB and twitter to fight back. They know the rules of the game now…The majority in the country don’t use it ofcourse…and now everyone knows where to go…but the early days of revolution were started by group of young people who are very active on FB…but anyway even if some it started on FB…for most it was people mobilized by watching TV…they knew what was happening and participated…It did start on FB but then FB didn’t matter…after first day…after internet phones went down…it was people talking to neighbours and friends…It is a people revolution really…its about all of us…the momentum started and there was no holding back…
I doubt Zuckerberg ever considered that his invention would be turned to this purpose, but here’s a slap-down for the next person who writes off Facebook as a pointless exercise in narcissism. The Iranian uprising was heavily dependent on Twitter. We’ve all heard more than enough about Wikileaks. While most of the bandwidth may be spent on lolcats and horse porn, the internet is still the most powerful tool that we have.