Travel Map

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Days of Darkness

28 January, 2011

The internet and sms service has been cut off all over the country.  In an attempt to quell the coming rebellion, the government has supplied the people with more evidence of the totalitarian regime that has run it’s course and is floundering on life support.  Now people are cut off from communicating online and will be forced to meet in public to discuss strategies- it seems the government’s plan may backfire. 

The expats I’ve talked to have discussed the ramifications of life without internet (for the coming weekend anyway) and we are left without a way to contact our families or many of our friends.  We don’t know how to access news or information.  Without the internet, we are lost.  Our dependency on technology becomes glaringly apparent and overwhelmingly frightening.  How do we book plane tickets home if the protests reach an unfathomable crescendo?  How do we call each other if, as rumor has it, all cell service is suspended?  For many of us, it’s a return to the days of our childhood, where people called landlines from other landlines and didn’t have total access to friends and family.  What was that like?  I can barely remember…

Today is rumored to be the biggest day of protest yet.  People have already lost their lives in hopes of changing the 30 year regime of President Mubarak.  As an outsider, I wish them luck.  I also feel I have no place in the protests and am staying out of it as much as I can.  What will the weekend bring?  Will Egypt really conclude with a change in government like neighboring Tunisia?  What about Lebanon?  Yemen?  When we get the internet I’ll check. 

Most of us will wait out the weekend in a technology blackout.  I wish you luck, my Egyptian friends.

Now our cell phones are cut off. Hamdoulillah we have a land line but I don't have anyone to call from it anyway. We've made the best of it so far. Friends hanging out, making brownies, watching movies: it feels like a holiday. I know we'll get tired of it when we actually want to accomplish something but for now it's like a snow day with out the cold. Thank goodness it's a weekend and classes haven't started yet. I don't feel anxious about missing anything. I do wish we had a way to find out what was going on in Tahrir without going there.


Part II

23 hours without internet. At least 16 hours without cell phones.  We took a walk around to see Maadi and if the protests are expanding.  We found out a curfew was put in place from 6pm to 7am tomorrow.  We hurried home and plugged in the tv so we have some way of being informed.   Things appear to be escalating out in Al Qahira... We keep hearing noises that sound like gunfire- far away but distinct. Supposedly the police are firing live rounds at protesters now. There were tanks entering the city a few hours ago.  Definitely hearing gunfire near the house.  People are pretty jazzed up; we saw a police truck on fire on the way home in Maadi.  Rumors are that the government has captured El Baradei in hopes of taking the wind out of the protests.   No official word on the location of Mubarak. 

Tomorrow we’re going to attempt to find international pay phones.  If the news in the US is anything like the news here, our parents must be completely frantic- especially without any word from us.  Insha’allah we’ll be able to get through. 

A little worried about what the morning will reveal…

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