Sunday, February 20, 2011

Middle East Protest Continues

 Egypt struck a match that started a fire that has spread throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East. In truth, there are some broad common strands: each country has a young population with a significant, well-educated segment and many people looking for work. In Libya, news reports say security forces fired shots to disperse a crowd gathered in Benghazi. Bahrain, thousands of opposition protesters moved back into Pearl Square in the capital, Manama. In Yemen, at least one protester was reported killed

Protests have also taken place in Iran, Djibouti, and Algeria. Hosni Mubarak's departure from power earlier this month after three decades of rule showed that the power of social media sites.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In the early hours, the government cracked down on Internet providers, snapping all international access on the worldwide web, going far beyond impairing Facebook and Twitter, the social media networks that have been used by the young to organize protests. Renesys, an American company that analyses Internet data traffic, said the shutdown was the biggest since the Internet's inception.

The nation's four main Internet providers all went dark, and cell phone service was suspended in some areas. But the drastic move did not stop demonstrators, and it could backfire by fueling anger and chaos in the streets of Cairo and beyond. Starting at 10:12 p.m. local time on Thursday night, Telecom Egypt went dark, followed by the four remaining main carriers over the next 13 minutes, by 10:25 p.m., the country no longer existed on the Internet.

While Egypt severed all of its cellphone and Internet connections, fixed lines were working, one of the few means, beyond satellite phone and ham radio, to reach the country. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.