While the Egyptian authorities have sought to disrupt the country's communications through turning off internet traffic, people in Egypt are able to post a 'voice tweet', writes Khadija Sharife.
Al Jazeera says: "With the internet blackout still hindering access for most people in Egypt, a new service could help circumvent those obstacles. Now, people inside Egypt can call a number to post a 'voice tweet'.
"Call +16504194196, +390662207294 or +97316199855 to leave a tweet and hear tweets."
From Twitter use Telecomix (referring to net connection mentioned below): "French ISP FDN told us the modem connections being tweeted around were used 1-2 times every 2-3 minutes."
Egypt stands on the brink of a revolution against the dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak, long since propped up by foreign military aid. The US, supplier of said foreign aid (about $1.3 billion plus annually) in exchange for backing Israel and geostrategically checking the Palestinians, calls Egypt a "stabilizing force," enabling aid, for the past three decades, to sustain Mubarak's regime.
For this reason, Omar Suleiman, Egypt's pro-Israeli intelligence chief, has been elevated to the position of vice president. Israel remains the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, not difficult to understand given that the GCC oil-producing states, allied to the US and Israel, depend on the latter to keep another regional power -- Iran -- marginalized (confirmed in recent leaked cables). Failure to do so would result in a large number of corrupt GCC royal families and political elites being kicked to the curb. Democracy in the MENA region begins with Egypt, straddling these realities. By killing democracy not only within Egypt, but also Palestine through undermining the democratically-elected party -- Hamas -- Egypt is able to "legitimately" quash (as an African-Arab power) the aspirations of the peoples inhabiting these regions. The issue is not whether those outside of Palestine support those elected by Palestinians but whether democracy is only relevant when the choice of the people supports the U.S.'s agenda. History tells us that democracy in Egypt, Palestine and others would be the "destabilizing" force upending the power of the U.S.'s military battleship -- Israel. Instead, the U.S. prefers "reform" within the established system to prevent any anti-Israeli movements from coming into power. Tunisia may been instrumental in waking the giant next door, but as leaked cables confirm, the U.S. government does not perceive Tunisia's dictator-president Ben Ali as an ally -- rather, even as an "old friend," he represented a problem.
More than ever, the internet remains a crucial vehicle of sustaining and transmitting resistance by allowing for Egyptians to "network the world" about the machinery of Mubarak's brutal regime. While it is not technology that has given life to the revolution but Egyptians themselves, catalyzed in part by their Tunisian neighbors, access is fundamental (hence, blackout). For those able to access, they can connect to the internet (I've heard) via traditional phone lines using the following instructions: French ISP FDN (free world dial-up) to access the Internet anonymously at the following number: 33172890150 with login: toto and password: toto.
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* Khadija Sharife is the southern Africa correspondent for The Africa Report magazine and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) based in South Africa.
* This article was first published by The Huffington Post.
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