Dear Commons Community,
The demonstrations in Egypt and the recent violence is being very well reported in all the media. Young college graduates are leading these demonstrations by using social networking (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) to communicate and organize. The NY Times has a story today that “President Hosni Mubarak has cut off Internet access and in doing so….has betrayed his own fear — that Facebook, Twitter, laptops and smartphones could empower his opponents, expose his weakness to the world and topple his regime. “ The article mentions other acts of large-scale demonstrations in Tunisia and Iran that also relied on Internet communications. The article goes on to say that while the regime in Tunisia was toppled, the regime in Iran quelled the demonstrations and has since been using Internet tools to monitor anti-government activity.
I had the good fortune to visit Egypt last April. It was a special experience given its history and culture. But in conversations with my tour guides (all Egyptians) , it was evident that the economy does not produce enough professional positions for college/university graduates. One of my guides, about 35 years old who had a college degree, indicate that he needed to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. He also indicated that this was the norm for most young people.
Let’s hope for a peaceful and democratic resolution.
The people of Egypt are following a long recognized process that a society does when the general public feels powerless, impoverished, and hopeless. The arrogance of Mubarak is unbelievable. He now speaks about caring about the people that he has kept close to starvation, with no rights, or the ability to pursue a future. Given the right leadership, this country was located in an environment that could have been has financially and socially successful as any EU country.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my blog posting. Your comments are well-taken. Egypt indeed has the social and financial potential to be most successfull but in addition to poor leadership, violence in and around it has inhibited its development.
I’m not sure how a peaceful and a democratic solution is possible. Remember, we’re talking about a dictatorship regime!
I was hopeful that there would be a peaceful solution to this but after the last couple of days, I too have concerns.
Thanks for posting to my blog.
I first learned about the internet cut-off from this interesting blog:
Gotta admit to spending a good part of this weekend transfixed by Al Jazeera’s coverage. Some how, it brought to mind Richard Power’s excellent novel “Plowing the Dark” where he describes the collape of the Soviet Block from a computer guy’s point of view.