Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freegypt! or How the Internet Overthrows Dictators

Well, it doesn't.
Isn't it short and simple and therefore has to be a universal truth? "No! You lie! The internet is a mighty weapon", the geeks shout with tears in their eyes, and they may have a point here and there. The internet can indeed be quite useful, but recently I've seen so much sickening news articles about how a revolution is started by Facebook, Twitter and the guardian.co.uk's comment section, I'm fed up with it. "OMG OMG Egypt stopped the internets, the protesters need internet, help them please!!!!!!1" is one of the pathetic battle cries you could read ... well, almost anywhere. Websites posted instructions on how the Egyptians can bypass the blockade, not aware of the irony, reminiscent of written ads "You can't read? Start learning it today, call 1-800 DSYLEXJA".
So, what exactly did happen after Egypt blocked the internet access? The protests got even bigger. How can that be? Following the internet communities logic, the protesters, left with no means of communication, should have just stayed home, scared and confused. But they didn't, they did what most of those internet fanboys rarely do: they went outside. They found a new subversive way of communication: They talked to each other. In person! Weird, isn't it? How did they do that? Maybe some website can explain how to communicate outside of message board posts or Facebook status updates, we could use that in a future revolution as well.
So maybe - just maybe - some people will sit down, shut the fuck up and think about revolutions that took place long before Al Gore invented the internet. Yes, they did! Look it up on Wikipedia, I'm not shitting you! Wanna hear some really crazy stuff? People actually started revolutions not only before the internet, but before mobile phones as well! It gets even crazier, they started revolutions before ANY phones were invented, even before morse code or, fuck, even printing. Remember printing? That was with ink on paper and ... oh, forget it.
For me, this is just another sign on how dependent we are on modern technology. And I'm talking dependent in a strictly mental sense. Is it just me, an old guy who grew up without the internet, to be able to think outside the box which is the monitor? Do all the young ones think that back in 1789, there was a Facebook group "Let's storm the bastille lol" that many people joined and "liked"? That Robespierre had thousands of followers on Twitter when he tweeted stuff like "#guillotine@Louis XVI"? Or just jump to a more recent event, the uprising in Eastern Germany in 1989. No internet, but a revolution similar to the events in Egypt nonetheless.
The internet makes it easier to communicate and to coordinate, sure. But to consider it the backbone of a revolution is just ridiculous. A revolution is fueled by the spirit of the people, people that actually go outside, that take their fire to the streets. Look at all the masses in Cairo. Watch them on CNN or Al-Jazeera. What do you see? Right, they are NOT in front of a computer. Imagine they were: Empty streets. No fires. No chants.  No revolution.
Those that cry for internet access are mainly the bloggers that would just report what they see from their window (provided they don't live in a basement, you know the clich├ęs). Those would not be the people to actually do something. You want change? Turn off your computer, go outside and take action.
But be warned: It won't be safe. You can't hide behind a proxy. You may have to endure hardships that go beyond a slow connection, you have to put in way more effort than it takes to press some buttons on a keyboard. You have to go outside and face other people, people that want to suppress you, and you have to look them in the eye and make your stand. People who are willing to do that are all it takes to start a revolution.

15 comments:

  1. Totally agree that a revolution is about the people's spirit and motivation. The internet just helps them organize and inform. Following you.

    Check me out at:
    KrugerRant.blogspot.com

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  2. Haha the comment about the website postings are golden. I can't understand why people are so dumb like this.

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  3. I know what you mean. People for once, are standing up for themselves. Rather than writing an angry email or letter, or just letting themselves be walked over, people are fighting back and for once saying 'No, we've had enough'

    It's great to see

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  4. Tehe long rant man. But yeah you are mostly right of course. The internet did however initially help organising the people. After the first protests that wasn't needed any more...

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  5. Entirely correct on everything
    great post, I am following you for more updates now

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  6. If the revolution won't be televised then I'll probably miss it.

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  7. The Internet is changing the game.

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  8. Al Gore invented the internet????

    Following

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  9. But but... my anonymity!? But in a ll reality you are right, wars have never and will never be won in cyber space (TRON!) but the internet does have a place in the communication of revolters. Facebook and twitter are not the places for such an event, if riots start in the states there may not be a group "riot for the lulz" but you can be assured that you will find the riots online and off. An uprising through any medium possible.

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  10. I love how the internet is becoming so increasingly relevant in the political world. I like your blog, I'll be following.

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  11. its so insane how they get away with this kinda shit

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  12. i saw a pic that shows you how to use twitter to overthrow the egyptian government.

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  13. Yeah go internet! Power to free information! Keep these posts coming.

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