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Friday, January 28, 2011

In the Words of An Egyptian Just Now By Landline: 'Just Make Sure Everyone Knows We Are Cut Off From the World'

Posted by on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I just spoke by landline to my friend who is in Alexandria. She had so much to say, and all of it is worth hearing and spreading, so I will post it in its entirety.

She was near tears the entire time, and she is scared and exhausted but exhilarated. This is the story of a woman turned political by circumstance.

I was out there today in the streets and it was perfect, it was perfect. We walked almost 20 kilometers together and it was safe and it was pacific, and it was okay. It was okay.

This is huge. They have cut off our mobiles and cut off our internet. I don't know how it will end. I am so overwhelmed.

The people are welcoming the army, and I don't know, we are waiting. Aside from cutting us off from the rest of the world, I don't know why they don't take any action. The [Egyptian] media is full of lies. There was no Brotherhood activity, no Islamic thing, no party—we were us, we were us. We were chanting, "We are one."

This day, it was the best day of my life, seriously. I felt so safe among Egyptians. These reports of sexual harassment, there was none, absolutely none. Guys were so protective of women, making sure they were not at the edges of the protest, making sure they were safe.

We were promised that this asshole will give a speech. The weird part is we didn't see any police. So, where is the system? There is no police, no ministry, no president, where is the system?

Just make sure everyone knows we are cut off from the world.

I mean, this is my first time in the street, and I know many, many, many people like me. But if they even ignore my little request and cut off my mobile and internet, and treat me like shit, what do they expect? I mean, they cut us off from the rest of the world, and what are they expecting people to do? I will take to the streets!


Comments (35) RSS

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Very upsetting but what is going on at the Glass Museum? Lay offs?
Posted by tjones on January 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
I have two friends working as teachers in Alexandria. One of them is outside of Egypt, but the other (his wife) is there right now. I think school has been canceled but I'm not sure...
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
judgmentalist 3
My ex-boyfriend is in Cairo. We've been worried. He only has internet for communication. Did she call you from a landline? I know everything else has been cut off.
Posted by judgmentalist on January 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 4
To clarify, one of my friends traveled to a conference in another country - he's out of Egypt only temporarily. (At least, the plan was to be gone temporarily..)
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Vince 5
Every time we prop up a dictator in the name of stability, this is what we get, chaos. We're doing it all over the place, as if we never fucking learn. We're doing it in Afghanistan, too. Karzai is not legit. We know it, yet we prop him up.
Posted by Vince on January 28, 2011 at 11:23 AM · Report this
I'd say Mubarak's on his way out, and we're looking at $4 gas by Easter.
Posted by tiktok on January 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. My thoughts are with her right now.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM · Report this
What @ 7 Said!

Posted by Awesome post Jen on January 28, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 9
Just heard from my friend (he's in Qatar) - he talked to his wife on the phone (landlines are up and running, @ 3) and things are calm in her part of Alexandria. Whew! (For the moment.) He's not certain he'll be able to return this weekend as planned...
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Rotten666 10
I'm rooting for these people. Everyone is so quick to start making comparisons to Iran in 1979 (?), but anytime I see people taking to streets and putting their lives on the line for liberty it makes me so goddamn happy i could cry.
Posted by Rotten666 on January 28, 2011 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Bauhaus I 11
Everyone is entitled to self-determination. I firmly believe that. And we know Egypt is far from democratic. But I get a little uneasy when people from more moderate Arab/Islamic countries start revolting. I am leery of what might come in to replace what is currently in power.

I suppose anyone who remembers Iran in 1979 has the same apprehension. That, too, started as an uprising for democracy.

That said, power to the people.
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 28, 2011 at 11:44 AM · Report this
DOUG. 12
The revolution will not be Tweeted.
Posted by DOUG. on January 28, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 13
Yes, thanks for posting...

Have to say, this sort of thing (cutting off mobiles & internet to interfere with protesters) is exactly why I get squicked out by the idea of the US President having an "internet kill switch."
Posted by Julie in Eugene on January 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this

The are literally now in BFE.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 28, 2011 at 11:51 AM · Report this
Callie 15
@14 - Heh.
Jen, it is so amazing that you are able to get these first hand accounts. Thank you for sharing.
Posted by Callie on January 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Thanks for this posting, sweet Jen. Truly, America doesn't side with that Joey bin Biden, the VP who claims to be a dem when he falsely claims that Mubarak isn't a dictator-for-life (and Karzai isn't running a Narco State, and in Uzbekistan, also a recipient of US military-oriented foreign aid, the opposing presidential candidates are routinely boiled alive).

But that Internet Kill Switch is actually available to many, not simply The State.

I saw this posting elsewhere which explains it, but must sternly warn everyone not try this at home:

"OK, now a lot of people have been wondering how Egypt managed to isolate itself on the Web. There are principally two ways this is done, first physically forcing the individual ISPs (ASN level) to halt all in and out-going IP traffic, but the second way is probably how they accomplished it. Let this be a warning to all who try.

They would have had the site which is their top-domain registry, or .eg registry, perform editing of their country's web sites by removing the terminating "." to DNS records in the .eg zone.

(That is, deleting the "." following the lower level sites, indicating no ".eg" was to follow.)

As an example, were one to evilly hack into Sweden's .se country registry (, and remove the terminating "." after the main ASN sites, no IP traffic would be incoming or outgoing for that country.

As an example, were one to evilly hack into the United Kingdom's .uk country registry (, and remove the terminating "." after the main ASN sites, no IP traffic would be incoming or outgoing for that country.

As an example, were one to evilly hack into Switzerland's .ch country registry (, and remove the terminating "." after the main ASN sites, no IP traffic would be incoming or outgoing for that country.

Now, this is assuredly against the law, so be warned not do undertake any such operation --- even if the global banking elite manages to have Assange of Wikileaks illegally extradited to Sweden to be later removed to some extreme rendition site."

Posted by sgt_doom on January 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM · Report this
venomlash 17
sgt_doom, people would take you more seriously if you didn't use hyperbole 500 million times a day.
2011 Middle East is starting to look like 1848 Europe.
Posted by venomlash on January 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM · Report this
# 17, sonny or dearie,

I'm not here to be taken seriously, just to be read by the appropriate parties, which you are obviously not one of.

As long as the Council on Foreign Affairs continues -- with the help of the Elliott Bay Book Company -- politically and morally indifferent they may be -- to ship misinformation specialists to the Seattle Town Hall to give BS disinformation talks designed to confuse and bewilder (pseudo-feminist Elizabeth Coleman, pseudo-liberal and total Wall Street shill and neocon, Allison Stanger, et al.), correct information should be disseminated.

That's what we be here for, nebulous and arbitrary ones.
Posted by sgt_doom on January 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this
@16: Actually the first way is how they did it. The government pretty much controls all the ISP's.
Posted by bigyaz on January 28, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 20
Everyone knows.

It's the main discussion point in the hallways at Davos, on WaPo, and the ruling elites are starting to realize that killing kids won't save them.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Dougsf 21
Basic question here: What are the ideals of the predominant culture that opposes the current Egyptian regime? I realize there are many who probably feel "it's time for something else"—should they have their way, would we just cross our fingers over who fills the vacuum, or is there an org movement here?

I know the sparks that lit this fuse have all been reported—inflated prices of the staples, discontent with corruption, etc., but is this simply a student uprising that's gained momentum, or are we talking about deeply politically motivated people? Corruption alone rarely causes unrest.

OK, that's two question, or maybe just one worded differently... twice.
Posted by Dougsf on January 28, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Dougsf 22
"organized", it should have read, not "org."
Posted by Dougsf on January 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 23
It sounds, Doug, like there isn't yet an organized movement leading this. There are groups that could fill a power vacuum, but the groups didn't really start this. It's a youth uprising against the status quo, not necessarily for any specific alternative.

That said, tweets (ugh) I've read claim that the Brotherhood (the largest opposition party) isn't as fundamentalist as the western news media portrays them. So, we'll see.

Either way, there's something powerful about the people standing against dictatorship (particularly a U.S. financially-backed dictatorship) and putting their very bodies on the line.

Thanks to Jen and her friend for letting the rest of us have a window into what's happening.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM · Report this
I'm happy to see this coming from Alexandria, but I'd be curious to see a report from someone on the ground in Cairo, as they are two very different cities.
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on January 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Doug, the ideals things like "hey, maybe we should be allowed to speak out against the government without the fear of being beaten by the police" and "gosh, it sure would be nice if tons of young men werent unemployed right now" and "it's sort of embarrassing how women are harassed all the time and nothing gets done about it."
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on January 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
OuterCow 26
Power to the people, but if I can wax selfish for a moment,

I think there's a going to be a very real positive result of this event for Americans. This uprising in Egypt is turning a lot of us to Al Jazeera for the first time. We watch and see how CNN and MSNBC are failing to cover this in an in-depth, non-supremely pro-US way, (& Democracy Now is only an hour long) so many of us have finally had the impetus to say fuck it and check out “Bin Laden’s network” as so many have tried to frame it.

If these beautiful people in Egypt help further delegitimize our corporate media, we will owe them a debt.
Posted by OuterCow on January 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Thank you, thank you, Jen for voicing our friend! Our thoughts are with them!
Posted by MCPuente on January 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 28
@21 @23 - the only organized groups are the ones that joined AFTER the main body started protesting.

People have just had it, especially the half of the country that is 18 or younger.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
When we were in Egypt a few years ago, not too long after the Brotherhood had won some seats, our guides explained it to us like this: that was the first election, as opposed to referendum, so it was mainly radicals who even bothered to register & vote. Both our guides were women with PhDs, and neither had ever registered to vote; but after that election, they told their kids to vote. So, I think it's finally starting to catch up with Mubarek. I hope a period of instability doesn't allow someone even worse to fill a vacuum. And Jen, please let your friend know we're with her in spirit. It was great to see women taking part in the protests, as they so often seem absent from public life in Egypt.
Posted by meganc on January 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 30
Wonder how long it will take for the government to be overthrown and a radical islamic fundamentalist state is put into place? You know, one even worse than they already have?
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on January 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 31
@ 30,

I'm sure the Egyptians on the street won't have any problem with the American gummit that's been supporting torture, funding, arming and helping keep their dictator in power for the last three decades.

Especially now that they're on the receiving end of American-made and American-supplied weapons. Bygones and all that.
Posted by Original Andrew on January 28, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
merry 32
God be with them, as are our thoughts and prayers.


Posted by merry on January 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 33
Thanks for posting this.
It raises an interesting point. What do the government expect people to do if they cut off the net and mobile phone networks? Of course they will get out and talk to each other in solidarity, and the government won't even be able to monitor them effectively. And they have sucessfully gotten non-radical citizens involved simply by cutting off their information links, and lost control of their means of influencing public opinion in the process.
Posted by Cynic Romantic on January 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 34
The phones went back on, apparently a couple hours before dawn (Egypt time). It looks like the cut off was specifically to block information sharing during "The Day of Rage."

Still, knowing how easily their government was able to do this is scary.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 28, 2011 at 10:52 PM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 35
I'd like to think it was so easy because it's a totalitarian government, but I suspect "emergency powers" could be used to accomplish the same in any country...
Posted by Cynic Romantic on January 29, 2011 at 6:43 PM · Report this

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