Web Blackout: What Bloggers Experienced

February 2, 2011
Hours ago, Egyptian authorities turned the Internet back on and CyberDissidents.org immediately reached out to several bloggers in the country to get their reaction to these unprecedented developments.  Blogger and pro-democracy activist Dalia Ziada said that the situation in Cairo is “very bad” and that she knows some of those injured in the recent clashes.  She described the scene in Tahrir Square as a “horrible massacre.”  Kareem Amer, who spent the last four years in Egyptian prison for blogging, said that the move to shut down the Internet was "stupid," because the web was “absorbing a lot of the youth's rage.”  
 
Ziada agreed that blocking the Internet made Mubarak weaker.  He had less of an ability to monitor how people organized and “it left all the bloggers with no choice but to head to the streets.”  Esraa Rashid, who was also imprisoned for her Facebook activities, reported to us that many Egyptians are asking the army to save them and force Mubarak from power.  When the Internet was shut down, Rashid felt “very angry” but immediately added, “We are strong.”

One Egyptian writer who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons had just returned from Tahrir Square and said Egyptian TV was reporting Molotov cocktails being thrown in the crowd.  All the bloggers we spoke with agreed that the decision to black out the Internet was short-sighted on the part of the regime and actually made matters worse for Mubarak.  It outraged the Egyptian people and unified their desire to oust the dictator.  It did not stop millions from marching in the streets.  CyberDissidents.org is carefully monitoring the situation on the ground and will keep our readers updated as events develop.