Egypt: The power of the people and the press

Posted by Sarah Andrews

We’ve all heard about the conflicts in Egypt. If you haven’t, kindly wake up and realize that there is a full-blown revolution going on.

REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Protests in the streets have resulted in the government cracking down and taking internet and cell phone communication away from the people. In a country of over 80 million, that is something even the most autocratic countries don’t typically do. Many of the protestors were communicating using Twitter and other social media outlets, most of which were blocked. But according to the BBC, Egyptians have continued to avoid the government’s ban by accessing these sites with the numerical address instead of the sites’ English names or through third-party updating programs. 

Along with loopholes on the web, Egyptians have turned to older methods of communication. Fax machines and dial-up seem ancient, but they still function just like they used to. It’s harder for the government to regulate “older communication” and activist groups like Anonymous have used it to their advantage.

Journalists reporting on the situation have also faced their fair share of setbacks. Reports have surfaced of Al-Jazeera English journalists being arrested for covering the conflict. News-gathering equipment has been taken or destroyed, leaving reporters without footage. Despite painstaking efforts of President Mubarak, footage of the uprising in his country has penetrated the mass-media all over the globe. The pictures of this week-long rebellion are some of the most moving images I’ve ever seen. For me, the photos have put a face to this revolution.

REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

 

REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

To see more Reuters photography of the Egypt protests, visit TotallyCoolPix or BBC News. How has the footage of the protests affected your view on the situation?

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6 responses to “Egypt: The power of the people and the press

  1. Two summers ago, I went to Cairo for a vacation with my parents. Our hotel balcony was right above Tahrir Square, which is where a majority of protests are taking place. It is surreal to see this happening, in places I’ve stood before. It saddens me a lot, as I feel a connection to this place. We have many Egyptian and American friends living there, so it’s also very scary. The people are so kind and peaceful, at least that’s how I perceived them when I visited. I never remember seeing any sort of uprising. People were continually in awe of us Americans, and raved about Obama.

    What has surprised me most about all of this media coverage is the amount of women I have seen participating in protests from photographs. The women are extremely oppressed and treated much differently than men. When we visited, we had to ride in separate train cars than the men. Once, we wore capri pants, and people gawked at us like we were just in our undergarments. Women are almost always completely covered, except for a few “liberal” women. Women always look at the ground, and never speak unless spoken to. From seeing the photographs, it’s obvious things are not only politically changing, but culturally as well. Women are ready to have a voice and opinion.

    • That is really interesting—I hadn’t thought much about the number of women in the photos of the protests. It makes them much more powerful to realize how many women are revolutionizing not only what it means to be an Egyptian but also a woman.

  2. I’ve been glued to coverage: CNN on TV, al-Jazeera streaming on my laptop, and Twitter on my phone – usually all at once. I’ve been impressed by how reporters keep finding ways to get the story out despite harassment, beatings, arrests, and shutdowns.

    I’ve noticed the increasing presence of women, too. In the first days, they were scarce. But as the days wear on, they are more and more prominent.

  3. ryanthomasaustin

    I’m a little divided on Egypt at the moment. On one hand, I believe that the Egyptian people deserve the democracy they are protesting and fighting for. On the other hand, I am worried that Egypt will become another Iran and we’ll have another reckless nation in the Middle East on our hands. Although Mubarak rules/ruled his people with an iron fist, he was never a threat to United States security or interests.

    I am hopeful that, should Egypt’s people get their wish, Egypt will set a precedent for being a democratic Islamic nation known for its stability and peace. I think that a stable, peaceful Islamic nation in the Middle East could mean good things for US-Islamic relations.

  4. What makes me nervous about the protests in Egypt is the types of groups protesting. It’s not just young students or people concerned about human rights, like in Tunisia. For example, there also Islamic conservatives who are upset about the secular nature of the authoritarian government. Egypt is about ten percent Christian, and there are quite a few people there who would like to start a religious war. Maybe democracy can’t work everywhere.

  5. I give the journalists a lot of credit for trying to get stories out. People really do deserve to know what is going on.

    I enjoyed the pictures on this post, they really give you a vision of what is going on in Egypt.

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