Revolution 2.0

Egypt is 10,000 kilometres away from the South Road.

But within minutes of Hosni Mubarak turning tail, we knew about it.

My laptop sits on the kitchen counter.  I use it to find recipes, Skype my mom and my sister, research beekeeping, order my seeds and a gaggle of other daily things.

Through Twitter, I have been sharing the thoughts and activities of some very brave, eloquent people in Egypt.  Sometimes a gut-wrenching, nail biting experience.  Certainly one that had me saying prayers for those at Tahrir Square – many of them just ordinary middle class people, just like most of us. It’s been a privilege to be able to learn about what’s going on and what people were thinking, directly from them.

What an amazing world where you can be making chicken stock one minute and look at your computer screen and see a tweet from a woman who you have never met, but feel you know, who says: “He is gone. He is gone. Egypt is free.”  Even before CBC has kicked into live programming.

Wael Ghonim is an Egyptian Google executive turned activist. He was doing well under the status quo.  But then he started to push back.  That’s when he was jailed.  He started a Facebook Page that became a rallying point for Egyptians.  He posted videos, stories of the violence, photographs and calls to action.   But his wasn’t just a cyber protest.  He had thought it through,and was willing to die if it came to it. It had happened to hundreds of other Egyptians since January 25.

I just heard him interviewed.

“I believe in 80 million Egyptians,” he said.  I think he meant that there is a wisdom, a nobility and a will to do right in most of us.  And when people are connected, they can create movements that make the world a better place.

My first journalism job was in a newsroom with electric typewriters, carbon paper and a darkroom where it took hours to get a photograph. Now, when the cause is right, 50,000 people can be called to action within hours of a post. And ordinary people across the globe can bear witness. Talk about power.

Right now I feel a little bit old remembering that.  But so grateful to witness people using social media to change our world.   Yes, I know that there are problems and there will be more.  But still. I hope Egyptians give us the courage to stick together and push back when governments or corporations  don’t operate in our best interest.

There has been revolution in Egypt.  The other revolution is happening right on our cell phones and kitchen counters. There’s no going back.

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2 Responses to Revolution 2.0

  1. Mitch says:

    I was sitting by the pool, enjoying a cold one, when a lady, (quite elderly I imagine, judging by the wrinkles proudly displayed outside her bikini) leaned over and asked me if I had heard the news from Eqypt. Amazing how a riot and a regime change half a world away could influence a retired person in Barbados.
    I wonder though, even with a relatively well educated population such as is found in Egypt, whether they can self govern. Islamic militants must be salivating at the thought of turning this fine country into another Iran. The rule in Iran isn’t democratic, but it is modeled on a rather poor interpretation of the teachings of the Koran. A couple of my Iranian friends left there, (well educated professionals) to get away from the rule of law. (He really didn’t believe that his wife, or daughter should be treated as second class citizens, or even chattels.) This can happen, even in a democracy!
    I hope things work out for the Egyptians, because we know what willl happen if the US disagrees with their future path. (The Israelis won’t be ignoring this either)
    And to continue your point, we’ll know just how bad it is a helluva lot quicker than we would have thanks to social media sites, and electronic media in general.

  2. Dan says:

    On this, the 164th birthday of Thomas Edison, I was in a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Transport and staff from the Minister’s Office, where I noted that Mubarak is rumoured to have stolen $70 billion. But I also thought about the technology that has made this uprising possible. The Internet was invented (along with rock and roll, the lightbulb, and movies) in a place driven to innovate precisely because its people are free of excessive government control. Democracy is more than voting — it is also the continued well being of our institutions and courts and bureaucracies. We are fortunate to live in a democracy where we are pay for a complicated machine to hold this all together and where sometimes some even willingly die to defend it. We all want to be able to say “this is mine, I worked for it and I own it.”

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