Jan 29 2011

Egypt

These are extraordinary times for the Middle East: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen. Al Jazeera’s live coverage is the best: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

and they have many Creative Commons licensed clips up now: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

(Al Jazeera’s use of Creative Commons is groundbreaking and wonderful; thank you to everyone involved in this).

At the very beginning of yesterday, the internet was shut off in Egypt. This is what it looks like for Wikipedia:

http://infodisiac.com/blog/2011/01/egypt-internet-switched-off/

Along with the rest of the Wikimedia community, I am thinking of our friends and colleagues in Egypt and throughout the region, and hoping that everyone is ok. Watching the Al-Jazeera footage of people marching in the streets of Alexandria, I am reminded of my visit there two years ago for Wikimania 2008 and the lovely people I met, as well as the scenes of clear inequity. I am also remembering the reading that I did then of the works of Naguib Mahfouz, who vividly described an earlier generation of Egyption political struggles.

Al Jazeera has footage now of looting in the National Museum, which I remember as being extraordinary; a sad casualty that is hopefully limited in scale. In human casualties, Al Jazeera is reporting a total of more than 100 deaths across Egypt. While I was writing this, Al Jazeera reported the news that the government is shutting the water off in some areas. And things are changing fast, with people still filling the streets tonight. People are protesting for big and world-changing stakes.

I hope for the best, and for the people to prevail in gaining better governance and a better future.

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