Last Thursday, after having blocked Twitter, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reacted to the increasing protests against his reign by shutting down the four major ISPs that provided Egyptians with connections to the Internet. Land lines and mobile phones followed, but the shutoff was intermittent. Today, the cage has slammed down again, according to multiple sources.
Schools, universities and the court system have also been shuttered.
Gas stations have been closed.
Information is a watermelon seed and Mubarak's hands are wet.
It seems clear that all the bans on every imaginable way that people can exchange information in Egypt is in hopes of stopping the protests, which are huge, inclusive and getting bigger. It's not just the tech types in Egypt who have been - apparently - hamstrung. It's also students, the pesky judiciary, and the everyday folks hoping to drive into cities or take the trains to various protests.
Given that the Egyptians have proven extraordinarily resourceful, printing fliers to avoid electronic surveillance, plugging into dialup connections when the Internet was shut off, it seems a little incredible that the government believes the latest shutdowns will result in shutting up the people involved.
I am not being facetious when I say I anticipate people in donkey carts and on camels will resort to using semaphore if all else fails.
Train photo by ömer erülke