The stock exchange in Egypt remains closed as the government collapses. Banks are closed as well. Internet, cell phone and television networks have been shut down by authorities. Business is grinding to a halt. Economic repercussions are beginning to send tremors through the country as the risk of food, water, fuel and supply shortages hits. Goods are piled up at ports that have been closed by the army. Transportation systems are not functioning. Prices are beginning to rise. Escaped prisoners are on the streets. Police have fled. Over one hundred people have died in the protests.
I stumbled across this video yesterday while looking at clips of the protests on the internet. When I first watched it I noticed it had already been seen by 600,000 viewers on YouTube. The piece stood out because of its artistry and emotional appeal, and I could see right away it had the potential to reach a lot of people. Three hours later I looked it up again and saw the view count was already up to 750,000.
The video was made by Tamer Shaaban, who calls himself “another Egyptian who’s had enough.” It was edited from footage he compiled from various news sources on the internet, and set to sections of the song Into the Fire by the British band Thirteen Senses.
“Violent clashes between police and demonstrators as over ten thousand gather on the streets of Cairo. The Egyptian population has endured a tyrants rule for far too long, millions struggle each day to find where their next meal is coming from. January 25th, 2011 marks the day when the people rise and take back what’s rightfully theirs. This isn’t the end, but hopefully the beginning to a long awaited regime change,” Shaaban posted on YouTube.
This is the power of the internet and the power of the people when they are empowered by technology. Today’s revolutions are being organized using the tools of new technology, like cell phones and social networking sites. Now the Egyptian economy has been shut down by revolution, but a revolution in art and journalism continues to spread the story and move hearts around the world. Grass roots media is afoot.
The political crisis in Egypt has become an economic one, and the economic crisis is becoming a humanitarian one. The Middle East is seeing a huge wave of social unrest, but this is part of a global phenomenon. We saw riots in Europe last year. People around the world are hitting a limit with austerity and oppression, corrupt government and inept leadership. The squeeze is too tight. This is not the end, and perhaps even closer to the beginning. Expect to see more unrest around the globe, especially in countries where debt is an issue. And expect to watch it on YouTube.
“The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.
The revolution will not be televised.”
– Gil Scott Heron
Egypt Stock Exchange Closed Until Tuesday
Reuters and Foreign Staff Writers
January 31, 2011
The New York Times
Political Crisis Starts to Be Felt Economically
Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet
January 30, 2011
Internet Shut Down As Egypt Unrest Continues
January 28, 2001