“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.” – Winston Churchill
Egypt has done something historical. By shutting down a nation’s entire internet and mobile access, Egypt reminded world that internet and mobile communications are resources that can be taken away. Although I would argue that it should not be taken away to silence the people and repress their views because I believe that the internet is a God-given gift for us to better express our right to self-expression and to communicate to the rest of humanity. But what did this incident teach us? As a race who consumes this medium of communication actively, what can we learn from what happened to Egypt?
I believe that this should be a cautionary tale for all of us. Although the internet and mobile communications are avenues to our right to self-express, their usage must be taken responsibly by individuals. Do not get me wrong, Egyptians did not do anything to deserve what they got from their government. What the government did was wrong. However, as they themselves have proven, there are other avenues for communication that they can use in the absence of the web. Also, the rest of the freedom-loving world are here for them, to be their eyes, their mouth-pieces, their allies. And even if we weren’t connected to them, I believe that humanity is capable of battling its own battles without technology. The human race have demonstrated its ability to communicate and battle repression without the internet and mobile technologies for countless of times. We, the Filipinos, should be proud of ourselves for pulling off what I believe was the last People Power movement in the world before the introduction of mobile and computers in 1985.
For us who enjoy the privelege of having computers or smartphones to surf the web let us be reminded that the internet and mobile communications are finite resources that we should use responsibly. Let us not deny its existence justice by allowing it to bring the worst in humanity. It should do otherwise. Also, let us not forget that ability to exercise our rights to self-expression is not bound by our ability to access the internet or send an SMS, it is only truly violated when we have lost the values that makes us human – justice, honor, mercy, hope, love.
If you say that the internet is a necessity that one cannot absolutely live without, then I am afraid that you are already bound by it. Which makes you its number one prisoner.
Sometimes, you have to disconnect to connect.