Six Days Without Internet- Blessing in Disguise?
Day 1- 28 January
The first thing I did on this day was to switch on the news to find out if the protests had started. Seeing that no such news was coming, I decided to go online to chat with some friends about what was going to happen. As I mechanically switched on the Wi-Fi and sat down with my laptop on the couch, I had no idea that the internet had been shut down almost 10 hours ago. I sat there, waiting for the internet sign to light up. However, after no response, and with my iPod not receiving a signal as well, I instinctively reached for my mobile, thinking that there would at least be some 3g internet available. To my horror, that was not the case. I then went up to check the news again, to see if there had been some sort of blackout.
And there was. It appeared to be the most discussed topic on all the news channels for around half an hour, after which I decided to try and use my mobile to call up my friends to get some information. Again, I was shocked when I found out that even the mobile network had been switched off. This led to a lot of confusion as chaos, as the internet, which plays an integral part in everyone’s life now days had just been taken away from me. I found myself lost and confused about what to do next. Eventually, I had to end up playing some tennis and video games, until I found out that the protests were much stronger than had been expected. This led to me eventually ending up in front of the television, as I alternated between watching the news and watching some movies to keep myself occupied.
Day 2- 29 January
This was the worst day of this entire period. Due to the fact that there were no means of communication open, except for the news, we had no way of communicating with anyone. The situation went even worse, as the news channels started showing news of jailbreaks. This was even more disconcerting, as we had decided to go out to buy more food for the period of the revolution, and were afraid about inmates having escaped from any jails nearby. Luckily, however, no such thing had happened. In fact, we saw that the military had come to guard colonies like the one that we stayed in, to prevent any mishaps from occurring. Another relieving sight was that some people had formed public militias to help the army, and had set up barricades all around the colony. However, this was still a sleepless night, and was passed in fear due to the uncertainty of the future.
Day 3-30 January
This day was much better, as our mobile services were restored. We immediately started calling our friends and families back in our home country to get to know how it was at their end, and to give them our landline numbers, since the landline had been working and could work in the future if the mobile services were cut once again. Also, this day led to more confidence, as now we could keep up with the news. We could also get to know about what was happening all around Cairo via our mobiles, and were hence not so troubled as we were at first.
Day 4-31 January
Today was one of the most relaxing days during this entire event. Due to the fact that the mobile phones were working, most of the day was spent talking with others about what was happening at their end. Another much talked about topic was about when the internet would come back. Also, there was much talk about the rumors (which had started up again with the phones) about when Mubarak was going to resign, or when the protests would end. However, we were still not adventurous enough to leave the colony, as there were still some prison inmates who were still on the loose. However, this day was much better, and some friends from our colony came over to talk, leading to good company and to a good experience in these troubled times. This hence resulted to a rather comfortable day.
Day 5-1 February
Today was a day of highs and lows. When it first came to my knowledge that there was going to be a speech today, I felt relaxed, but was not so hopeful, as I thought that he might be announcing something important. However, his speech seemed to disappoint many protestors, as by now the Tahrir Square had become the focal point of the revolution, and showed that the protestors were not so pleased with the speech. Furthermore, pro- Mubarak supporters could be seen clashing with protestors at the Tahrir Square, something that looked even more brutal than the earlier clashes with the police. However, the day ended well, as there were rumors that the internet might be restored any day soon enough.
Day 6- 2 February
This was a day that started as a bad day, but ended as a good one. When we switched on the news, we found out that the clashes between pro-Mubarak supporters and the protestors were escalating, and that the situation was becoming even worse. We also saw that the army, however, were being independent, and were breaking up these localized fights, something that was very comforting. And the best thing happened in the evening, when, on trying the internet, we found out that it had been successfully unblocked, and that it could now be freely accessed, something that was very good, and which managed to return a lot of decency to life during the revolution.
Outcome- I found out that having no internet for just such a short time showed me how much our lives had become dependent on it. It showed how cutting just these two threads of communication could lead to so much turbulence and to so many disturbances in life. However, it also helped to allow us to find our own ways of passing time other than from being glued to the computer screen all-day. It also showed how much impact anything could have on everyday life. I found this to be a very trying, and yet very interesting period of time, one whose memories showed be cherished and not forgotten.
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