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High-Tech Challenges Confront Egypt
February 2, 2011
by: Gail Delaughter
The Egyptian people are trying to finding creative ways to communicate as authorities shut down the internet to silence anti-government protesters. They using dial-up modems, fax machines, and ham radios to get their message out to the world. A Houston professor who closely watches Egyptian politics says the country embraced internet technology early on, but it wasn't about creating a more democratic society. Gail Delaughter reports.
"I've frankly never seen something like this. I mean, this is just mind-boggling what's happening."
University of St Thomas International Studies professor Dr. Nivien Saleh is carefully watching the events in Egypt. She has written extensively on politics in the region. She also has family there but she says they not communicating because she's concerned someone could listen in. Salah says a lot of tech companies started up in Egypt in the 1990's but it was more about making money than bringing people together.
"It was not embraced because of democratic ambitions but in order to, you know, become a software exporter or to join in the global economy."
And Salah says the Egyptian government started cracking down even harder on its citizens after they got personal computers and went online.
"The fact that, you know, embrace of technology and repression occur at the same time simply demonstrates that embrace of the internet is not necessarily done for the purpose of freedom of expression."
Even though the Egyptian government is trying to keep people from communicating Salah says there's a huge solidarity movement on the web. She predicts Egypt will eventually have a new government, but she doesn't forsee the country becoming a hard-line regime like Iran.